September was a wonderfully busy month. The first half was consumed by the planning and anticipation of seeing my relatives at our family reunion and my mother’s 90th birthday party. My aunt and first cousin came from Colorado to stay with my mother for ten days, during which time the bottom fell out over their homes between Denver and Boulder. Fortunately, neither had damage but they went back to a mess. The reunion and party went really well, and once Mama got to the actual event her worrying fell away and she enjoyed it. She even showed her sense of humor by wearing the “birthday girl” tiara I crowned her with most of the day. Although she stayed on her feet for most of four hours, she came through it like a champ physically.

The sad part was that the three of them went to see my uncle and aunt in South Carolina and they are not doing well at all and were getting ready to be moved to a facility that could provide more care for my aunt. My Aunt Louise is in the throes of Alzheimer’s and it has changed her personality from the sweet, easy-going, calm lady she has always been and her memory is wrecked. Alzheimer’s is such a cruel disease. It is my worst fear, having seen so much of it first hand.

Now that I’m back, I have plunged into my ceramics class and I’m in the “present moment” zone. Even though my work is considerably less complex and technically proficient as the others in the class, I get inspiration and help from them instead of feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. Most of this is due to the professor’s kindness and encouragement. I had a bad day when my tendinitis spiked last week and I panicked that my surgery was all for nothing and it was back. I think that moving heavy stuff all month and then carrying the kittens in their cat carrier finally touched it off. My shelf for my supplies in the class was high up and I was struggling with moving things on and off it. The professor found a lower shelf for me, helped me move my things to it, and over the last week I gave away that heavy molding clay that I won’t use. I’ve moved on to creating book covers and once I started, I felt good about it. If I stick to small pieces and handling small amounts of clay, I’ll be fine. I still have my hand/wrist braces and my hands are back to normal.

Sunday was a gorgeous day and I spent the afternoon making paper in Susanne’s back yard. She had a lot of leftover colored pulp from her class and I jumped on the chance to make some colored sheets for my clay covered books. It reminded me that papermaking might be my favorite art activity. It is so meditative and fun, once you get in the groove. I yakked my head off the whole time, but it CAN be meditative. I’m cooking the sheets a little at a time in the dry mount press this week, between work and classes.

When I was home for the reunion and party I spent a lot of time at the farm and I gathered some dye materials there for a scroll about the farm. I dyed a strip of cotton with goldenrod and mordanted another with pomegranite rinds that I harvested from an old tree behind the Henley house. They provided a very light yellowish color on the cloth as well. I need to roll these cloths up with the oak, sassafras, and sweet gum leaves I brought back soon before it all rots away in the bucket. One of my projects in the ceramics class will be a stand to hold the scroll.

The kittens are almost healed up from the ring”rash.” Their lesions have to be gone before we can let them into the rest of the house and get them neutered. Both of them had good check-ups at the vet last week and are growing well. Pablo’s ringworm seems to be gone, but Diego still has a stubborn lesion on his tail and is a little bit crusty on his shoulders, but most of his is gone. Other than that his health is back to normal.

Pablo got out last night and when I picked him up I held his face down close to Theo, who was lounging sleepily on the sofa, and Theo licked Pablo’s face! I hope that means that there will be a smooth transition when the door opens between the sections of the house again.