My former Virtual Assistant and Forever Friend sent me a package that arrived today… its contents, in the photo, are perfect. Laura’s husband, Jeff, made the word. The wood is red cedar, oiled with lemon oil and is signed by both. The inscription reads “what a great word, Honore.” To which I reply: “What a great rendition, Jeff and Laura. A Zillion Thanks! Love it! ” The book is by Natalie Goldberg – her name is obscured by the word.
Laura painted the rocks; the other side of the grey rock with the words ancora imparo has the translation: “I am still learning,” attributed to Leonardo da Vinci and was my first one little word from 2010, I believe. Over these past 12 years, I have acquired quite a dictionary of words made by Jeff…they are a treasure and remind me of so many moments of learning and growing I’ve experienced ~ thanks to the word and its visible and physical presence in my life.
Perhaps you are like me: Autumn/Fall is my absolutest favorite time of the year…and has been since I started school at age 4 years, 10 months. I remember telling my mother (whom I called Lilly – that’s what her close friends called her, not Mama) on my 3rd day of school: “You don’t have to walk me to school today, Lilly. I’m a big girl now and I can go by myself.” Years later, my mother shared that a) her heart sank and b) even tho’ she let me venture on my own, she discreetly followed me to school. When I think about that, I have to smile …tho’ I never caught sight of her, I fully appreciate what she did!
Each year there after, “back to school” meant a new plaid dress and shoes – oxfords, usually burgandy in color to which my father gave the first-class United States Army shine – and, drum roll: a new box of crayons and a ream of newsprint. Nirvana! My heart still quickens at the memory. Of course, as I matriculated to higher grades, 3, 4, 5, plaid book bags were also a part of back-to-school regalia (backpacks came well after I was out of high school, if not college).
Now that my school days are loooong gone, my excitement, plans (wishes?) for the season include the completion of my AMAZE – About ME A-Z – project: telling my life stories. I began this project six years ago and it has been off/on. In February of this year, I resumed it in earnest; I am now at the point where I’m ready for the next phase: Determining the final project format/s – it will be a book, either a scrapbook album or printed photo book or both.
I am also developing a slight itch to stitch: knit, quilt, and learn to embroider. And, of course, my TBR list continues to grow – which is a good thing and content for the next blog post. Stay tuned…
*Despite the very summery looking photo ~ the subject of another post – someday…
Earlier this morning, at the end of The Writers’ Hour, 8:59 am, ESDST, I wrote: “Time for the monthly blog wrap up/weigh in … I have an idea to share and best get busy with the post … it’s the 26th, after all… just not feeling it … too many distractions. Too many! Not supposed to rain til the afternoon … so, I think I’ll get dressed, rewrap my foot – it looks less swollen and go for a stroll in the park.” And that I did.
T’was nice to resume this AM practice after having been away for two weeks – on my trip to Sisters OR, my favorite place on the planet (of all the places I’ve visited over my lifetime, Aruba, Hawaii, and Austria come in 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively).
I hadn’t been to Sisters since the Fall of 2017. I’d not planned to stay away that long but as we all know, life took a totally – can’t even think of a proper word – unanticipated turn the Spring of 2020. The world shut down!
July 9! The day of the 49th annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show finally arrived. Over 1200 quilts from around the world had arrived and were hung on the outsides and insides of buildings, from trees, in parks, etc.
These were three of quilts made by instructors. The butterfly quilt was designed and stitched by Tula Pink. I tried to register for the two day class but hah! T’was sold out within the first five minutes of registration in February! Classes were limited to 20 people! Covid, you know… I did not take any classes.
But, I had a wonderful visit with my friends, was treated like royalty and made some new friends, too. The next best feature of my trip was having my desire to resume quilting, specifically mark making using bits and pieces of fabric and primarily hand – stitching, nothing as elaborate as the butterfly, rekindled. I’ve been away too long.
Initially, I’d planned to go to Washington but had to revise those plans. My intention is to return soon – in the not too distant future – all things considered. In the meantime, I have several ideas for stitchin’.
Today has been frustrating … Internet connection issues. Heat. Making Decisions about what to do next … or not! This, on top of the dreadful SCOTUS ruling on Roe vs Wade. I haven’t had much to say ’cause I just don’t know what to say! Because nothing I say is going to make an iota of a difference. I’ve lived through times when there was no Roe vs Wade, when there was and now, we’re back to the future or I guess more appropriately described as back to the past. What I want to understand is why women have this burden to carry?
So, I’ve decided that my challenge, chore, task, is to seek answers to my questions, to try to understand. And I’m sure this quest is going to take me back to the beginning, perhaps to places and thoughts and attitudes that I had once encountered as I read Greek and Roman myths, history, the different worldwide religions (ways of life), watched salacious movies – remember Peyton Place? Had friends, accquaintances who found themselves pregnant and nowhere to turn. Visited young teenage girls in homes for unwed mothers.
In the early ’90s, I wrote a grant proposal for women in the county detention center. Most were in jail for possession of marijuana – then illegal. Now, very much legal as states have discovered the wealth they can amass from legalizing and selling cannabis. The proposal – directed to these women, separated from their children, age 5 and younger – gave those mothers, while incarcerated, skills and resources to “parent” and read stories to their children. Many of these mothers were still very much children, themselves.
I remember how women have been ridiculed – and still are – for being on welfare; accused of “beating the system…” Hah!
Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor— Bare; But all the time I’se been a’climbin’ on, And reachin’ landin’s, And turnin’ corners, And sometimes goin’ in the dark, Where there ain’t been no light. So boy, don’t you turn back; Don’t you sit down on the steps, ’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard; Don’t you fall now— For I’se still goin’, honey, I’se still climbin’, And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
The news this week, in addition to the Russian-Ukraine war; the continued Covid- 19 variants; and now Monkey Pod – has been overlaid with yet again a tragedy: the mass shooting of 19 elementary school aged children and two teachers in Texas!Totally innocent people going about their lives; for sure this event was not on their agenda. And of course, the law makers and so called law keepers are appropriately remorseful and angered … Sadly,in a few days, “normal” life will resume until the next time… rest assured there will be a “next time.” We must also be cognizant of the atrocities that take place daily in life…In the meantime, the Republican Senatorial response, according to the Washington Post: “our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
I sit here, at the table the spot where one can find me most mornings, looking out at the vista:
the sky’s overcast, grey;
birds and squirrels forage;
a slight breeze, barely perceptible via the slow movement of leaves on the trees;
grass needs cutting…badly;
my tea needs replenishing.I can’t cut the grass but the tea, I can replenish.
Writers’ Hour. I’m currently engaged in Writers’ Hour, 50 focused minutes of writing, a free Zoom event, offered four times a day – in the world’s different time zones. We set and share our intentions and write together, in our “little Zoom boxes” on/off the screen.I joined the 8AM EST Writers’ Hour on March 9 of this year and for the past two months since, have written in DayONE,65 consecutive days daily – a streak – and counting…Go ME!
Cybrary … a what?Recently, while driving through the University of Maryland’s campus, I sawa building with this sign… naturally, being a retired librarian – public- my curiosity was piqued. And so what does one do but a ‘google’ search…Go here: https://www.cybrary.it/about/ for the answer to my and your question.
And that’s a snippet or two of my May… Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.
Also known as a commonplace book, Zibaldone, the word/concept seem to be gaining in popularity and mention in the digital/print world, most commonly known as the Internet news, information sites.
Over the years, I’ve kept my own and several versions of a commonplace book, or a Zibaldone: “ a strange melange of diary, ledger, doodle pad, and scrapbook …” three volumes along with similar “hodgepodge’s” and “commonplace books” – served as a pattern for interior life from the 14th C onward, bringing comfort and inspiration to everyone from Thomas Jefferson to Lewis Carroll.”
In this, the 21st Century, we have the contemporary version, the Internet and “Zs” – in the form of blogs, tweets, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, bullet journals – both paper and digital, etc. All are curiosities. Medium Daily Digest, a website that is a forum for new, upcoming writers to share their takes on the various and numerous apps, along with tips for maximizing one’s productivity (there are as many as ten such links on any given day) usually has several articles a week about Zibaldone and/or commonplace books.
Over the past waning winter months and these, promising spring, I’ve created any number of Z-style records and/or journal entries, ranging from mind maps to photos to quotes: “this is it” to “no it ain’t” to, to, to ??? These exclamations and questions leave my brain and travel down my arms to write words, draw doodles on a piece of paper or occasionally type on my iPad:
I rarely documented a quote or idea that hadn’t sparked another idea …
Life presents too many invitations and opportunities – promising nirvana for the taker and all designed to earn some ducats for the offerer…
I (may) have too much idle time on my hands, increased for sure by months of Covid…
I’m just undisciplined — or perhaps, creatively curious? I rather like creativelycurious. I see something, I like and think: “hmmm, let me try this.” In many ways I do and I may even go so far as to purchase the ingredients for a bigger project … tho’ sadly, move onto the next bright shiny object before I even give the current one a whirl. I’m thinking that perhaps I’ll break that habit if I play/experiment … If I do, great or if I don’t, perhaps even better. Whichever, I can include the outcome in my Zibaldone and these two quotes are going in:
“But the practice of commonplacing has something to offer that current practices of creating a Pinterest board or blog post do not: it allows us not only to find and arrange information, but also encourages us to remember what has inspired us. I think this has to do with the tangible nature of assembling a commonplace book.” Source: https://verilymag.com/2021/02/keeping-a-commonplace-how-to-bullet-journal-hobby
This I know to be true: I know myself well enough that I don’t always say NO to a bright shiny object. Better that I flirt a bit, in my Zibaldone/Commonplace book and see just how enamored I am. If I am, then I continue and if not, I don’t. Everyday, life is an experiment. Some days are good, others not so. The sun shines and then it rains…the rain stops, clouds move on, flowers bloom.
I’m currently in the “let’s see if the flowers indeed do bloom.” Ideas, Inspiration and “YES! This is It!”
I found a new app today; it’s called Twos and its function is to simply help someone remember things … a tall order considering the flow and quantity of “things” one encounters on any given day – a lot to remember and a lot more to forget, either deliberately or due to cognitive overload. The creator, Parker Klein, wrote an article (published in Medium) that caught my attention so of course I looked further, thinking what have I got to lose – beyond my keys? I’m forever looking for my keys …. Twos is free and available from both Apple App Store and Google Play; more info at twosapp.com/home. I haven’t used Twos yet – it seems simple enough but …to be continued.
My today started with a two hour FaceTime conversation with a dear friend; always good to catch up and reminisce along the way. We’ve known one another for 22 years – yeah, impossible…but true. After breakfast, I spent the afternoon reviewing scrapbook albums from 2011 to date, looking at and for stories that are incomplete and need to be finished or forgotten as well as those that were done. I have a project in process that I plan to have completed by 31 December 2022, all things considered. If I finish despite prevailing circumstances, hooray! And if I don’t, doesn’t matter – that’ll just be the way the cookie crumbles.
The sky’s a study: huge, ominous looking, roiling clouds, dark grey and tinted by the sunset, hover above. Dramatically beautiful! The weather forecast for tomorrow: windy and an overnight temperature dip from 45 degrees to 27 degrees in the morning. Why am I surprised? March is known for wild weather…
I read an online article headline, in the New York Times, on commonplace books being like a diary. I have tried to subscribe to the Times’ digital version but for some reason, I cannot. I guess the Times doesn’t want my measly dollar …and of course, they have Saturday afternoons off so I can’t get any help <smile>…. If and When I do, I shall share the gist of the article…If and When .
It is past time to have a bite to eat and call this full day a wrap. I’m looking forward to a quiet evening with a good book – not sure which, yet. Or maybe I’ll play with Twos…
My aim today was to capture whatever and wherever I was around/at 2:26 pm on Z- day, as I’ve dubbed the 26th day of the month. This month, February, I am at home.
About 12:45 pm: I was at an artist’s art/craft supply store, looking at the selection of journals for my Zibaldone. It isn’t that I can’t shop my stash – which is a common reminder to/for scrapbookers, memory keepers, designed to keep us mindful of our ever present/growing collection of whatever the “must have” item is and to pause, take stock and inquire: Do I really NEED this? 10 of 9 times the answer is a RESOUNDING: NO! Rather, the motivation is want – surely the perfect journal is out there waiting for me to find it… and perhaps you wonder, just what does or will make this elusive, to be discovered book , so perfect? Well, I’m not sure I can answer that question and I may not know til I find it…but rest assured, when I do, you’ll be the first to know!
No luck in finding a new journal – I’ll use what I have- but I did find some fun stickers and managed to spend $25, give or take a penny…
About 1:50 pm: Before heading home, I decided to go in search of a latte… remembered – a coffee shop several blocks away from the Arts & Crafts store, actually near the building where I first worked for the library system, 1974… a long time ago. Originally, the building was a firehouse, then it was turned into a library branch that also housed my office and now, it houses loft apartments.
I found a metered parking lot – 50 cents an hour, all automated. Punch in your license plate number, insert a credit card and presto, you’ve paid for at least one hour. Your receipt is texted, if you wish. The coffee shop – super busy. Coffee is served in cups that are 100% biodegradable * compost-able… Beans are roasted on site and the coffee was good tho’ expensive. C’est la vie…
2:35 PM… Just arrived home
2:56 PM … My coffee is all gone. I’m debating about taking a walk – it’s sunny tho’ a tad chilly. Well, I just checked my daily Health activity stats and I’m a tad beyond the 50% mark from closing all 3 rings – so, that decision is made! Out and Off I go! To be continued…
Just as I stepped out the door, my sister called…so, she joined me on my walk …. I was delighted by signs of Spring: crocus; a flowering tree; warmer temps… My outing and walk were envigorating ( I had to make a quick trip around a couple blocks in order to close the Exercise ring!) but I’m not ready to abandon my mask, just yet…
I think the biggest lesson/connection to Zibaldone this first time out is the role contemporary technology has played in my life on this day, even tho’ I was on a quest to find a paper journal…and that I can/do comfortably transition between analog and digital platforms. To be continued …
Earlier this month, I shared my word Zibaldone, 14th Century Italian for “commonplace book,” a journal or diary, etc, about “a heap of things.” This definition brings to mind today’s tools and resources : diaries, journals, sketch books, random note catchers -think sticky notes or any available piece of paper < my bad habit – waiting to be scribbled on or quick digital notes made on one’s smart phone via both text and voice. If you’re like me, you have a bright idea or vague memory of something seen, heard – bits and pieces of your daily life that have made their way into your brain, that vast storage tool – and if you’re also like me, you also can’t remember where you placed your pen that you just had in your hand a minute ago or your keys (hopefully not in the refrigerator <remember that commercial of the lady who absent-mindedly did so?). In many ways, the Internet, is a humongus Zibaldone. On a more conservative level, think diary; your planner; doodle pad; drawings; scrapbook; photos on your smart phone tagged place/time/date and subject; sketches …
My goal/plan this year, 2022, using the tools mentioned in the preceding paragraph, is to document and create my own Zibaldone: an artistic record of each 24 hours, each week, month, quarter, season. Some may call the resource I create a scrapbook; planner; diary; journal; word, photo collage, and they are all correct descriptors.
In my 2022 Zibaldone, I will combine: words, pictures, art explorations; connections with friends and family; desires; wishes, grace notes, thoughts, inspirations, experiences, learnings, “22 in 22 lists,” books read, to be read or not; STORY- about me, family, friends, things, places, pictures, artistic and creative expressions, feelings, practices, wins, etc…and tools I use at the beginning, during and end of my days; memory keeping; collage and my own art play expressions.
I don’t have a vision of a final product other than it will be a Zibaldone of 2022 as lived, learned, experienced. Stay tuned. To be continued…