Monday, May 24, 2010


            Of the things in my life I remember most, I don’t know, maybe it’s strange….but I remember hands. Hands say so much about a person, I think, and when I remember those I love and of those I have loved so much and lost, it is their hands I recall first.
            I remember how my mother quietly painted her nails at night when I was a girl, and how I loved the smooth colors and the paleness and the fragility of her fingers as she waved them in front of her mouth to blow them dry. Sometimes I close my eyes and I can hear the click-click-click of the little ball inside the polish bottle as she shook it up, and I am there again in the quiet of the night with her and the missing of her softens enough to finally succumb to sleep.
            My grandmother has the palest wrists and hands. When I was a girl, she always wore the same gold watch and gold bangles and charm bracelets that would jingle together as she patted my left shoulder…It was Afternoon Delight on the radio and there I was, sandwiched between two of the greatest loves of my life in the front seat of that big ‘ole maroon Lincoln. I remember her hands and the shape of them against my smooth tan young summer skin. Even now, at 41, I still crave them. And now, as I face the tougher things in my life, in my selfishness, I still need them to jingle and pat some of this pain away from me….even as she struggles against the things that 80 years of living and loving brings. I am in need of her and her healing hands.
             I also think of Jerry’s hands…tan and lanky and strong and his own. I secretly adored him and his hands as he showed me his newfangled digital watch,  But those hands were mine too. I coveted his hands because they belonged to the angel that came to my mother and my sister and I when despair had hung its hat by our door once again. No, I will never forget his hands…how they healed us, or the joy and the laughter he brought to us. They are the hands I so sorely miss. Even after more than 27 years has gone by, sometimes it feels like yesterday he waved goodbye to me in the morning light.
            And my father’s hands, they were so large and so calloused and rough…they enveloped mine twofold, but I knew in my heart it wouldn't last. I’d say the story of his life was written on his hands. He lived under the hoods of cars and trucks doing only what he knew he could do best. His hands were his life and they were large enough and strong enough to carry a hunk of greasy machinery, but not large enough or capable enough to hold on to me. And he and I were not something his roughness could fix. And that’s ok.
          But these…these are the hands that now hold my heart. These are the hands that guard me and hold me and offer to me, the world within them. The hands of my dear one, who walks this life with me. The one who can so melt me with the mere touch of them. The one who can hold time in his hands and so often repairs the brokenness found in the world and in the silver and gold roundness of long forgotten antique time. He has even healed some of the brokenness in me.
 There are stories there, in your hands………there are stories there.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Little White Dresses

I rescued more than 10 antique dresses and Christening gowns from a dumpster last year...and I couldn't bear to leave them put away, so I employ them and enjoy them as valances in my windows. I love the way the patterns look against the sky...I have always loved antique lace and linens.
...and it is a such good thing for me that my husband enjoys antiquities just as much as I do...even little the white dresses hanging all over our house.....

Two of my Favorites, for Free Friday

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"If man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears the sound of a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away."
                                                                                     -Henry David Thoreau

                                              (my middle son, Christian)

Thirst for Dignity - Blood Water Mission

Thirst for Dignity - Blood Water Mission

This is a cause so near to my heart...please take a moment to read what this mission team is all about. You won't ever EVER look at free flowing, readily available tap water the same way again.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Queen Anne's Lace

 I am honored to be included in the Merry Month of May World Wide Collective Blogging Event sponsored by Roxanne of Illuminated Perfume. Though the flower of which I write today is not necessarily a May flower, and is sometimes referred to as a weed, it is a flower nonetheless and therefore, here it will be celebrated:

            Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Ed would take me there in the summer all those years ago. To the building with insides as blue as an empty old swimming pool, and with walls that were damp and cool to the touch. I remember the thick metal blinds hovering over the windows and the twittering sparrows in the eaves just beyond them. I remember the welcoming smiles from those mobile enough to roam the cool August hallways. I remember how my artwork looked on the walls of her room from the summer before; so curled and faded from the exposure of the previous year, but most of all I remember her laying there waiting for me in her laced up black shoes and too tan knee highs, and the dense forest of Queen Anne’s Lace that grew around the place that sheltered her paleness from the summer sun.
            I would arrive with an armful of my latest creations, lovingly made at the picnic table under the army green tarp at my grandparents’ house on Oak Street. I was patient in my youngsters’ skin on the long ride there because I knew that I would see her and  the sparrows and the only  Queen Anne’s Lace that I had ever, in my shallow memory seen, and it grew as tall as I.
            I don’t think my artwork ever meant as much to anyone then, or since, and I wonder how many countless hours that it rested there on the walls under her proud and wistful gaze as she thought of  the countless years and of baby me and of my smile and how I looked so much like my mother when she was my age. I can still hear her voice as she pointed out my new creations to the nurse that brought her afternoon medication and quickly left with a nod and a smile.
            Queen Anne’s Lace always reminds me of Great Grandma Dorothy, which reminds me of that visit to her tidy apartment years before when she asked if I wore a brassiere and not knowing what a brassiere was. It reminds me of the very beginnings of my artful life and the times I went to see her with an armload of my latest “work”, knowing that no matter what I created, it would be loved and gazed upon fondly and accepted with tears of joy and wonder at how differently it looked from the summer before that one. Queen Anne’s lace reminds me of the journey and the way each soft plume felt under my fingertips as I brushed by it along the longest driveway we walked to her…and the love in her eyes when I stood in her doorway and she saw me again after an entire year away. Surely it was an eternity as she lay there in the coolness with the old swimming pool colored walls, looking back on her life and tracing in her mind, all the little faces and hands she washed after dinner. One face and set of little hands belonging to tiny Jennifer me.
            Queen Anne’s lace reminds me of my youth and of Dorothy’s smile and the birth of possibility as I sat for hours creating at the shaded picnic table summer after summer after summer. The rough wooden surface burgeoning with Paint by Numbers and construction paper and glue; cross stitch pot holders and dolls made from Styrofoam and sequins and pins. It reminds me of how our lives are all so intertwined and yet our experiences so singular; each of us a tiny pinpoint of whiteness like little stars, so much more beautiful when clustered together in oneness under the gaze of the sky.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Reflections and Such

I like the way that small town life is reflected by the window of my van over my face in the photo above...this place has become a part of who I am. There is a sweetness earnestness and an ease...sidewalks shaded by Tulip trees and Maples...the stillness of a Sunday morning...The familiarity of it all is comforting to me these days and I am grateful for the precious people who remember who I am every where I go...hearing my name said out loud  makes me feel more real somehow...more whole. It is as if they are really saying,
"I see you Jennifer, and you're going to be ok."

...acquired this amazing cement Paw Paw Leaf from Anne at Everlasting Leaves is now one of my favorite rests with its pale gray roughness against the smooth lines and handles and subtle shades of other favorite belongings, on the little white china hutch my husband bought for me for mother's day this year.

French Labels for Free Friday

Friday, May 07, 2010

Exotic Flowers for Free Friday enjoyment...

It has been such a busy week for me, that I haven't had a moment to post any of my thoughts. I think I am in need of time management skills. I am taking Kelly Rae's E-course soon and I know it will include time management ideas and strategies. I am very excited to be a part of it! So, here are the lovlies for the week, taking from a vintage book on exotic flowers. Enjoy!