Tag Archives: life path

My SwS Project: from there to here

My blogger-buddy Anna visited Las Cruces, New Mexico for the first time a few weeks ago and posted a few photos and thoughts on the desert.  What a treat to see the familiar through her newbie eyes.

How serendipitous!

Mama Goat, Tater & Kids

Final Goat Family Portrait: Larry, Terry Scape, Mama Goat and Tater

I’ve been immersed in that period of time during our between homes journey lovingly referred to as living ‘on the compound in the desert outside Las Cruces, New Mexico’.  Place where my Goat Suite Saga was born.

In less than two weeks portions of my Swimming with Swans project are going to be presented for the first time to the general public. MamaGoat, Tater, TerryScape and little Larry along with all of us humans and critters of the compound will be introduced to a group of locals as far away from life in the desert as one in the US can get. I often joke that we came from a Mile High here to the Swamplands…but we also came by way of the High Dry Desert.

Most readers of this blog know that I received a Puffin Foundation Grant for the recording of my Swimming with Swans: the music. One of the requirements for gaining the grant involved the pre-securing of a venue in which to present completed grant-proposal material.

Here’s the thing, The Goodwill Cultural Center found me.

Goodwill Parochial School with restoration sign

Goodwill Parochial School becomes The Goodwill Cultural Center

If not for Camden Writer and author, Brenda Bevan Remmes, I would have never known of this special spot nestled within an isolated area between Mayesville and Sumter, South Carolina*. Steeped in a long history of struggle, nurture, and yes, healing – The Goodwill Cultural Center aka The Goodwill Parochial School was recently restored to serve as a local heritage and arts center – offering historical, cultural and educational events to the public.

Brenda introduced me to this gem in the swamp about two years ago when the GCC held one of their first sponsored events by the Magnolia Singers from Charleston – shortly after the Emanuel AME Church shootings. I was amazed at the group’s desire to reach out in their hurt and offer insights into their culture while spreading a healing balm through their talented singing.Goodwill Cultural Center logo

WINDOW TO THE WORLD

REFLECTING ON OUR PAST AND ENVISIONING OUR FUTURE, WE AFFIRM THE RICH HERITAGE OF THE GOODWILL SCHOOL THAT OPENED DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY IN 1870, AND THAT IS A WINDOW TO THE WORLD TODAY THROUGH THE GOODWILL CULTURAL CENTER.
(mission statement)

I don’t pretend to understand the South. However, I have found a slice of something I like to call the ‘true spirit of a southern community’ in the Goodwill Cultural Center.

Over the course of these two years in attending various events at the GCC, I’ve observed the interactions between the locals. It’s obvious to this outsider the love and commitment these individuals have towards each other and towards working through its own healing-path. A sort of living reconciliation rooted in historical interconnectedness which touches me deeply.

This is a slice of the South I admire; a slice of the South not often seen by outsiders.

As such, I am both humbled and honored to be a small part in the GCC’s continuing legacy as a featured guest on Saturday, June 3rd.

 *about a 45 minute drive SW of FloTown

Feeling Groovy-Alive

I guess it’s time for a current event post on the life and times of this blogger/poet/quilter/musician/cger/composer/granma/ma/good cooker/sister/aunt/cousin/wife/lover/friend/student of life/believer in miracles/dreamer/doer/getter-of hands in the dirt/ grower of plants edible and not/hoper through times of despair/vocalist for those without a voice/minister of his peace/21st century jesus person servant/sharer of truth/wise owlette/sojourner in this world/woman of faith/lover of science and mathematical conundrums/discoverer of the interconnectedness in all slices of life and heart desires/waiter of answers to promises given/wounded soul in need of rescue/rescuer of goats, horses, dogs, cats, turtles/elder lady with the spirit of youthful joy/enabler/seeker of better times ahead/contemplator of things past/keeper and hugger of loved ones gone, those still alive, those yet to be/builder of community and unity/laugher of hearty guffaws/cryer of deep tears…

Outer-by-outerbanksdotorgGuess you can tell I’m kinda feeling groovy…been working on my SwS project presentation/mini concert set for June and it’s all coming together so fine. Also just came back from a refreshing first time discovery visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. One could call it an unexpected ‘Artists Date’ of the Julia Cameron kind. This trip turned out to be a truly freeing experience; perhaps due to it being ‘off-season’ but mostly because its wide open spaces are within a context of crowded eastern populations with a less touristy focus.  All of which are welcome to this wilderness Coloradoan displaced in the Carolinas of the Southern extraction. Going from the clear skies of the mile high to the claustrophobic swamplands has always been hard on my psyche. But this place – OBX – offers more of a balance of wilderness spaces and touristy places not easily attained in these parts and it’s just 6 hours away from FloTown… Continue reading

Camden Writers – “What I Wish I Could Tell You”

Transitions.

The officially stated theme for the 2016 Camden Writers Anthology #2.

Starting in January, I pulled about four pieces from my stash of vignettes relevant to the 2016 anthology theme – some started but unfinished, others already firmly written and in need of my critique group’s keen insights and suggestions, still others with germinal ideas and notes-to-self on how to proceed.

I discovered early on during critique presentations that even the one piece I thought was 99.9% ready to go, wasn’t. And that really was fine with me.  I decided I’d use the submission deadline as the catalyst for getting those pieces and ideas in shape for publication.

Meanwhile I was deeply ensconced in a regular routine spent on the practice stool prepping in anticipation of upcoming recording sessions for my Swimming with Swans: the music project.

Progress towards both project milestones were rolling along smoothly. However, I didn’t factor in the possibility of Dad entering into hospice care in April.

Transitions.

Thus began my precious Summer of Dad. Continue reading

My Son – The Sharp Dressed Man

please, enjoy the music while you read the following, I promise it is related to the main thrust of this blog post…and since there are several guitar solos, well, you don’t really need to watch the lyrics up on the screen

Okay, so I’ve been starting and stopping in the writing of several blog posts.

I need to feed the blog, yes, but I gotta say my focus has been a bit wonky since returning from my five weeks visiting Dad.  I started to write about that in a post entitled “Spider Webs, Jacob’s Ladder and Losing the Strand” but could only get so far when I’d lose the strand…(to be finished and posted at a later date).

Then on to a relatively easy Shoutout about the great Maestro Ricardo (and my friend) receiving a prestigious award at the annual GFA Convention in Denver, held just one week after I left. I wanted to attend, but those plans got trumped (don’t know if I like that term anymore…) with the Dad-card. No regrets at all, but it does leave the “Shoutout: In Honor of the Maestro Ricardo” in the queue to be sent sometime whenever I can do a final edit on it…again, the focus thing is the limiting factor here. It may never get finished and sent out since it’s more (out)dated news.

I discovered early on that I didn’t have the energy required to return to my current Swimming with Swans projects. This of course lead to frustration because I needed something to do in the realm of creating while navigating this new pattern of four weeks here and two weeks there; along with the emotional stuff that goes along with end-of-life and long distance elder care.

So I picked up the needle…that phrase is loaded, eh? I first mentioned this phrase in my post “The Rusty Quilter” that describes my history and re-introduction to quilting and fiber art.

Whole-cloth quilt top basted and ready for straight stitch machine-quilting

Whole-cloth quilt top basted and ready for straight stitch machine-quilting

That said, I began in earnest my new ‘now’ project totally unrelated to anything other than as a pleasurable creative outlet: the whole-cloth quilted throw; which will be discussed in greater depth in yet another WIP blog post, as yet unnamed.

During today’s immersion in some straight line machine quilting, I listened to an Amazon Prime Classic Rock Song List.

When ZZ Tops’ tune, The Sharped Dressed Man came on full blast in my earphones and into my brain, I remembered my Jo-Jo and his new obsession with dressing snappy for work.

Joe Lilly is the Sharp Dressed Man

Joe Lilly is the Sharp Dressed Man

Here’s Joe in his Tuesday morning duds, posing in the dining room of my folks’ house, with the telltale cleaning supplies and messiness in the background. One of the fantastic things I got to do while visiting Dad was to make dinner for our kids. Some of Ma’s cooking stuff is still in the kitchen and so I was able to throw together some makeshift family favorites.

Since Joe still lives in the Denver area, he purposely carved out time to stop by after work and/or pick me up for doing fun stuff together during ‘down times’.

One such outing was going to his gig at the Oriental Theatre. Actually, my sorella-amica Lisa and I went to see our sons* at this wonderful venue. Like most musicians, he’s in several bands/ensembles. This one, Heavy Medicine**, added a horn section recently, of which Joe is their main sax-guy.

The Sharp Dressed Man with his Heavy Medicine Bandmates playing the Oriental Theatre, Denver, CO 6/2016

The Sharp Dressed Man with his Heavy Medicine Bandmates playing the Oriental Theatre, Denver, CO 6/2016

Me and my son - the sharp dressed man

Me and my son – the sharp dressed man

Lots more of this mother-son stuff is in the future with each trip back to visit Dad.

Oh and on the marquee behind us is the name Leon Russell, significant in that another blog post in the queue needing to be finished is called, “The Buena Vista Social Club, Leon Russell and Dad”.

Just sayin’.

 

‘Tis a blessing to be loved…

 

 

*Lisa’s son, Ted, is fourth from the left
**The track ‘Dangerous’ includes horns
acknowledgement note: last two photos taken by Lisa K.

Giving Voice: JANE’S STORY

note: still visiting with Dad and Up a Creek, but wanted to send this on in the interim.

It’s just not going away, people. Joblessness & Homelessness is still an on-going reality.

Jane is a blogger-buddy of mine. She is an Everyday (American) Canadian*.

Like you. Like me.

This lady speaks candidly and with more courage than I ever could during our own between homes journey. Her journey-details differ from our own, but the pattern is rote: no job – no home. The experiences and feelings felt are similar if not the same in some instances.

I stand with you, Jane. Continue reading

A Walk in the Swamp with Joe

Over these past three years of Thanksgivings, a tradition of sorts has evolved.  It seems our son Joe’s holiday of choice is Thanksgiving. Each Thanksgiving since landing here in South Carolina after our between homes journey, he has flown in to join us at the family feasting table. This fourth year was no different. He spent 10 days with us, kind of a combination re-group after his 2.5 month vacay in the DR and holiday time with the fam. This year we three took our walk in the Swamp the Saturday after Thanksgiving as usual only at a new-to-us spot: Woods Hole. To date, that is hands down our fav Swamp-place. But this post is about last year’s Swamp walk…

The Saturday after Thanksgiving 2014, I took a walk in the swamp with my son.

My Jo-Jo at the Lynches River Swamp, SC (2014)

My Jo-Jo at the Lynches River Swamp, SC (2014)

Turns out, he has become more of a walker since his youthful accident a few years back which requires him to keep his ankle supple and stretched.  Because my hubby was in the throes of knee problems, we took our walk without him.  It made for a long-overdue Mother-Son time together.  Yes, we communicate via texting, phoning and e-mailing, but there’s nothing like actually spending physical time with those you are in relationship with.  There may not be much spoken, but just the living, breathing and, in this case, walking presence of another produces a deep communication that can only be transmitted in such a manner.

Me finding a prime stump at the Lynches River Swamp (2014)

Me finding a prime stump at the Lynches River Swamp (2014)

Getting into each other’s head and space, without pretense is very freeing.  It also helps me to sort through stuff.

That November, I was blessed to be able to focus on my Musical Non-fiction project, via my Nano Rebellion. It progressed nicely and I was pleased with my output as well as organization of said output.  It also served to re-connect me with myself.  A self that has by circumstances of ‘place’ not been easily allowed to come out and play.

South Carolina Swamp Cypress Trees

South Carolina Swamp Cypress Trees

The Monday following our Swamp walk I took Joe with me to be a part of my regular Wounded Warrior Horse Therapy volunteer time. I was excited to show him off to the gang as most of those there have family nearby 24/7 – warriors, therapists and volunteers alike. He got along with most everyone as he always seems to do wherever he goes, especially with Jason.  Funny, that, since they remind me of each other. Joe’s interest in the horses wasn’t all that much, but he did like seeing his Ma doing her horse thing anyway.

What happened there was something I didn’t expect. Doing what he always does, talk music with me comparing notes on gigging and crazy audiences; drawing others into our conversation cuz you know, everyone loves music. Between talking up his own bands and the Denver music scene, somehow it came out about my being a working musician, my dad being a pro-jazzman and that that was how he was brought up – surrounded by rehearsing musicians, learning to help set up gear for Ma’s gigs/concerts… No one there knew of my status as a musician prior to moving to South Carolina. I was just one of the horse handlers.  Mostly due to the fact it wasn’t something relevant to horse handling chores or in bonding with the warriors.  And also due in part to my own healing process related to the last months of our between homes experience…But that day, that ordinary Monday during horse handling chores and bonding with the warriors around the picnic table after therapy sessions, my son bridged the real me with the current me.

Lion King Quote

Remember Who You Are – Lion King

Tattered and Torn, Loved and Worn

One day, years ago, Amy-next-door came to call. She often came to visit with her two little girls in tow to play with my youngest two kiddos as they were all around the same age. This time, she stood holding two paper grocery bags.

“Look what I found!” Amy said as she thrust the two bags into my arms.

Feeling light as a feather for all their fullness, I immediately knew they were filled to the brim with fabrics.

“I found these at a garage sale for $0.75 and I thought you might like to use them.”

More than just neighbors, Amy-next-door and I were enablers…always on the look-out for each other’s vices: she and her buttons, I and my fabrics.

As I began rummaging through the brown paper bags, I noticed they contained more than just scraps or random cuts of material.  There was a huge piece of white cotton flannel, a stack of pre-cut 10 ½ x 10 ½ flannel squares, a handful of 3 ½ x 3 ½ ones and miles of uncut flannel fabrics of varying designs and colors.

This was someone’s UFO (quiltspeak for ‘UnFinished Object’). Continue reading

Here’s to the Nines!

Here’s to the Nines:
Entering
and
Exiting


2014: my year for exiting the Nines.

Of course, by interpolation, 2013 was my year for entering into the Nines.

Joe and Michelle with GranPa (9/14)

Joe and Michelle with Dad/GranPa (9/14)

Dad turned 90 in April 2013 and I turned X9 last October 2013.  We got to share life in the Nines for an entire year.  As well, I’m blessed to have visited Dadland for a goodly portion of these past 12 months.

My times in the Nines have tended to be fraught with trepidation.  Starting with the one where I joined Jack Benny in declaring to be eternally 39, my journey through the Nines can be a bit rocky.

Okay so it’s not like Dad where he’ll be in his version of the Nines till he reaches his 100th b-day.  But still…

My Decade Cake

Count the layers on my decade cake*!

Once flipped over to the other side and into a new decade, I usually find it’s not such a bad age progression.  Ah, but those Nines…both entering and exiting…are a perilous roller coaster of highs and lows; ohs and nos.

Ironically, the number 9 itself has been loads of fun for me.  Perhaps I should focus on that…number 9, number 9, number 9…anything’s easier to tolerate when George, John, Paul and Ringo (my personal order of preference) sing about it.

That said; I am an October baby. Continue reading

Pink Flamingos, Giardiniera and Dinner Guests

pink flamingo on our lawn

A ‘good morning’ surprise

Here’s what greeted hubby and I when we stepped out through the front door to go to work this morning.

Well actually, what first caught my eye was this potted mum placed strategically next to my planter of waning herbs.GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Notice the concealed grocery bag filled with jugs of water?  That’s the kind of day we had yesterday…

Let me explain.

Getting ready for company is fun for me.  It’s part of my heritage.  Not that I don’t get stressed, but I truly enjoy prepping for ‘parties.’  Yesterday morning began the final leg into that realm.  Already having fielded a week of impromptu clearing out of the laundry closet space that we’d been using as extra storage in our little rental house in readiness for its intended use,  I was ready to focus on the task at hand.  That being:  the routine of last minute fixes and major cooking for a greatly anticipated time of dining and gabbing with our guests for that evening.

Things went along like clockwork:

  • Get dough ready for rising-check
  • Wash salad greens and place in crisper-check
  • Put leaf in table-check
  • Tidy up living room and hide extra storage stuff from emptied laundry closet-check
  • Take shower before lunch-check
  • Start sauce to simmer-check

It wasn’t until close to the end of the prep that I noticed something strange. Continue reading