Category Archives: Beyond the Brick Wall

Once there was a way to get back homeward

Everyone is on the road today and there has been no Golden Slumber around here for a while now. (click. you’ll smile)  Daniel, in particular, is stressed out with touring. They just completed 11 cities and 4 radio stations on the west coast, flew directly from Aspen to Chicago and on to the Netherlands and Denmark. 7 concerts there, back for 8, back to France for 7, back for more. In August he’s back to Spain giving several solo concerts. The night before last, Dan’s phone gave out and with no time to replace it, he feels even more out of touch. When I spoke to him just before his flight to Europe he broke a bit and said where he really wanted to be was with his grandpa, helping him in rehab.

I always miss Dan but more so when he is on tour and the best I can do is follow his itinerary, city to city. When they were in Portland, Inger Klekacz took some beautiful photos of NOMO, as a group and individually. Being able to see Dan with a range of expressions both tugs at my heart and helps me feel closer. If you click on her link you can see some of Inger’s exceptional portrait photography. I’ve ordered some enlargements and will send a couple on to Bud for Father’s Day. Catch you from Moving Central in Chitown.


Heading back ‘home’ one more time

This trip will be to pack and close and then help Bud get situated. I’m very busy around here, getting the place in order for cat sitters and finishing up paperwork and yardwork that would otherwise fall by the wayside over the next few weeks. I did take a morning out to complete a felting project. While I was visiting with my friends in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago we were bed and breakfasted by Marcy and Kevin. Marcy was curious about the process that resulted in a felted vessel and in particular, she couldn’t quite visualize how it was laid out around a flat one-dimensional object and then transformed into a 3 dimensional pot. I had some fiber with me since Kristen and I had been fiber shopping, naturally, so I demonstrated by laying one out around one of her IKEA placemats. Then we got busy with weddings and BCMA and Marcy didn’t have the supplies I needed to wet felt it in any case. In the end there was this big pillow of blue fuzzy that looked like just that. I threw it in the back of the car and said I would liberate her placemat soon. Back in Chicago it got tossed around like so much flotsam in a house full of moving jetsam and last week, back in Florida, I asked Rich to drop it in the mail to me. By the time it arrived it was quite a messy pile o’ wool. 

I tidied it up a bit and wet felted it early Tuesday before it got so hot and humid I couldn’t stand to be on the screen porch where I work. Now I’m shipping it off to Marcy as a thank you for housing us- but I’m keeping the placemat. I like the nice large size it makes and now I have a thought that this would be a wonderful shape for a fall series of pumpkins, squash and onion pods. Is that a silly idea or can you picture that? In wool dyed with natural dyes to make nice oranges and yellows and greens…

blueonionpod(This is made out of a rougher wool than I usually use, comes from your friendly corriedale sheep. It’s got some mohair yarn worked in and measures about 11 x 11. It feels pleasantly substantial and holds it’s shape very well.)



One of the BCMA friends sent this link from today’s Ann Arbor News. We always called the paper there the Snooze, which wasn’t very nice, especially since they are going out of business. What does it mean when one of the most educated cities in the nation is about to lose it’s daily print paper? Ah, me. Anyway, the link is to an article about a favorite landmark in Ann Arbor, the Washtenaw Dairy. It’s been on the same corner for 75 years and is considered the best walk to ice cream in town. They are about to celebrate those 75 years and the article is relevant here because it features this picture from 1958 of my very cute husband. He’s still that cute and he still has a big head, too. Anyway you want to take that. WASHDAIRY22 FILE(l to r, that’s brother Calvin, neighbor girl and sweet Rich.)


And here’s the photo we decided on for his book jacket. Still looks the same, right? I’m looking forward to seeing him again tomorrow night.IMG_1477

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

DSC04594We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations. (Anais Nin)

It has been quite an amazing week since last I posted. I did all that I wrote about and more: said goodbyes, had long talks with those closest to me, had a meeting of the Club (BCMA), watched a dear friend marry…She looked all shiny and new in her love, a radiant bride after a whole lifetime already lived as wife, mother, widow.

imagesOur friends in Chicago staged a farewell party extraordinaire, with foods gathered from the finest restaurants and bakeries the Windy City has to offer. Charlie Trotter’s rare beef tenderloin on Sarah’s brioche, cupcakes from Sweet Mandy B’s, world famous potato chips with rosemary, balsamic syrup, white truffle oil and parmesan cheese from the West Town Tavern,  caviar pie, champagne and Larry’s stand-up/knock down margaritas. Best of all was the company of our neighbors and the promise that they will let me cook for them all again, this time next year, in Asheville.

Throughout the week, always on my mind and in my heart, is Bud. Bud has fallen on hard times up at Lost Loon Lodge, quite literally. He spent 14 hours outside, through the night, in freezing temperatures after suffering a stroke. He found himself in this ignoble position because of choices he has made and we have respected. After my mother died he was clear about his intention to stay at Lost Loon Lodge in the tip of the Keweenaw up on the edge of Lake Superior. 300 inches of snow, soaring eagles, bears eating the bird feeders, failed plumbing, the same family of loons returning year after year and all of his incredible memories made with his life partner- there was never a question that he would stay. Over the past few years we have had discussions around the edges of other possibilities but really, we’ve all known that Bud would stay as long as humanly possible. This was the summer he planned to build his crypt at the back of their land.

Right now Bud has moved out of intensive care and into the rehabilitation unit at Marquette General Hospital. If you’ve followed here for a while you know that Marquette is a wonderful place 150 miles from that little cottage, a place where this family has gathered before. Right now, Laurel is at the helm and in the cafeteria (she reports that the menu of 23 flavors of jello has been reduced during these tough times). Bud is getting hours of hands on rehabilitation each day, growing in one dimension and not in another, unevenly. He is moving into less complicated clothing (hey! I moved into drawstring pants several years ago!) and determined to earn his release sooner rather than later. He seems to have a clearer idea of what that looks like than the rest of us; we are all still looking to doctors and therapists and social workers for answers.  

Major life events never seem to occur in organized fashion. As soon as we finish the transaction on the Chicago house I will head up there and see what I might do. Right now I feel relatively helpless, sad that he is struggling away from his beloved home in the wild and grateful that he is in very good hands for the moment. Our next two weeks involve back and forths, packing, movers, bankers and closings. The best I can do right now is hold him in my heart.

Oh! and send e-mail. One of the things that Marquette offers, as a regional care facility for the entire upper peninsula of Michigan, is a great e-mail service for patients. Bud has always enjoyed the blog here and he’s one of those people who loves mail. If you want, you can send him a note HERE. All you need to know is that his name is Eugene Avery, he is 81 and in room 388 in the rehabilitation unit. And you can attach a picture if you would like. Thanks.

So that’s it. Things are bittersweet and busy here. I’m taking this morning, just back in the middle of the night from Chicago, to catch up on mail, comfort the cats, enjoy the rain and a beautiful potted Persian lime tree that has mysteriously shown up on the doorstep. I need to track down the source. Meanwhile, my husband is sending me poetry:

It’s Monday

You’re not at the Zoo

The animals miss you

And I do too


Goodbye Blue Monday…

…Hello, fellow citizens. Kurt Vonnegut wrote: Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. Seems as though it’s time for some maintenance around here.

I will be cleaning up owl poop and working at the food bank. What are your plans for the day?


If you’re looking for ideas, go here to the new USA Service website. And speaking of service to our country?  I think this will be a very happy birthday celebration.