Postcard Project I

Both my young friend and I are very far behind with our Postcard Project, and I’m determined to catch up a little this week. At the beginning of this year, she suggested the postcards might reflect something of a New Yorker cover – “afters” with a twist about our lives.

So below is “After Ivan Brunetti,” from The New Yorker cover for March 19, 2012.

It features painter people on a picnic break – this threesome being part of the dollhouse and contents my young friend has so sweetly handed down to Lady Baby. Downtown Abbey already has a dollhouse (belonging to Lady Baby’s mother), so this one came to the bluff – to be reassembled for future fun!


When I need energy, encouragement I always turn to Bob Marley albums – gifts from our younger son. With the rest of the world, he and I share much affection for Marley’s music. We chuckle when we are together anywhere, and within the first 24 hours, hear a Marley song on the radio or while waiting in some line.

A few weeks ago the Rose Theater in Port Townsend screened “Marley” – Kevin MacDonald’s documentary film about Bob Marley. (The movie is already available “on demand.”)

It’s beautiful – full of amazing faces and colors – and Marley’s music. Although it’s not a concert movie, there are plenty of concert scenes. I knew a lot of the words to the songs, but didn’t understand them till the movie, didn’t really know the story of Bob Marley. The movie is about him, about creativity and love. It’s about politics – and guilt for what humans have often wrought.

And joy for what other humans provide.

It begins with an unimaginably painful scene of the nightmare place in West Africa where kidnapped Africans were held before transport, and ends with a montage of Marley’s words sung by people all around the world. Now, when I hear the songs, I have pictures in my mind.

It will make you thankful to be alive – as Marley, dead at 36, would love to be.

The filmmakers must be so proud.

A Visit to the Bloedel Reserve

Memorial Day weekend, when our younger son and his sweet friend visited, we left early on their departure day to stop at the Bloedel Reserve.

I’m puzzled why I’ve never been to the Bloedel before. At the top of Bainbridge Island, this large tract of forestland is right on our way to Winslow or the ferry. I had imagined a very formal and immaculate place, forbidding somehow – stiff with Butchart-like “bedding out.” How wrong I was!

Tranquil is the first word to mind. Visitors spread out on a two-mile woodchip path, meandering through meadow, forest, and wetland. Only bird song and call interrupted the quiet as we walked.

But this place isn’t just a hike in the woods – it’s a combination of designed and natural spaces full of beauty: meadows with tall, waving grasses, wildlife sanctuary ponds surrounded by habitat shrubs and yellow iris, a sweep of candelabra primula on a creek bank, rare rhododendron and azalea, a grove of white-barked birch, glens and dells where native perennials thrive under second-growth Doug fir, cedar, and hemlock.

From giant skunk cabbage in the wetlands to tiny mosses covering the forest floor in the moss garden, from the formal reflection pool, Japanese garden and guesthouse to the Bloedels’ residence (now a Visitor’s Center) overlooking an active eagles’ nest and Port Madison Bay – walking and looking (or sitting at many inviting benches) is a great pleasure.

A few days later I went back with our young friend and her mom – the second of what will be many, if belated, visits!

Vicki Lane Mysteries

During the one sunny patch of Memorial Day weekend, we hauled out and set up the hammock. Now I glance at it across a soggy lawn, suspicious that moss begins to grow in the webbing. I also wonder if I (or any visitor) will ever lie in it to read a book this summer! If I do – I know what I will read – the second book of Vicki Lane’s series of mystery novels.

I learned about Lane when a friend of hers, who reads both our blogs, connected us. I enjoy her comments and our commonalities – including husbands who support our work, two sons, and black and white cats. She inspires me. I’m full of admiration for the way she thinks up plots with characters and landscape so particular to a place.

Vicki’s daily, yes daily, blog ( is rich with photos of the hills and hollows around her house and farm, her critters and garden – also the setting for her mysteries. She might post a “teeny rant” about women’s reproductive health in politics or about Marigold giving birth to a bull calf. It’s a pleasure to see the same scenes as the seasons turn – (her spring seemed miraculous early and advanced to my eyes!). And her house – lots of books, work tables, and couches full of dogs in front of the fire at Christmas.

Almost 40 years ago she and her husband moved to a farm on the side of a mountain in North Carolina, and in 2005 Lane began to write books – mystery books that are part Appalachian tale and part sleuth story.

Lane’s heroine is Elizabeth Goodweather (surely a life-informing name), a combination of herb gardener and Nancy Drew. I’ve just read the first of Goodweather’s adventures (there are five books), but I am engaged.

After listening to an interview where Lane modestly skirted the issue of how she accomplished so much (her answer was: “I don’t! – I’m always behind”), I pressed her in an email about her working habits. She answered that when under contract she writes “at night, from about eight till midnight or later. And, in the non-garden months, I may write much of the day as well.” During the more free months she “catches up with much that’s been left undone since I got into this writing thing – watching movies, reading books, organizing closets,” and Lane added that she was “beginning to feel the pull to settle down to some serious writing.”

Lane says she blogs because she likes the record of what’s blooming and what she’s up to – and reads blogs because she loves peeking into others’ lives and places.“

So, me too. Thanks Vicki!

And in that hammock, on a sunny summer day (one will come), having read “Signs in the Blood,” I’m going on to “Art’s Blood” – and looking forward to it!