Saturday, April 30, 2016


April 21, 2016
I wonder how many people own four Scrabble games. You can see where our recreational priorities lay.  The oldest came from Grammy, who taught me how to sew.  I can't think of anything that impressed me more than learning how to stitch something with right sides together, then turn it inside out and *poof*.... magic!  She taught me to embroider - the green corduroy scrabble bag was the first thing I ever sewed. Grammy's letter bag has words on it (lined, no less) and I always thought that was a brilliant choice of fabric.  I loved that April also had two Scrabble games - one for home and one for the cottage. In one of her boxes was a list of 2-letter words that her Aunty Lil had made. Emma humoured us by playing now and then, but she never was a word nerd - much to our disappointment.

AI = sloth
XI = 14th letter of the Greek alphabet
EN = for typography
EL = rail
KI = chi
EM = for printing

Thursday, April 28, 2016


April 20, 2016

(from left to right)
Top row: Teddy Daniels, Julia Fitzgerald, Margaret Marty, Lilith Gerund, Matt Scallici, Puck Anastazi
Middle Row: Prudence Tait, Mavis Rosenbaum, R. Skippy Cavanagh, Kathy Reid, Chett McLeod, Rosa Milne
Bottom Row: Cassiel Brown, Eileen Rose, Lillian Leif, Verkoi Storm, Clara Redwater, Mr. Anthony

PS from Heidi: if you're interested what inspired this entry, go to my real blog.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


April 19

My life is in pieces.  Literally.  Under the work bench in the garage, I dusted off six boxes of April's mosaic tools.  Beside that, were piled stacks and stacks of square tiles. I remember her hunched over a project, working out there til the wee hours. I'd see her through the garage window - mosquito net on her head, forgotten cigarette burned down in the ashtray, CBC playing on the ghetto blaster.  I still use that bug hat when I mow the lawn.

Friday, April 22, 2016


April 18, 2016

I'm listening to Richie Havens.
"Let the river rock you like a cradle.
Climb to the treetops, child, if you are able.
Let your hands tie a knot across the table.
Come and touch the things you cannot feel"

When I first moved to Elora, I knew I had found home.  My daily walk through the cedars is the thing I'll miss most. Those incredible trees cling to the uneven ground, their roots snake around the boulders, and create steps to make my climbing easier. Their tenacity is inspirational.  They are holding on, where I am letting go.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


April 17, 2016
I'll leave my bird feeders for the new owners in hopes they'll continue to provide for my feathered family. I'll miss my upside down nuthatches, the dumb little juniors on the ground, the beautiful finches - gold and purple, and my fire engine cardinal who winters with me.  Can't say I'll miss the goddam squirrels. I never managed to outwit them.

- black oil sunflower seeds for all
- antler for the bush
- could no longer afford Niger seed for goldfinches so now filled with sunflower seeds
- diamond willow smeared with peanut butter. Big hit with everyone,
- canary seed for cardinal
-Niger seed for years.  Now sunflower seed. Finches prefer this one.
- Mr. Stow's bird feeder.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


April 16, 2016

- bells from Turkey
- sleigh bells from Eaton's horse team
-edelweiss cow bell from Switzerland
-Christmas bells

My mom used to say "hell's bells". 

Sunday, April 17, 2016


April 15, 2016

Perhaps it will feel great later, but letting go is HELL.  I remind myself that freeing up space in my life is preparing the ground for new experiences.  After all, I'm going to condo, not a palliative care ward.  I'm blessed with good health. There is so much to be thankful for. This house has felt like a noose tightening around my neck for several years.  Instead of embracing the adventure, I seem to be sabotaging this opportunity by getting sentimental and identifying so deeply with every object I touch. How will I ever be able to tackle Emma's things?

One of A's shells.  Downsizing ain't for sissies.


April 14, 2016

Today, I managed to pack up most of my studio to donate to the high school. This is all I am keeping. I wonder how many miles of lace I've sewn onto collars and cuffs, yokes and bodices, nighties and negligees.  I was down to the last box under the Bernina, when I came upon all the special embellishment remnants - trims and lace, braids and ribbons.  I always stashed away a little memento from each show.  41 years and hundreds of opening nights. I choose two pieces of lace to keep. I lay them in front of me, then roll them on a piece of cardboard.  Juliette's nightgown and Sally Bowles' bustier, now wound together on the spool of my memory.

Friday, April 15, 2016


April 13, 2016

I'm so proud of myself.  I've pared down to one box of photos.  I had totally forgotten about Elliot rescuing that baby chimp.  I found the pics of April and me in Florida.  Her last holiday.  I remember her flirting with the hotel manager so we could get an ocean view.

These were the smilers in my life.  In fact, they made my life SMILE.


April 12, 2016

Once upon a time, O Best Beloved, in a little house on the edge of town, there was a little girl who lived in a world of books.  In her mind, she wandered the Hundred Acre Wood, tripped up the Swiss mountainside with one Peter, then flew off nightly with another, to Never Never Land.  She happily recited verses without meaning and poured over every illustration. 

PS from Heidi....  I see that the "dearer" the possession, the tighter the drawing.  If I don't care as much about an object, I can draw it loosely and freely.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


April 11, 2016

Words cannot express how HAPPY I'll be when this day is over.

Monday, April 11, 2016


April 10, 2016

11 pairs of San Miguel shoes from The Shudio. Oops. 14.  I just found another pair.
I bought my first pair in 2007.  I never go anywhere that someone doesn't comment on them.  I ordered them from a little place called the Shudio, in Winnipeg Beach. Most comfy shoes in the world.

Bota Motors

Celine - My favourite salsa shoes.  Hundreds of hours.

How do I decide?

PS from Heidi:  For the REAL Shudio site...  go here:  The Shudio

Sunday, April 10, 2016


April 9, 2016

Okay, this is getting embarrassing.  I just brought home a new shampoo from the grocery store, then came home only to open a neglected dresser drawer in the guest room. Out spilled the motherload of little hotel shampoos and conditioners, shower gels and lotions.  I look at some of them and see they must go back as far the early 90's and the San Francisco Stage Expo.  I remember that hotel room.

Friday, April 8, 2016


April 7, 2016

Today, I accomplished virtually nothing.  I fell asleep last night surrounded by my handwriting.  I had plans to get up early this morning and light the fire for the journals, but a heaviness kept me in bed. Maybe I'm coming down with something.  
I pulled out a box of sweaters I had knit during my years at Starlight.  I'd sew all day at STC, then knit all night. I had forgotten the comfort of the knitting language *k1 p4 k1 sl2-k1-p2sso k1 p2 yo k2tog; repeat from * 

I made these invisible thumb mittens for Veenie one year for Christmas. When she unwrapped them, I saw to my horror I had made 2 left mitts.  I pulled one out, but never finished her gift.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


April 6, 2016

Do you slowly tug at the bandaid, peeling back a bit at a time, or just rip it off?  Thirty-six journals have sat in boxes at the back of my closet haunting me for the past 30 years. I've held onto the endless scrawlings of words - the grief, the drama, the anger long past their due date.  It's high time to let them go.  I sat for two hours today, leafing through the pages and remembering the dark years when the flow of ink on the page was lifeline to my drowning. The agony of that time has gradually tempered, but today, seeing my familiar handwriting and hearing my thoughts brings me back into the fire.  I look at the cover of each book and am transported to the years when Emma's death was so fresh and life was hopeless. I replay the loop of my answering the door to two policemen.  "There's been an accident". I hate words. I hate looking at the calendar in June.

Come out of the closet... and into the fire.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


April 5, 2016

My beautiful birds.  Must you fly?  This is getting extremely difficult.  So many feathered memories.  I actually feel sick thinking of saying goodbye to these friends.  Little mechanical caged bird was rescued from the set of Importance of Being Earnest.  Peacock feathers were plucked from Atahualpa's cape in Royal Hunt of the Sun.  Mexican embroidered birds from Socorro used to only come out for the Christmas tree.  How did they find a permanent home in my dining room? I remember the wee sparrow sat on Elliot's desk.  The duck train, the pelican bowl, my carvings.  I can't bear this.
"Life is a balance of holding on and letting go"  Rumi

Monday, April 4, 2016


April 4, 2016

Okay, this is easy.  Uplifting.  What a load off my shoulders.  I'm packing my years into cardborad and wondering why I didn't tackle this sooner.  Clean cupboard.  Space.  Breathing room.  I just remembered the china.  It's been in the box for 40 years. Who do I know that sells things on Ebay?

8 Go mugs and 1 mouth
mug from first apartment in Toronto
Mugs from Mariposa, 1980
1st Mexican mug
Espresso cups never used
Mom's dishes
Lo de siempre.  Mexican mug.  My usual cup.  It stays with me.

Sunday, April 3, 2016


April 3, 2016

Elliot's butterflies from Ecuador.  When I was a child, I would race to Uncle Elliot's den as soon as I'd enter the house.  In the afternoon, the sun would hit the centre butterfly, and I knew there was NOTHING bluer in the world.  The iridescent blue has long faded.  His antennae sit at the botto of the glass box  Metal fantasy beetles from Mexico.  Paper bugs from Thailand.  I remember hiding these around the kitchen.  Bye bye.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Stones and Cones

April 2, 2016

Soapstone Inuit carvings circa 1880 from Uncle Elliot.  100 year old pine cones from the giant redwoods in CA.  Tiny pine cones from the cottage.  These have sat on my dresser for eons.  I loved how they perched on their sticks.  A tiny environment.

Although it kills me,  I think a bonfire for the pinecones.  Think of the crackle pop those big one will make!  Perhaps kindling for the blaze that will be my old journals.  Years of tears and fears - a million words and a lifetime of longing, slowly has been replaced by an open grateful heart.

Aside:  I am being led by the process and I find it refreshing, inspiring and confidence-building.  On top of honouring the "things" in my house that I cling to, I'm spending time assessing what's really important to me.  I think I'll be surprised with the results by the end of the month. I may actual start boxing up stuff for real.

Friday, April 1, 2016


It's International Fake Journal Month.  I'm leaping in with more enthusiasm than plans.  I've just returned home from an inspiring winter in Mexico. Although I'm happy to be back in my beautiful home and working in my studio, I'm feeling a desperate need to simplify my life.  After living months without my belongings, I'm reassessing the importance of all the physical STUFF I hold onto in my life.

This is an attempt to psychologically prepare for the day when I have to say goodbye to my excess of possessions when, God forbid, I decide to retire and move to a smaller abode. SO.... For the next month, I will be Rosa Milne.  She is a 72 year old retired theatre wardrobe mistress who has recently sold her house and is moving into a condo.  She is going through her possessions and learning to let go.

April 1, 2016
For 50 years, my coffee table has been home to this walrus skull.  How can I possibly let go of these old bones?  I'll be moving boxes and rocks and skulls.  The task of letting go is overwhelming.  How will I possible be ready by May?  Tomorrow, I call the school to see if Isabel Menzies can use them for their art clases.  Perhaps the science class.  No bones about it.  I can do this.  My old bones bid adieu to these old bones.

It's not too late to join us!  Here's more info.  Check out the International Fake Journal Blog

Oh, and if you are interested in who I really am.... here's my website and blog.