Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

Blogging from Vashon

Now that I’m on Vashon I am ambivalent about blogging. First of all, I’m ambivalent about posting to “Parkview 616” because I don’t live there anymore. When I started this blog in 2007, not only was I living in that apartment, I was mostly housebound and spending almost all my time in the room with that view at the top of my blog.

Secondly, I began to blog at the urging of other stitchers with whom I was participating in online courses and challenges. They’d read my comments on their posted photos and blogs and they’d seen my photos at group sites. After wondering for a while whether I wanted to spend any of my limited activity time and energy writing a blog, I did so with the main intention of communicating with fellow stitchers. I made that intention clear in the subtitle, “About my life in stitches.” I thought I was just going to show and tell my needleart.

As you know, my life has changed radically since then. In fact, since my recovery in 2009, I’ve not been able to do any serious, sustained needlework because of ADHD and my “allergic” reaction to my living situation at Charlestown.

So instead I’ve posted about the changes and challenges in my life after ME/CFS.

While I was housebound, I thought that I had found a new vocation–learning to make needleart. It was about five years after my collapse forced me into disability retirement and seclusion that I discovered a passion for making things with needle and thread, and then all sorts of other materials. Until then it had never occurred to me that I could make visual art. In fact, I was sure that I couldn’t; but I had to find something to do, some way to be productive, to have a satisfying life. I began to take needlework seriously, studying it, working at it, learning how to design, learning new ways of working, and trying to improve my skills. In 1997 I wrote that as a corporate manager and consultant, I had made things happen. Now I made things.

Every aspect of the process brought me intense joy and satisfaction. Learning new techniques and working with new materials was such fun. Sharing what I was learning and making was also very rewarding.  I miss that. But so far, I haven’t wanted to finish the needlebook cover that I had designed and kitted for traveling before my first trip to Vashon in July. Unable to work because of the ADHD I’ve had since recovery, I seem to have lost the passion I had for designing and stitching.

Maybe that was just my vocation when I couldn’t be out in the world.

As for being out in the world, here’s a bit of an update about my life on Vashon.

I’m getting my place organized. It was immensely comforting to unpack my books and get all of them where I can see them. I know where each one is now. Some are in the hutch in the kitchen area.

The rest are in boxes, improvised as bookcases.

I’ve got most of my art placed approximately where I want to hang it. I had Book TV on the television. You can see my piano and my office area.

Here’s the view from the back of the apartment.

I’ve joined the Vashon Allied Arts, which supports all the arts on the island. Its offices are in the Blue Heron Arts Center.

Here’s the main  hall divided for an art exhibition.

Here’s one of the featured works–magnificent textile art combined with rusted metal in a wooden frame.

The artist is Kira Bacon. Geoff has offered to introduce me to her.

I’ve subscribed to the Vashon Chamber Music series, a lecture series on women artists, the Vashon Chorale, and Vashon Opera. The calibre of the arts here is mind-blowing. World-class artists live here and they attract their friends and colleagues to join them from all over the country. But I’ve been urged by Vashonites to shush my enthusiasm lest others find out. A new arts center is being developed, though.

Caleb and Lauryth have  not needed my help so far, which is good for me, as it’s given me time to focus on my own life. Most days I spend in solitude, and I love it. Every day when I leave my apartment, I walk into the forest where I see no one. I do not have to walk down halls, interacting with Charlestown residents. I do, however, see the naked bodies of mostly fat, elderly women in the communal shower and open locker room at the athletic club–something I never saw at Charlestown. Something else I didn’t do at Charlestown–I share the pool with competitive swimmers.

Friday was an unusual day. Wide awake at 5:00 a.m., I got up and went to the athletic club. Heretofore I’ve been going at 11:00 for the mid-day lap swim period. While I was eating breakfast, Nan called to ask if I could help with her move. Shortly thereafter, Geoff called to ask if he and Beau could come for a visit, which they did. Then I helped Nan, went to Geoff’s house to get basil Carol had harvested, and to Thriftway for the rest of the ingredients to make pesto. Back home, I got a call from Lauryth inviting me to dinner that evening. After which I went to the Chamber Music concert.

I talk with Ernie every day and every evening I send an e-mail message that is delivered to his cubby. He’s okay and he keeps telling me how happy it makes him to hear about the pleasures of my life.

As for my vocation, I don’t know what I’m going to be doing from now on.

And I don’t know whether I will continue to blog. So far, I have nothing to say “about my life in stitches.”


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In the 1960s Andy Warhol told an interviewer, “In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.” From whence came the common cliché, “15 minutes of fame.”

At present, I am having my 15 minutes of fame. The Erickson Tribune, the house organ, marketing organ, of the company that developed and manages Charlestown, published a story about me because I have a blog.


I was interviewed by e-mail, then two wonderfully interesting young women from The Tribune—an editor and graphic designer/photographer, came to my apartment. An editor who also writes and a graphic designer who also makes art. Oh how I enjoyed their visit! (And Sara, I love the design of the word “stitches’.)

Okay. The approach to me by the writer was that they wanted a story about a resident who blogs, and there is something about my blog in the story; but the comments made to me by residents who’ve seen the story have all been about my stitching. “Look,” they say, “there’s the stitcher.” Not “there’s the blogger.”

When I mentioned this reaction to my neighbor, fellow-stitcher, and Internet-savvy friend, she said, “They probably don’t know what a blog is.” So said my neighbor across the hall, too.


After photographing lots of my work, they published a shot of my crazy recovery patchwork improvisation. If you look closely, you’ll see the website of this blog, Parkview 616, on my computer screen.  But what people here got is not that I work at a computer, but that I work with needle and thread.

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The videos that were not uploaded in the previous post are there now. Just in case you’re interested.

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Very surprising goldwork

Dear Friends, if you would like to see some ravishingly beautiful and VERY unusual use of goldwork, please go to Goranka’s website. There you’ll see bras, corsets (YES!), and purses, as well as goldwork pictures. By all means, take a look!

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Why blog?

Today Sharon Boggon has raised the question in her latest post. Do go read her thoughts about blogging and why she does it. I responded as follows:

Hi, Sharon. I began blogging in September 2007 because of your courses and TAST. I wanted to participate in the community that formed around those activities.

I blog so that I can show other people my work–both stitching and essays. I live in seclusion, unable to get together with other people, so blogging has expanded my world enormously. Getting comments from others is very satisfying and the comments have led to e-mail friendships. Without my blog and Flickr, no one would see my work.

I also blog because I love to write. My blog posts and my essays have found their way to people for whom they were useful, helpful; and that is very rewarding. I’ve even heard from a particle physicist with whom I’ve been corresponding ever since, and from two prominent Blake scholars in England, one of whom I stay in touch with. I don’t mind living in solitude. In fact, I enjoy it. But it is an added pleasure in my life to have contact with other people who share my interests and with whom I can also share bits of my life, my family, and my rare outings. Being able to add pictures and videos makes it all the more enjoyable to blog. My far-flung and mostly absent family can stay in touch with me via my blog, too.

The only drawback to blogging for me is that the temptation to spend time doing that, and I spend a lot of time re-writing and editing, time that I might otherwise use stitching, is hard to resist. Not to mention the time I spend reading other blogs!

I don’t aim to post every day, as my time for being active is very limited, but I do post fairly regularly and I know people are following my blog. Very nice!

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For the next few weeks or maybe longer, I will be posting either very little or not at all. The reason for this time-out is so that I can focus on learning about and thinking about modern physics.

An English major, I’ve always had some interest in science. I first became interested in physics about 20 years ago or more, when I read two books about the correlations between quantum mechanics and the insights of Eastern philosophers, but I didn’t have time to really learn anything about it. The next time I got interested in quantum mechanics was in 1996 when granddaughter Melissa graduated high school, intending to major in physics in college.

By then, I was living in seclusion in West Virginia, trying to figure out what was wrong with me.  We gave her a leather back-pack and a bunch of physics books–popular science, not text books. I told her that even if she didn’t read them, she could put them on her dorm bookshelf and look really smart. Before sending them off to her, since I had plenty of time, I read all of them and wrote a paragraph about each for her. But I still didn’t remember or understand much of what I had read.

The next time I got really interested in physics was earlier this year when The Teaching Company offered me big discounts (15% in addition to their usual discount on selective courses) on their Particle Physics for Non-Physicists course, as well as String Theory. Irresistible. I bought both courses. This time I wanted to learn as much as I could.

That grandson Matt is a physics major, now applying to graduate schools, was further motivation. Two weeks ago he sent me his proposal for his senior physics project, “Nanometer Optical Imaging of Fluorescent Dyes” and I spent three days reading and re-reading it, looking up a lot of terms online, until I could write back to him my summary of his proposal.

The more I read about quantum theory and what physicists are doing now, the more fascinated I become and the more I want to understand as much as I can.

Given my limitations, I can’t stitch and study at the same time. As I wrote in my last post, it’s no good if I don’t focus entirely on my stitching, if I also have something else on my mind. Since I intend this blog to be mainly, though not exclusively, about “my life in stitches,” I won’t have much to blog about while I’m not stitching. Besides, I want the blogging time for studying.

I misquoted the title of a book I referred to in the video. The correct title is The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera. In this video I show and tell you about the books I’m reading.

You can see a video interview with David Bohm on YouTube.  His radical theory of an order underlying the quantum world that explains the gaps and mysteries of quantum theory has not been accepted by mainstream physicists. As with other BIG new ideas in science, it may take a long time for other scientists to grok to it. Since it cannot be experimentally proved or disproved, now at least, there’s no way of knowing its validity. The same is true of string theory, another attempt to explain what’s missing in quantum theory. I have The Teaching Company course on string theory, which is purely mathematics, and equally unproven and suspect by mainstream physicists. Physics is about what you can measure. The reality of the universe may not be measureable.

Wasn’t there once a popular song with the line, “I’ve gone about as far as I can go”? That may be where physics is in the 21st century. But some physicists thought that physics was done at the end of the 19th century, before Planck, Einstein, et.al. The 20th century was truly the age of physics, with incredible money made available for experimentation, which, of course, brought us atomic weaponry, as well as x-rays, computers, television, cell phones, and on and on.

Now that the Large Hadron Collider is in operation in Europe, where physicists expect to find a theoretical particle/field called the Higgs boson, they hope it will explain dark energy and dark matter, which comprise 95% of the universe. The LHC is expected to provide answers to other theories, as well.  So maybe physics isn’t done. We’ll see. It’s an exciting time. But I’m still drawn, strongly drawn, to Bohm’s ideas of wholeness, that the universe is truly One, and all things, everything, is interconnected.

Well, I’m going to wrap up here so that I have more time for reading those books. I feel compelled to understand as much as I can. I want to have enough of a background in the state of modern physics to be able to read David Bohm’s intriguing theories with critical understanding.

I intend to stay away from the Internet as much as I can during this time, but I’ll be back, and I hope you’ll stop by next year when I start stitching and posting again.

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Sharon Boggon

Sharon has moved her blog to a new service. It has a whole new look. You can find it now at Pin Tangle. Do stop by and add her new URL to your RSS feed.

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