Thursday, February 29, 2024



Dear String People,

These things* are the ne plus ultra of objects for me.  I am trying to make something like them (see above).  The One Cat likes to sleep on it, even partly finished.  The Two Cat likes to wrestle it into a snarled heap.  The three of us together are pretty chuffed with this project, which has been going on for months and months.

My other yarn projects include a sweater with the kind of skinny-slow-splitty yarn that I cyclically swear off.  I am in an ascendant phase of swearing, which might reach its peak in something wearable, and it might just languish in a cute knitting bag until death does us part.  I was betting on the sweater until recently, when I got to the point of the sleeves.  So many sweaters end there, I expect.  Still, maybe it could have a life as a short skirt?  It doesn't even have sleeves, but separating the 266 stitches into two sections of 131 has been a serious blow to morale.  Morale is everything in making.

Anyway, the whole silly sweater thing wouldn't have even been attempted if it weren't for the beauty of these yarns from La Bien Aimee.  So delicious!  I showed them to a friend who said: "My next cat is going to be a skein."

* I really love this artist's work; all of it, the yarn things, the watercolors, the photographs, the clay things.  I am in extreme awe and envy of Renilde de Peuter.  See more of her work here.  As usual, I am asking myself, Why Can't I Be You, Renilde? 

Sunday, February 18, 2024

rain; some rain; more rain; the rain


Sky Study with a Shaft of Sunlight, 1822, John Constable.


Dear Under-the-Clouds,

I have your song for today; it's a rainy one.  But, you know, with Marianne Faithfull, it's hard to stop at just one bite, so please, if you have time, take another.  Is there a message we can take from these two songs?  I think so, I think so.  And I think it is this: be gentle with the fragile things you know and love.

PS  Should you find yourself wanting more from fragile beauties, try this, and then, oooh, this!  If you don't have rain, you could have yourself an artificial cloud.  You could also look at this beautiful painting of a cloud-filled sky, by Johann Jakob Frey.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

the season


Chat Noir Dahlia

Dear Shovels and Spades,

Every so often, say 6, 7 years cyclically, I get a great notion to 'garden.'  It's a Mr. Toad mania, fueled by the enchantment of words (which actually, I believe were first invented to incant, to put a spell on), and the poetic promise of potential of growth.  This time, I ripped out a bunch of perfectly charming, thriving plants (from a previous 'episode' of gardening) to put in raised beds and do a 'cutting garden.'  Mostly based on expensive dahlia bulbs, which would perish (unlike the plants I removed!) in our clayey, gloppy, dark and fecund soil.  So, in a classic Colonialist move, I filled these land containers, these raised beds, with pricy, purchased, bagged dirt dripping with absurdity, privilege ,and hubris!  Drainage problem solved!  Maybe?  Do tubers grow well in hubris?

Anyway, it all has culminated in a beautiful little ditty I'd like to share with you now:

GAR-den-ning is a

suck-ee suck-ee job,

Where you murder the plants

 and you piss off the worms!

GAR-den-ning is a 

suck-ee suck-ee job, 

where you mud up your clothes

and you ruin your shoes! 

(Sorry about the lack of score; if I could remember my piano and guitar lessons well enough to write down the notes, I probably would also remember what happened last time I got the bug to garden.  Just make up your own tune.)

To garden, you must also, in the great tradition of gardeners everywhere, leave your tools out in the rain/sleet/snow to rust, possibly maiming you later, or causing you to just "buy another one."  

A few more words on shoes and women:  whenever I garden, I enjoy/despise the words of E. B. White when he tells us that his beatific wife would garden in her Ferragamo's. Put that down to "words; incantations" and file it under  X with "talking spider." Because, although I love these two instances of words, I don't really believe either of 'em!

And, Happy Mud Season to my fellow aflictees everywhere!  


Additional, interesting information on the madre of the modern dahlia, Acocotli or Chichipatli.  If time constrains you, read that, over the Chat Noir link.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

share bread with me


Dear Copine,

Here is a word from the French that I just recently learned: copine/copain.  The thing, that I know you already know about words, is that they are made often of other words, or bits of words, and so when you say them, when you write them, when you use them, you get the meaning of the word and the meaning of the bits, too!  So economical, so unfolding and expansive!  Meaning is like that, I guess.

Anyway, the word is made from two Latin pieces that mean "with" and "bread."  Copine/copain is the person you share bread with.  I made some recently, and shared it around with friends.  If you feel you'd like to make some bread, you need 3 days, starter, and a languorous outlook.  If you are busy, forget it, you shouldn't even watch the video!

But, you know, it was mighty good bread, and maybe you want that kind of busy-ness.

Friday, February 2, 2024

why doesn't anyone tell me these things?


Dear Know it Not,

Why, why doesn't anyone tell me these things?  Why doesn't anyone tell me about Lizzy Mercier Descloux?  Or Tove Jansson?  Or Eve Babitz, Helen DeWitt, Josephine Wiggs, Bikini Kill?  What about Lizzie Araminto?  Or Rebecca Solnit?  P J Harvey?  Lydia Lunch?  Wanda Jackson?  

Who did I have, as a role model in the mass media of television as a young person?  I had Wives (Mary Tyler Moore, Elizabeth Montgomery), I had Whores (Suzanne Somers, Loretta Swit), one single Worker (Mary Tyler Moore), and I had this one lone person, this outlaw, this woman with a gender challenging name, this one person that seemed like she might be writing her own rules.  I am grateful to her!  Suzi Quatro is our Girl Friday!

Check her out here, where I first met her; and here, here, and here, and now.

Bonus track!  And a nice website.