Tag Archives: Quilt

#augustbreak2013 Day Six


A beautiful mess of diagonals, another quilt made by my aunt.

Diagonals of grief. This morning, I was fixing the blanket in Dexter’s empty crate because Sam had got in last night, dug it up and slept there for a bit while I was on my computer. As I leaned in to put the blanket back in place, I was overcome with a wave of grief. I got in (my dogs’ crates are big enough that I can fit), curled up and cried there for a bit, looking up at all the lines in the ceiling of that space where Dexter spent so much time. I told a friend the other day, “As far as I can tell, grief doesn’t end, it just transforms over time, but will always live with you. That tender, raw spot is permanent.”

Diagonals holding memories. These boards hold so much to remember — the program from my grandma’s funeral, my name tag from the last Open Heart retreat, pictures of my nieces when they were younger, ticket stubs from concerts and roller derby matches, polaroids of the day we adopted Obi and then Dexter, family pictures of the three and four of us together, a dried rose bloom from the plant at my parents’ house in Sublimity, pictures of a friend’s family back when they were only three, cards and postcards, the business card of the woman who did both my tattoos, my schedule from Career Day when I was in high school (April 4, 1986 — I signed up for sessions on Modeling, Floral Design, Entertainment, and Business Management).

Something Good

1. Before and After, a beautiful poem and image from Vivienne McMaster.

2. This quote from C.G. Jung, “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”

3. Be Cool & Don’t Be An Assh*le on Elephant Journal. I love this. At the entrance to my paid work office, I have two postcards. One says “Don’t be a jerk” and the other says “The time is now.”

4. We All Die and How I am Finally Becoming the Person I Betrayed at 19 from Girl on Fire.

5. The confrontation waiting to happen, wisdom from Seth Godin.

6. Andrea Scher’s start a foolish project on Jessica Swift’s blog, (Andrea’s new course, Start a Foolish Project, starts on July 1st, so there’s still time to register).

7. Speaking of foolish projects, this weird and wonderful ninja art installation I discovered on our morning walk. I have no idea what it means, but I give you “Plastic Animal Butts.”

8. Bryan Kest: A different kind of yoga teacher on The Examiner. This is the kind of yoga teacher I want, want to become. Just some of his wisdom shared in this article,

“Most people bring their shit to yoga and turn their yoga into shit.”

“Yoga is meant to free us from our agenda,” he explained, but most people bring their agenda to class. In yoga our body is talking to us. Most people aren’t listening because they’re trying to make the pose a certain way. Your job is to quiet your mind and figure out where you should be in the pose.”

“The only thing yoga will tell you is wake the f#?k up.”

9. The Practicality of Forgiveness from Create as Folk, pure wisdom from Laura Simms.

10. Validating your pain is the first step to getting stronger, wisdom from Danielle LaPorte.

11. The Best Foods To Help You Eat The Rainbow & Boost Your Energy on MindBodyGreen.

12. Make Me: Paper Patchwork Art on Decor8. I am itching to try this. As you may or may not know, I have an aunt who is an amazing fabric artist and I have a large collection of quilts, bordering on obsession, and yet I am not a seamstress myself, haven’t yet learned the art form — but scissors, glue and paper I could do.

13. Reasons to Avoid the Beach from Jason Good.

14. 6 Conversations You Need To Have With Yourself and 4 Reasons to Hold On a Little Longer from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

15. Spit & Polish: Romping with Laurie Wagner from Jennifer Louden. I’m registered for this workshop, knocking on wood and keeping my fingers crossed that everything works out and I get to go. These are two powerful, compassionate and wise teachers.

16. Everything you could want for a nuclear fallout from Kleenex to unappetizing cans of ‘multi-purpose food’: California couple discover perfectly preserved 1961 fallout shelter 15 feet below their backyard.

17. 15 “Summer Camp Style” Friendship Bracelets You Can Make Right Now. It doesn’t matter how old I get, I’m still a sucker for these.

18. The Unicorn: A Motel, A Metaphor + Meth from Feed Me Darling.

19. On Getting (and Using) Another Chance, an older post from Lisa Congdon that’s worth another look.

20. Some Fucking Writing Tips from Matt Haig, (obviously if you are bothered by the language in the title, do not read this post).

21. How I Got Fired from the Job I Invented from Turner Barr. Idea theft, intellectual property robbery at its worst.

22. 10 Vegan Foods Packed with Protein from One Green Planet.

23. Healthy Living: Part Two from Decor8.

24. 5 Of The Coolest And Most Powerful POV’S On The Block (And Why This Matters To Your Business) from Jac McNeil.

25. 344 Illustrated Flowcharts to Find Answers to Life’s Big Questions on Brain Pickings.

26. Amber Valletta: Blaze Your Own Trail on The Conversation.

27. A Better Way to Die: Bringing together medicine and spirituality for end-of-life care, shared by Patti Digh on her Thinking Thursday list.

28. Who to Fall in Love with First: 6 Ways to Love Yourself and 9 Ways You May Unwittingly Deprive Yourself of Love and Fulfillment on Tiny Buddha.

29. Living the Tiny Home Life: An Interview With Tammy Strobel on Mother Earth News.

30. This quote, shared by Positively Present Picks, “Now and then its good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy” ~Guillaume Apollinaire.

31. Shared on Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: Naturally Ella, this tempeh sandwich recipe from Thug Kitchen, and How to Make an Origami Elephant.

32. She’s Fierce. She’s Blunt. And Sadly, She’s Also Right. on Upworthy.

33. Dharma 101: Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. {eBooklet} on Elephant Journal.

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Amazing women. Judy for her big love, Julia for her broken heart, Jessica for her brilliant wisdom, Sherry for her kindness, Chloe’ for her generosity, Amy for her tireless charity, Tina for her grief, Andrea for her vibrant vision, Susannah for her trailblazing, Erica for her quiet, Rachel for her well-fed wisdom, Hannah for her gentle effort, Susan for her tenderhearted warriorship, Patti for her strong offerings, Stephanie for her noticing…I could go on and on.

2. My aunt’s fabric art. I received two more of her pieces recently, one from her and one from my mom. I absolutely cherish each one, feel as if I am the caretaker of a precious collection, am inspired by them to do my own creative work and feel love radiating from each one, every design, every color, every stitch.

3. Some time alone. Eric took the dogs to Lory State Park this morning, giving me about three hours of unscheduled, unplanned, and oh so spacious time alone. I need this, even more often than I’m able to get it. As a highly sensitive person, an introvert, the constant noise and presence of other beings is sometimes hard for me, to always have a radio on in the background, to sometimes have multiple noises happening at once especially if I am attempting to focus on something else, to have the constant need of another to consider, can be distracting, overwhelming, and irritating…and yet, when I’m alone, the quiet can sometimes be too much.

4. Fall Break. I only had to work one day after all, and even though I’d like a whole year off (forever?) from my current paid work, this time was such a good thing–sleeping in some days, not doing too much, extra time with Dexter, a focus and mindfulness that’s difficult when I am otherwise so busy.

5. Apple pie oatmeal. The recipe is simple, make a normal serving of oatmeal and add a few spoonfuls of apple pie. Yum!

Bonus Joy: another week with Dexter.

big d with his little d

A few of my favorite things

our wedding day, October 9, 1993–we were so young, and in love, now we are older, but still in love

Eric and I often say to each other “you’re my favorite.” He and my two dogs are constant in my life, my companions, my family, and whether I was making a list of “things I’d save first if there was a fire” or “things I’d want with me if I were stranded on a desert island” or “things I’m grateful for” or “my favorite things,” the three of them would be at the top of every list.

Yesterday and today, I have been home with the crud, being kind to myself, practicing gentleness, taking it easy, and getting some rest. As I’ve been doing so, I’ve been thankful for paid sick days, for the kindness of other beings, for the time and space to rest.

As I’ve spent so much time inside these past two days (with short breaks wrapped in a blanket in a chair in the backyard to get some fresh air), I’ve also been noticing the preciousness of my environment, and wanted to share with you some of my favorite things.

Mala Bracelets and Ibex Shak Merino Wool Jacket

A mala bracelet is made from Buddhist prayer beads, used when chanting mantras similarly to a Catholic Rosary, and is intended to be a more portable version of a full mala, which is 108 beads. The teak mala bracelet I have is inscribed, each bead with the same wish, something that translates roughly to “may all your dreams come true,” or “may your intentions manifest.” I’ve had it for more than ten years, and the wood smells of the patchouli oil that both Eric and I wear. I had two of them to begin with, but gave one to a dear friend. When I saw her again last year, after a few years of not, she was still wearing it.

The crystal and amethyst mala is newer. I just bough it at the Shambhala Mountain Book and Gift Shop when I was there for the Fearless Creativity Writing and Meditation Retreat with Susan Piver. I’d been wanting another one, have been loving how Susannah Conway layers her bracelets, and have often admired the crystal one Susan Piver wears sometimes. In my practice tradition, and in other forms of Buddhist practice, crystal is a symbol of awakened mind, of enlightenment. When I was picking which one I wanted, I was drawn to this one because of the amethyst. My favorite color is deep purple, but I also found out later that the amethyst crystal is meant to help with addiction, to instill a sober mind, to ease insomnia, to guard against guilty and fearful feelings, worn as a protection against self-deception, symbolizes spiritual wisdom and openness, can be used to attract love and happiness, to aid in meditation, is often worn by healers, and has a calming, cleansing, and protective energy. These are all good things.

And my wool jacket. I have worn the Ibex Shak Fullzip Classic for many years now, as has Eric. They are simply one of the most versatile, well-made items of clothing I have ever encountered. They are thin and work well in warmer temperatures, but are also warm enough to wear alone when it’s cooler, and work great as a layer when it gets really cold. I can wear one with a nicer outfit or to walk the dogs. They really are beautiful, and worth the higher price. This one came to me instigated by a loss. I had a black one, fairly new, to replace the one I’d worn out, and while in Boulder, I dropped it while walking the two blocks from a restaurant to the Shambhala Center. Even though I realized it right away and went back, it was gone. When I got online to replace it, it was too late in the season, and there were no more black, so I got this purple one. I normally would have never bought another, brighter color, would have stuck with black, but I love this one, so that story has a happy ending.

Quilt, Khata, and Lotus “Thangka”

It is traditional to have a Thangka over your meditation shrine. Usually, they are painted or embroidered, and are a representation of Buddha, or some other Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala. “Thangkas are intended to serve as a record of, and guide for contemplative experience,” (Buddhanet). As I mentioned in my post about my tattoos, a lotus flower is that representation for me. Eric bought me this one a few years ago (notice the deep purple color). I love how the bloom that is still a bud reaches towards the sky.

The quilt behind it is what served as my Thangka before I had the other. It was made by my aunt, my godmother, who is a fabric artist and quilter. Some day I will write a post, give you a tour through the amazing collection of her work that covers the walls of my house, and both Eric and I’s offices. Her work is truly amazing, and she has gifted me with a lot of it over the years, because she knows how much I love and appreciate it. I have also bought my own pieces from her shows, and my mom has also given me many over the years.

And finally, the Khata that is draped over my Thangka, is a special object, so precious to me. A Khata is a traditional Tibetan scarf, used as an offering of gratitude and good luck, a show of appreciation and love on the part of the giver. It’s often used as a way of decorating an object of practice or great value (such as draping it over the picture of a spiritual teacher), or offered by a student when they receive a teaching or practice, or given to someone who is about to depart on a journey. At the retreat with Susan Piver, on our last day, I gave her this scarf along with letters of love and gratitude, along with my adoration and appreciation. As might happen, the teacher can offer it back to the student, and Susan did just that. This act was so precious to me, I am crying about it again as I tell you. I can’t think about that moment without my heart going soft and tears starting. I know that ultimately I have saved myself, but there are some people whose support was critical, whose wisdom and kindness made all the difference, who I will never be able to properly thank, and Susan Piver is one of those people.

My writing desk

This is where you will find me almost every morning around 4:45 am, after I’ve fed the dogs and made a half cup of coffee. Even if it has to be later than that, I still make it to this spot, every day, and I write at least 3-5 pages in my journal. This is one of my favorite spots, and because of that, there is a collection of my favorite, most important things nearby:

  • a heart-shaped candy box that I covered with shells and rocks I found on the beach
  • Obi‘s last collar with his tags
  • Two different urns with some of Obi’s ashes, the original one they were packaged in, and the other that is blue porcelain and also contains some of his fur and a tag with his Oregon address
  • My HappyLight
  • a Lilac
  • a coaster I use for my coffee that has a purple lotus on it, given to me by a good friend
  • Thousand Shades of Gray mascots, tiny owls from DouDou Birds, Bot and Millie
  • My collection of Full Moon Dreamboards
  • “Dreamer” owl bag from one of my favorite companies, Papyrus
  • a small white porcelain Guanyin that I found at a flea market in Waldport, Oregon for $1
  • a pawprint of Obi’s foot
  • a picture I framed (I worked as a picture framer many years ago) for my Grandma, that I got back when she passed, that says “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
  • Various rocks and love notes from Eric
  • And of course, my current journal and my favorite pen, the Clarius by Pentel


I’ve written before, many times, about my love for books, for reading and writing. Since I’ve been sick, I don’t have the energy for much (in fact, this post has been written in fits and starts over the course of two full days, with many nap breaks in between), but Eric had brought home Cheryl Strayed’s new book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail from the library. He got it for himself to read, but I’ve kidnapped it. I love that the copy I am reading has the “here & now” sticker on it. At our library, that means it’s a special new book and you can only keep it for seven days, but for me, it means something else–that all there is for me to do right now is to sink into this story, this book that is not, as some mistakenly think, a narrative about a journey through a physical place you could find on a map, but is rather about an internal trip, a woman travelling through her own memory and in to the very center of her heart.

And then last night, my copy of Brave Intuitive Painting: let go. be bold. unfold. by Flora Bowley came in the mail. I first saw her work on Andrea Scher’s Superhero Journal, because Andrea was lucky enough recently to do a painting retreat with Flora in Mexico. This book and Flora’s work and the world of open-hearted, brave color what she invites the reader into is so fantastic. I cannot wait to feel better, get out some paint and get messy!