Navigate / search

Forgiveness in The Homemade Pantry

Oh, these days, pink clouds of petals settling in the new grass, are so inspiring.

So, why do I feel so blue?
The troubles I had on the Laundry Line these last few weeks put in to perspective just how dearly I hold the honor of writing here and more importantly, the gift you give me in taking in these posts. They are the pink petals sifting in to the newly greening grass of your life this spring.

Right at this moment, my house is quiet. The pot of beans that simmered and scented my studio all afternoon has been eaten, leftovers stowed for a friend in need of dinner tomorrow. My daughter is off rehearsing for her class play. My son is at the gym, doing whatever he can do without the complete use of one of his legs. That broken leg is slowly mending. My husband is out fetching butter and fruit. Quiet.
No side walk repair going on. No phone calls about campaigns or repair contracts from Sears.

Just me. And the cool breeze holds expectancy for the moon, who’s rising we have kept close watch on all weekend.

I am in need of a dose of forgiveness. Forgiving recipes for starters.

I bake beans every Monday now, due in thanks to my friend Janet, who posted this recipe so I will never lose track of it. Last week’s pot of beans was rendered in to soup because the flame went out about 2 hours too early and they never thickened up. The soup went well with the cornbread that I planned to make. I did over-bake it though because of a tiny issue with time. I had made the cornbread from Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Pantry. I was all motivated to post about how good it was, until I nearly burned it and it looked like this.

While I was mixing it up I got distracted and left out the melted butter until I’d slid the batter in to the pan. The recipe however, was forgiving enough to accept the butter late. The cornbread could barely withstand the heat though, but fair enough, as I’d put it through so much already. That morning, I had discovered my downstairs freezer in it’s own soupy state and had a profusion of strawberries to deal with, hence the cornbread, which is nice under a spoonful of red juicy berries stewed with freshly picked rhubarb and a touch of sugar.

It was an evening that, without the steep and pure love of my husband who sees so much of the good in me, no matter what I am serving, including firm cornbread and soupy beans, I could have crisped and dried like that bread. Instead, the cornbread, soup and I were salvaged in the big, round bowl of his love.

I need this kind of forgiveness, the kind that let’s me arrive at your door muddy, late and bearing no gifts in hand.

Why am I revisiting that soggy Monday at all? Wouldn’t I just like to sweep it under the rug and be done with it? Forgiveness is what I am about. And gratitude. I am grateful for forgiving recipes and husbands.

Mama says there’ll be days like this. So, I wade through the mud. I watch my daughter dance around the May Pole at her school’s May Day celebration wearing a hand-me-down prom dress my sister gave her when she was three. I never imagined my girl wearing that dress until this day. Her school turns out for May Day, we all have picnics and wear garlands of flowers and sing “Hi, Ho, Jolly Rumble Oh”. Forgiveness weaves around the May Pole when we are asked to hold a certain quality for the children dancing the ribbons round the tall wooden pole. Forgiveness for all future missteps and over baked corn bread.

When I make mistakes, I suffer the consequences. When my children make mistakes, as they did last week when they wrote in the fresh cement of the new sidewalks across the street from our house, I have to find room to forgive them and let them suffer the consequences. It is so hard for me, as a mother, to not suffer with them. The marks they made it the wet cement are far bigger and bolder than I would have ever hazarded. My son included his last initial! What a flagrant expression of self-confidence. Does my anger flair because I would never, ever own such disrespect of someone else’s work, even if it is sort of a community act, as he tried to justify it. Or because their bold claims of presence on this street, in this year, are way grander than I would make? When my kids made a formal apology to the construction crew, the men kindly dismissed the writing as no big deal. They were off the hook, but I am still thinking about it.

In this stew of forgiveness is a new found confidence of my own.

In April, I returned to the stage after a 17-year absence.

I had more fun than I have ever had acting in a play.

Partly because, like my children I suppose, I was without the artifice of who I am supposed to be. I boldly stepped out onstage in my garden boots and black dress, full of everything I am today. I am a woman, a mother, an artist and many other things including a theatre artist.
I hope for nothing less for my children, that they too would step in to their lives unfiltered by fear or small living.
Before this post becomes too unwieldy, I will leave you with the pink petals still blowing through the cool air, streaking across my winter woolies hanging on the laundry line, hopefully headed for the storage bin of out-of-season clothes.

As you stir the soup of you today, may the chunks of confidence floating around in there surprise you. Didn’t know you had them, did you?

I didn’t know I had some either. But, upon locating this confidence, I will go in search of more, because an unalloyed sense of my self, integrated and all under the roof of me is what I am after here.

Thank you for returning to the Laundry Line,
With love,

How to share on the Laundry Line.

Roasting Quince 10/10

share 1 (shâr)
1. A part or portion belonging to, distributed to, contributed by, or owed by a person or group.
2. An equitable portion: do one’s share of the work.
3. Any of the equal parts into which the capital stock of a corporation or company is divided.
v. shared, shar·ing, shares
1. To divide and parcel out in shares; apportion.
2. To participate in, use, enjoy, or experience jointly or in turns.
3. To relate (a secret or experience, for example) to another or others.
4. To accord a share in (something) to another or others: shared her chocolate bar with a friend.
1. To have a share or part: shared in the profits.
2. To allow someone to use or enjoy something that one possesses: Being in daycare taught the child to share.
3. To use or enjoy something jointly or in turns: There is only one computer, so we will have to share.
go shares
To be concerned or partake equally or jointly, as in a business venture.

I love to share.
Sharing means so many things. In this post I am using the verb form of share.
To me, share means to spread the wealth of attention, the wealth of pretzels or the wealth of appreciation. To share can also mean, as in number three in the definition above, verb transitive, to offer a story. At the dinner table, we always ask the kids to share one good thing about their day. This can lead to an argument about ‘always being asked to share’ but as long as JNB and I are supplying the butter for the family bread, we get to ask things like this at the kitchen table. “Share One Good Thing About Your Day”. See? It sounds like a movement when I put it in capital letters and quotation marks.

Sharing, on the Internet, can mean linking to or copying an image from one place and using it in another.

I am a long time collaborator with people, really with life, I guess. I love to share what I learn and how others inspire me. If you go to my Face book page you will see many links to sites that capture my eye or speak to a need I know someone else has. The sidebar to your right has links to websites that intrigue me and I bet there is at least one that will intrigue you too.

One good thing about parenting is I have been teaching my kids to share since they were tiny. Looking at the two of them across the dinner table last night, big as anything, I realized that whatever I have taught them about sharing, making connections, of real time offering of some part of themselves, whether it is a story from their day or a pad of college-ruled notebook paper, the teaching time is over. Now, I just have to live it and hope they are noticing.

Living the way I do, paying attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle clues that the Universe gives me on any given day, I can be awash in serendipity.

Just last week I was driving to the grocery store, listening to Joe Donohue on WAMC’s show The Roundtable, I heard Joe interview author Nathaniel Philbrick about his new book “Why Read Moby Dick?”. I tingled with glee. Just days earlier, at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival I had met a young knitwear designer, Ann Weaver, who just self-published a collection of her knitted designs inspired by “Moby Dick”. And, to keep the connection even more electrified, I saw that her book “White Whale” was illustrated by mixed media compositions created by artist Matt Kish, who I had also just read about on one of my new favorite websites for culture and news, Matt has created an illustration for every page of “Moby Dick”. Yes, that door stop sized novel that opens with “Call me Ishmael.”

From the Dye Shed at Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Fair October 2011

Is it serendipity that “Moby Dick” shows up in my life four times in one week? I have not even read the whole book. Or that I live not far, like about 20 miles from where Herman Melville lived when he wrote the novel? Or that Joe Donohue, who is one of the best interviewers of artists that I have ever heard, should ask Nathaniel such great questions that I was mesmerized while driving?

You know I started my life, my professional life, as an actor, right?

ATL Midsummer Night's Dream curtain scene

I learned quickly the importance of attribution, of my bio and credits on a program. I learned from stinging disappointment the heartache of not being mentioned in a program or being omitted somehow from the roster of contributors to a project.

That is one of the reasons you will see lots of links on the Laundry Line. I like you to know where I get my information. I love to share what I have gathered throughout my day, even from my drive to get groceries, or reading a new blog, I love creators to get all the attention they need to affirm in their minds that the world is receiving their work.

Nina Paley, a cartoonist, filmmaker and activist for artist rights created one of the most delightful movies I have ever seen. Here is a trailer for “Sita Sings the Blues”.

My postal art collaborator, Karen Arp-Sandel shared this movie at her yearly Vibrant Visionary Art retreat at The Kripalu Center last year. Nina’s work about the combinational nature of creativity is dynamic and thought provoking. See a great piece on her work on Brain Pickings.

Orchard above Kripalu

It is beyond the scope of this post to discuss the nuts and bolts of copyright and sharing rights for art in general. What I would love to ask of you my readers is to do what I do and that is to “Link With Love”. If you share something you like here on the Laundry Line, whether it is my art or photography, something I have written or quoted, poems that I post- please give credit where it is due. I just put a “Link With Love” badge here on my sidebar. If you click on it, you will be led to a great site with lots of information about this topic. If attribution and copyrights really call out to you, go to Nina Paley’s website.

Arthouse Sketchbook opening page SBB - Version 2

And, in terms of what I share on the Laundry Line, these words and photographs and art express my personal experience. I share them with you because it is my life mission to share. My Mom used to tell the story that when I was old enough to use the telephone, a nice heavy black plastic one in a niche in the wall of our Chicago apartment, I would call all my friends on Wolcott Avenue to let them know I was heading outside to play. This was not to boast about my whereabouts, but to call everyone out to play with me. I have always always always loved to share.

“Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.”

Mom shared this Swedish proverb with me too.

Fun. Grief. Quince. It is always better shared.

xo S

Do One New Thing Every Day

Bow Wow Road 9.22.11

Here is the second new thing I did today.

See the other on my new page.

Deliberation (2)

Constant slow movement teaches us
to keep working like a small creek
that stays clear, that does not stagnate,
but finds a way through numerous
details, deliberately.
Deliberation is born of joy
like a bird from an egg.
Birds do not resemble eggs.
Think how different the hatching out is.
A white leathery snake egg, a sparrow’s egg,
a quince seed, an apple seed.
Very different things look similar at one stage.
These leaves, our bodily personalities,
seem identical, but the globe
of soul fruit we make,
each is elaborately



Sending you love for the last night of summer,

Rain Rain and hoping to be more Alive

Wet on Baldwin Hill

Today in the Berkshires the sky is pouring.
I heard from my friend in Amsterdam that the sky is pouring there also, or rather, the sky was pouring earlier today.

We had a very dry summer. That meant few mosquitoes, brilliant tomatoes, not many slugs and a lot of hauling the hose around.

A good tomato

Now, my quinces are still hanging on to the branches of our tree, waiting for a frost so I can pick them. If you gently pull one close to sniff it’s heady fragrance you feel the weight of summer in it’s fuzzy orb with the potential of this harvest.

Such high hopes for so small a fruit, about the size of a fist.

I walked today in spite of the rain.

Roadside Wonder Baldwin Hill

Alone up on Baldwin Hill with my camera and thoughts, I came to the iconic Elm of Baldwin Hill.

Wet Hawk in Baldwin Hill Elm

There are others in our town, like this one on the fire road (which in this moment I question if it is an elm…beautiful tree all the same)

The Fire Road Field yesterday evening

but the Baldwin Hill Elm above the tiny airport is quite renowned.

Today is a quiet day, no soccer games, just popcorn and hot cider while homework gets done.

I am thinking of Ben, likely in bed over in Munich. I hope he is in bed. Our German family is keeping close track of him as he navigates reading Orwell’s 1984 in German.

Rumi today:

Hoping to be more Alive

You are an ocean in a drop of dew,
all the universes in a thin sack of blood.

What are these pleasures then,
these joys, these worlds
that you keep reaching for,
hoping they will make you more alive?

Light Drops Baldwin Hill

Hmmm. All these universes in a thin sack of blood.
That is me. Keeping warm and hoping to be more alive.

Blessings on this quiet day to you,
Love, S

%d bloggers like this: