A Little Book of Sea LifeJanuary 2009 – thrilled over Obama’s victory and I started making bigger, more complicated books. I started a woodcut class at UNCG. I struggled with hip bursitis until the end of June, and that’s all I have to say about that. It needed to be put out there because it really affected my gardening and my spirit, hence, not a lot of blogging going on.

Spannocchia windowMarch 2009: I liked this epiphany, much more for the reason that I’ve pretty much held to this manifesto! Concentrated mostly on the woodcuts, from what I can tell. Funny how I don’t remember much else about this part of the year. I must have been in serious daydreaming land. That’s okay, the year would get much better!

random weave basketApril 2009: Looking forward to the day when I can weave baskets again. I spent a lot of time in the gazebo, birdwatching, journaling, goofing off in general. Probably the most important thing that I accomplished this month was totally stepping away from the Slow Food leadership team. I still share the mission of Slow Food, but man, was I burnt out.

Art & Soul BookIn May 2009, I made my second trip to what looks like will become an annual event for me: the Art & Soul retreat in Hampton, Virginia. This year, I learned longstitch binding from a couple of different instructors. It opened up my color muse and fed my desire to make things from cool old books and papers. Planted a LOT of butterbeans. Seriously fretted over upcoming budget cuts and the economy in general.

Travel JournalJune – the month of dot addiction. I painted dots on everything. I cut off all my hair and took a History of Photography class 4 days a week. Finally I succumbed to reality and got a steroid shot in my hip. Ow, but it fixed it.

July was a major month of firsts. First whale, seal, and bald eagle sightings. First glacier. First icebergs. First snow in July. First cruise. First and hopefully not last trip to Alaska and British Columbia.

Sawyer Glacier, Alaska

Humpback Whale TailWell, THIS trip was hard to top. I wore my camera completely out. I actually sat on the deck of a ship and sketched. Yeah, I want to go back – but maybe not on a cruise this time.

August 2009: I blogged every single day except Aug. 1. The month began great with setting up a table at Art Oasis with Susanne and selling a couple of my handmade books. I set up an Etsy store (not in operation at this time). Started my transformation into Betty White. Ended the month in a world of dental pain which didn’t get resolved for six weeks. Bought a fancy new DSLR camera.

Green cotton bollThis green cotton and dozens of figs were my positive garden surprises this year. I spent most of September in a fog of painkillers and antibiotics. But I made a lot of paper and spent a lot of time shelling butterbeans and field peas, enough to actually freeze some for the winter.

October was full of travel. Susanne had to cancel the Italy plans for summer 2010, so I decided to spend the money I’d saved for the trip on other fun things. I bought a small upright freezer to store paper pulp for winter papermaking. Sandy and I took a 3 day weekend trip to the Black Mountain/Asheville/Hendersonville area. I worried about catching swine flu and not being able to go to Journalfest in Washington Sunrise at Fort Worden State Parkstate. Little did I know that I should have been worrying about my clumsy feet instead – I tripped on a curb and fell on both hands.

The Journalfest posts are here. I will definitely be going back again next year. It was held at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend, Washington, right on the Puget Sound. I saw the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen in my life there. I took an enormous amount of landscape shots, and those can be found on my Flickr site (as well as my 800 or so Alaska shots). I took two classes with LK Ludwig and one class with Dan Essig, two book artists with completely different styles who I greatly admire.

Then, at the very end of October, something truly amazing happened. We found Theo, an 8 more Theoyear old shelter cat up for adoption at Petsmart. He is the exact image of my little Squirtley Dirtley that I lost two years ago, except healthier and with a more assertive personality. Remember Puss in Boots in Shrek II? Yeah, Theo has that vibe down pat, especially the kitty sad eyes when he wants to be loved. He is spoiled rotten. His rise to Top Cat was rapid and unexpected. It has pretty much been all about Theo around here since he came to live with us.

We made a brief trip to Sunset Beach for a family Thanksgiving, a place that is familiar but constantly changing with the currents.

Thanksgiving09 152

And here we are at the end of December. I’m planning my trips for the year ahead, and taking art classes online. The art history class at UNCG this semester will be Modern Art. Tomorrow I may or may not list my goals for the year, keeping in mind that they are usually interesting in retrospect but seldom reflect what really happens in the future. I would not have guessed the events of this year a year ago. I hope to have another great year, except that I’d like to order a lot less pain, please. Hello, anybody up there hear that?