Patti Edmon Altered Attic: October 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Prayer for a friend


deeper than spoken
word, prayer rises from the
well of silent hope...

What is more difficult than dealing with illness? Waiting... those interminable days or hours between test and result. The slivers of time that no matter how thin are sharply painful, as we hover between the not knowing and the finding out.

I have a friend who is waiting right now, to find out exactly what is in that tiny lump. She has hovered longer than her share of time between hope and sanity. You probably know a handful of co-workers, acquaintances, friends and family members that are enduring those elongated moments, in similar situations.

The hardest 'waiting' I ever did was in the late '90s. I had a great deal of trouble getting, rather, staying pregnant. After two losses, the third time was charm. Weeks went by until finally, the third trimester. Then a routine blood test indicated that the fetus had an 80% chance of being a Downs' Syndrome baby. I was 38 years old after all, though I passed for a decade younger and still lived in that bullet-proof zone... life before any real bad stuff. It was also the beginning of my faith journey, which didn't erase the pain, or make me forget, it was just there.Not that we wouldn't have loved and cherished a child with Downs, it was the not knowing, the waiting. Fortunately the specialist, kind enough to appreciate the suffering, called on Saturday morning to tell us our baby would be fine, genetically perfect.

If we've reached our 40s and 50s relatively unscathed, we begin to experience the loss and/or illness of family and friends, our own burdens, those life changing events that nudge us into paying a bit more attention to our priorities, how we spend our time, communicate to those we care about and open our circles and hearts a bit wider. I've traveled quite a distance on my own path to spiritual fulfillment, gaining wisdom with every test of strength and endurance.

So once again, I say a prayer for a friend who waits. Hoping not only that the news is good, but timely, not delayed by human or technical error. That in the murky depth beneath our conscious thought, the prayers will be answered.

I took the photo last Sunday at church - Maxwell Street Presbyterian - where the light always shines bright.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Polymer Clay - not my forte?

(Sorry, no intent to dis myself, the title just rhymed:)
Still drenched in the flavors and sights at Hotel 21C, we ventured across the street to the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft for our afternoon with Polymer Clay. Our wonderfully talented and gregarious instructor, Lisa Simon, began by talking about the basics and showing us a few of her wonderful creations. Yes. She's the kind of teacher that makes you feel like any and everything is possible, if not in a four-hour window! Looking at the variety and complexity of her dolls was quite daunting for me though, a newcomer to clay, as well as Cassie, who is enormously creative but says she doesn't 'make art.'

We started unwrapping colorful blocks of clay without a clue about the shape, appearance, personality of our creations. Rolling shapes, making beaks, bulging eyes, crazy appendages, the time passed all too quickly. Especially for Debbie (on the right, glasses on her head) who creates and exhibits Raku sculpture women that are to die for (her finest to date graces my living room mantel:)
I'm not sure about the expression on instructor-Lisa's face, we thought we were off to a fine start; the head for mine, cut off below the eyes, is at the very bottom of the frame. Wasn't what I'd hoped for but there's no perfection, second chances even, in a four-hour class.

The class description said that all materials would be provided, and they were. Some of the more experienced gals arrived with a plan - and gorgeous embellishments like felt pieces and jewels, designs sketched out in detail - and finishing their pieces while ours came home in body bags.

Like Clarissa, a fellow Lexingtonian, the only one to create a round doll - quite fabulous!

And Ellen Yunker, who was wearing a doll-pin that she'd made in an earlier class (gee, I really wanted that pin!!). I didn't get a photo of her doll - it was fabulous!

But we hung in there, cut out little bodies and sewed cloth pieces together on machines with tension 'issues' and a bit of our own:) I'm ashamed to say that I haven't used a machine since senior-year home ec class when I made a skirt big enough for the school's quarterback.

Debbie made great progress, her creativity and talent shining through; Cassie and I are learning to love our little clowns... the class was finished before we were so we grabbed bits of embroidery floss, extra clay and fabric, bagged up and drove back home, with plans to gather at Deb's studio on the 30th and finish. I can't wait!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

First Stop - Hotel 21C

My friend, aka art angel Debbie Westerfield, invited me to join her on a trek to Louisville for a polymer clay class, with Cassie Harpel, one of the most fabulous, sparkly women I've ever met. So incredibly in need of fun, companionship with kindred spirits, adventure and creative play, I jumped at the chance.
After the hour and a half drive we started at Hotel 21C, recently in the news for being voted number one hotel in the country by Conde Naste readers (November issue). Click on the link and check out the MSNBC video with Matt Lauer. It's not hard to imagine why, though Kentucky doesn't generally top the list when it comes to vacation destinations.

The first clue that you're there is the red penguin on the roof, one of the many that appear in random - often changing - locations throughout the hotel. We considered a spin in the hotel's limo, covered in red shiny dots, but got busted. Cassie is so gorgeous and charming, we were off with a warning and went in for brunch.

Just inside the lobby, there are glass cases filled with, well, interestingly busy little people doing lots of different thing, a modern spin on the dollhouse - as you can see in the middle there's a guy standing outside with his luggage...

Here's a close up...

No need for a closeup here, the statues against the wall behind the front desk...

More engaging than fun house mirrors, the giant screen that, when you stand, then change positions, the letters surround your outline and make words, at least I think there are some real ones in there somewhere...

It would take pages and pages to begin a fitting description for the place - take a virtual tour or stop by if you're in the area. Our brunch was delish and not expensive at all, just filling enough to prime us for the workshop!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Giveaway!

What's your favorite season? Read on, leave a comment and on October 31st I'll pick (randomly, of course) the winner of a seasonal box of goodies.

took a walk the other day and yep, the air had that unmistakable chill, unlike a random cold snap in the summer. the leaves turning, bulbs waiting to be planted and roots going dormant for the winter that are felt more than smelled. unlike the triumphant scents of blossoms carried in the limbs of honeysuckle and rose bushes, mimosas and lilies in spring.

Cats curled in nooks and tight against porch railings; I believe they, too, know it will soon be time to go inside, aside from the daily foray into the bright slant of sun that is another sign of fall.

the pumpkins laugh, already, at the thought of Halloween, a wild night of surprise and celebration in our neighborhood.

the mums almost look out of place, the bright color alongside the browning grass...

autumn and spring are my favorite seasons, though they are the hardest on those of us with auto-immune and other illnesses susceptible to changes in the weather - the thick gauzy summer air and the steady, gray cold of winter mean a more stable barometer and that makes my joints happy. But in spite of the difficulties presented by warm, sun toasted afternoons followed by a crisp plummet into the cold, rainy nights, the sheer beauty of fall is enough. crisp apples, roasting marshmallows over the fire pit, hiking in the bounty of color, cozy afternoon, cup of tea in the window seat and yes, the pumpkins, a reminder to bake three small 2 pound pumpkins for Thanksgiving pie.

I smile every day at the sight of a neighbor's enormous pumpkin, marvel at its sheer size, smooth even color... and know that my kids, although in middle school, will insist that we put out a few of our own. We used to trek to the pumpkin patch in the fall when Alice and Dylan were young enough to marvel at scarecrows, the cider stand and the bumpy ride on the hay wagon out to the field to pick out the exact right ones. This year I'll pick up a few at the corner market... sigh.

So, what is your favorite season? Is it tied in with a holiday or celebration? Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, the 4th of July? Leave a comment with the season and the reason (not entirely necessary) and you'll be entered in the drawing. I'll post the prize in the next couple of weeks, but it will be worthy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Old Friends

changing seasons

old friends consider
another morning, same says
one, the other nods...

I've been writing haiku since summer, for the first time in years (and years?). I wrote one for a challenge in Life is a Verb and it hit a nerve. I wrote a few more after completing the exercise and then a few more and the floodgates opened. I've been scribbling them in church (after the sermon of course), at traffic lights, the grocery store, in meditation and prayer for friends whose deep, troubling needs fill me with anguish.
So neat, so compact, like an ATC, a small collage, a photograph... an entire story conveyed in a glance. Or, in 17 syllables. Probably for the same reason that, when I wrote fiction, I focused on the short story. Not because it's easier; anyone familiar with the mechanics of a good short story knows that it has to do the job of an entire novel in a fraction of the space.
In my teens and early twenties I spent a great deal of time writing poetry and it was deeply meaningful as self-care; however, I must admit, it was quelled by my longing is to read a good poem. Now, every morning I scan my inbox for an email from
Joe Riley, who under the Yahoo group name Panhala, pairs an amazing photograph with an equally compelling poem. Ahh, Joe, where were you twenty-some years ago?!
I do appreciate the fact that I created this collage using one of my photographs and a haiku I wrote, so I'm satisfied with what feels like an integrated expression.

In early days the challenge was to fit words that sounded good together into 3 short lines; now my goal is deeper. It's an attempt to phrase an emotion, maybe even cause a reader to stop and consider. Two old chairs that, upon closer inspection reveal coats of paint too numerous to count. A metaphor for the most sacred kind of friendship, one that endures an equal number of changing seasons, cycles of sun and snow, witnessing the passage of joys and sorrow, life stages and journeys that are not always predictable and never the same but weathered with the peace of kindred spirit. And, often without the need to speak.

Technical note: This haiku doesn't include a seasonal reference so I suppose it's not technically correct, but I did include the kireji, (no translation in English) the dash, or ellipsis placed at the end designed to bring the reader back to the beginning, forming a complete circle. Asleep yet?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Beauty in Strength

In honor of her step mom, the lovely Pam Carriker is offering limited edition fine art prints from this gorgeous painting through the end of October. The buyer can then choose a second print from her print shop at a fabulous 50% off. Proceeds from this special sale will benefit the Susan G Komen Foundation. Visit her blog for more details - she said she hopes to write a generous check on November 1st! I think I'll go shopping...

Monday, October 5, 2009


Lord make me a prism
come, shatter the darkness and
shine your light through me

Happy Monday, hope your week is filled with meaning, creativity and light!


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