House at the Edge of a Wooded Path


This gallery contains 4 photos.

When I pass by wooded paths, Or see old farm equipment covered in kudzu and brambles, I think of my father. I remember him on tractors or in old cars, Lincolns mostly, classics he collected from the forties. Or Suburbans, … Continue reading

Kiss the Grandmother

Most of my compassionate friends and now the world know that I have always struggled with weight issues. If you don’t see me for a few weeks, the possibility exists that I may have lost or gained, (more likely gained) a few pounds.  A few years ago, I went to a family reunion in California and when I got home, the pictures my cousins took began to show up on Facebook. That night I joined Weight Watchers.

It took me a year to lose seventeen pounds. Far from being nymph-like, I did feel better about myself and my size twelve jeans didn’t bind in the crotch.  When my mother died the next year, I lost another ten pounds.  By March, I was convinced I could maintain the weight loss on my own and quit Weight Watchers. By June, I’d gained every pound back. The true horror of this was made clear when my son Andy announced his engagement and I had to go Mother of the Groom shopping.  My daughter found a beautiful, silver silk Oleg Cassini suit for me. My reasoning for buying a size sixteen, even though I have never worn a sixteen, was that I could have my dress designer neighbor Kirk alter it for me so that it fit like a custom made suit.

I couldn’t wait for it to arrive. Two days later, the big cardboard box was delivered by FedEx.  I took it into the bedroom and started to strip.  The suit was packed in layers of tissue paper. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was when I lifted the jacket out of the box, rhinestone diamond buttons set in fake silver marched up the front.  The wedding theme was metallic, so I would fit right in.

Then I tried to get the jacket on. When I say it was too small, I mean I couldn’t get my arms into the sleeves. Even my hands were too big. I was so upset I wanted to first tear it up into pieces and then kill myself. It was simply another reminder that I am fat. My husband can deny it, and my friends will tell me I look great, but now I have proof. I can’t even get a size sixteen on. What’s next? I am only 5’3″. Soon I will be as wide as I am high.

So I swallowed my pride and went to the doctor. I had to get on the scale, which was torture.  He put me on a low calorie diet that was graduated in calorie amounts so my metabolism wouldn’t go into starvation mode. I took a ton of supplements. Fortunately, I had the time to lose enough to get into the suit.

This would be a good place to mention that the Mother of the Bride is a model.

By the wedding day, I felt great, I’d lost twenty-two pounds, I was starving, but what’s a little food, right? I could wear the suit. As a matter of fact, the skirt was too big. With a Spanx the jacket fit snugly, but the bell shaped skirt was too big. You get the picture.

I’ve decided I have reverse body dysmorphic disorder.  When I look in the mirror, I see an average sized, slightly chubby middle-aged woman who without my glasses has smooth skin, albeit a wrinkly neck which is minimized by holding my chin up as high as my cervical spine will allow.  But when the team of photographers at the wedding started shooting their cameras and videos in my direction, I was terrified.  The first picture the photographer showed me made me sick to my stomach. Why couldn’t I look trim and nice like everyone else?

The next horror was realizing that while Andy and I jumped around like maniacs on the stage, having picked We Will Rock You by Queen for the mother-son song we would dance to, the video camera was about chin height and two feet from me. I can just imagine what it will look like.

It was while flying back to Michigan that the sudden epiphany struck me.  I am a sixty-two year old, Greek grandmother. What the hell am I supposed to look like?  This is me! Suzanne Jenkins, chubby, friendly, paranoid and in love with life. I proved that I am willing to put it all out there when I started publishing my own books. I was narcissistic enough to think readers would want to read what I conjured up, and I was right. If I can be that self assured, surely a few horrible photos of me in my son’s wedding album won’t hurt me.

So needless to say, if anyone on Facebook tags photos of me at the wedding, I’ll be removing the tag asap.

Kiss the Grandmother

Kiss the Grandmother

This Makes Me Uncomfortable

The following is a preview of a guest post which will appear on a book bloggers blog  next week during my book tour.

As I began writing in earnest two years ago, the inspiration to tell a story about an older woman who discovered her beloved husband’s infidelity after he died came from out of nowhere.  Pam of Babylon simply appeared in my consciousness and I wrote it as I thought of it.  Later, a quote by E.L. Doctorow would confirm my writing style was not unusual.  He said, “Writing is like driving a car in the dark.  You only see as far as the headlights go, but you can make the whole trip that way.”  Those words validated me. An encounter with an editor who did not like my story line made me doubt the wisdom of spending another second writing.  She asked me to do an outline before I began to write, which I found nearly impossible to do because of the way the book was coming to me as I went along. She referred to the story as triple-x rated because it contained a depiction of child abuse.  Child abuse transcends the rating system.

Later, I learned from a fellow author that sometimes a writer/editor relationship may not be a good fit and it is acceptable to move elsewhere. Once I found the courage to move on, I found a new editor.  She was a barracuda who demanded revisions and rewrites, but she also loved the story and wanted it to be the best I could make it. I felt totally comfortable deferring to all of her suggestions and to this day wish I had used her from the onset.  However, once the story was published, I would encounter readers who felt the same way my former editor did.  My books are not for everyone. I can’t say I enjoy writing about topics that many people find repugnant and some that are downright disgusting like the child abuse and marital infidelity.  But it’s something that I find compelling for whatever reason and the stories wind through the tragedy and horror that normal people sometimes encounter.

After a book is finished, I suffer from insomnia for months.  I’m in that mode right now. The Greeks of Beaubien Street will be released this summer, and although I love the story, there is a portion of the book that worries me because it depicts the seamier side of life in a most grotesque way. Even the perpetrator is disgusted with the crime. I know there will be those readers who will buy the book and will be offended by it in spite of a warning. [At the suggestion of the people who oversee Goodreads and Amazon, I have plastered warning and caution signs at the beginning of every book description.]  I almost didn’t write the book until my son, a filmmaker and writer told me not to censor myself. I have tried censoring in the past and once I began, I found I was putting up so many parameters I could no longer write.  The question I had to ask myself over and over confirmed that the story line was important.  What is my purpose in writing about this topic? It isn’t to titillate, or to be sensational.  In The Greeks, the horror story is in contrast to the gentle Greek father who prepares his homicide detective daughter’s breakfast every morning.

Regarding Pam of Babylon’s adult content, I tried to write so that it would be the least offensive as possible.  If a writer is going to have child abuse as a topic, there is little that can be done to clean it up. It’s deplorable, and the consequences are usually tragic. The Kirkus Review said about the third book in the series, Dream Lover; “A gritty, realistic portrait of the aftermath of deceit.”  In order for the resolutions to take place, I must first describe the conflict.

My friend Dan Georgakas, author of My Detroit, Growing up Greek and American in Motor City (Pella Publishing Company, NY, NY, 2006) wrote when I confided my concerns, “….people are embarrassed by this [content] and want to project a perfect family image: a stereotype no one is going to believe anyway. I have always believed in showing warts whenever possible.”  Some of the character’s warts are painful to look at, but they exist in real life.
The final book in the series may be finished this fall and has some of the characters achieving positive resolutions. Fans of Pam will be relieved that she is triumphant in the end.

All Things Books

My favorite place in our house.

A very early memory takes me to a place that must have been near Detroit, since that’s where  I grew up during the 1950’s.  The smell of what I now know to be old books hit my olfactory the moment my aunt and I stepped over the threshold.  Leather, paper, cigarette smoke and dust mingled into a heady fragrance that to this day, minus the smoke, provokes a visceral response in me. Used book stores introduced me to the love of books.  The introduction to new book stores came shortly after, but new books don’t have the same appeal.

As adults, wherever we traveled began with a search for a book store. I’ve been to book stores in New Orleans, Wichita Falls, and Sacramento and many more places across the country.  Back in those days, customers weren’t allowed to bring beverages in, unlike today where they are sold next to the books.  Books were reverenced.

I am somewhat of a book hoarder, too.  A scene from my marriage has a very concerned and almost angry husband asking me why I needed to bring ‘moldy’ paperback books into our house.  On a weekend antiquing jaunt, I’d happened across a gentleman who was downsizing his own sizable book collection which included a complete set of the paperback Mentor Philosopher Series.  I’ve got ’em all; Spinoza, Bacon and Pascal to name a few.  Then came the great anthropologists.   Margaret Mead is my favorite, (didn’t they disclaim some of her observations twenty years ago?)  She was all sex and culture, all of the time.

I also have all of the Greek classics.  In paperback.  I think Jim must be a book snob because a few years later, maybe in the early eighties, he signed on for the Franklin Mint Library book club. Or maybe he was hoping his purist attitude would wear off on me.  It never did.  Those shining, gold-leafed fly-leafed tomes make my garage sale finds look shabby, but they are behind glass and anyone can pick up one of my used books and curl up with a cup of tea for an afternoon without worrying about ruining it.

My aunt sent me the complete works of Dumas; forty red leather bound volumes of bliss.  I also have an ancient Gibbons The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, a very early Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, and Winston Churchill’s The History of the English Speaking Peoples.  I have these books; I have NOT read them.  My taste leans toward Pearl Buck, Betty Smith and compilations by Alfred Hitchcock.  (Insert laughter here.) Odd that my own writing tends to be more like a down at the heels Jackie Collins. (with all due respect.)

My books also reflect what I was doing at different stages of my life.  I have an extensive library of Christian literature.  My friends and family have learned that it isn’t wise to argue with me about the Bible; I know what it says and when things have been taken out of context.  Two entire bookcases are filled with books relating to yarn.  I have every weaving book that was published between 1975 and 1980 because I had a store that sold weaving supplies.  I no longer weave, but I don’t think I should part with the books.  I also have lots of knitting books; I like looking at the pictures, and many dyeing, spinning, and surface design books.

I have a friend who has cataloged her books.  At one time that idea appealed to me, but now I realize it would take up too much time.  Imagine being able to put your hand on any volume you need.  I can almost do that without the organization.

The only regrets I have are having loaned books out.  I no longer do that.  If you have ever received books from me its because I love you and want you to have them.  By the time I give a book up, I am so done with it.  It might be taunting me.  Read me again.  Or worse, read me the first time. And I might have no intention.  Or it might be something from my past that I know I will not revisit.  A past loved hobby, for instance.

One thing I should probably not admit is that the Jenkins’ family receives something from Amazon two or three times a week. Scary.  It is sad that the independents are  threatened by such a huge and inexpensive online presence. But one thing Amazon will never replace is the used book store.  We have a fabulous used store in South Haven.  The proprietress is rude, at least to me, but it is so worth suffering through it to browse in the shop.

Last month, when I was in California for a few days, I went to a used store in Santa Cruz with my Aunt Yvonne and her friend, Bruce.  It was truly a reverent experience.  The place was huge, it was open late at night, but we couldn’t stay too long because there was no bathroom to be found.  I could have stayed there for hours, so maybe the lack of facilities was a good thing.

My mother was a lover of books.  I argued with her to get rid of a huge collection of books she’d moved from her antique shop back to her house when the shop closed.  After she died, my sister gave me the job of going through the books and getting rid of them. It should have been easy, correct?  I hounded the poor woman for ten years about giving them away.  And you know what happened?  I could only get rid of one.  One book.  So if she is up there reading this, I’m sorry, Mom.  I know exactly what you were thinking.

I bought home a ten pound Landmarks of Detroit, and old cookbooks to add to my vast cookbook collection. (I don’t cook.)

This actually has a picture of a long lost relative, maybe a great uncle, Richard Haigh, who was an attorney in Detroit.

Most other things I resisted, for now. My mom would be happy to know I am unable to get rid of her books!  It was a joy we shared.

Today I am going to write.  I haven’t done any new writing in months; its been about revising and editing.  The second book just came out last month and third one will be ready in a few weeks. I feel like I should stall it a little bit, because there won’t be another for quite awhile.

Speaking of, I have a new editor! My daughter, Jennifer! Jen’s second degree is in fiction writing and she actually did some editing at her first job out of college.  I’m psyched!

Back to work!

Happy New Year!!!

Hope today is a good day for you.  I am puttering around my house which is what I enjoy doing the most.  Back in the day when I worked in the OR and had to be in scrubs ready to work by seven in the morning, I used to dream about this.  Today I have talked to my good friends, or emailed them or texted them, cleaned up a little, knitted, played with my pets, and hugged my husband.

Thanks to technology, I saw a picture of my sister Sarah as she had lunch with Liz at noon, sent a video of myself (terrible) back to her, spoke with my aunts on different coasts, texted both my kids, got an email from the guy who built the electric spinner I bought, sent the winners of the giveaway on goodreads their books by ordering them directly from the publisher, had a crying fit until Jim intervened because I couldn’t find the Nook version of Pam of Babylon to send to a customer and finally, spent a small fortune on a device which converts an old spinning wheel of mine into the latest of modern convenience. How did I spend my time before the computer? I’d probably have rested or watched TV.

We are having the most winter like weather; high winds and precipitation which vacillates between rain, sleet and snow.  The yard is filled with birds but no deer since the bow and arrow catastrophe a few weeks ago. Betty told me deer season ends today so maybe that’s way there hasn’t been any deer around here. They’re hiding and don’t feel safe anymore.

The Lions are playing today.  I just couldn’t bring myself to watch the game. I hope they win.. Turn your volume up and you might hear Jim yelling Lions scores in the background.

What are you doing today?  I hope its restful, peace-giving. I hope you find your passion this year, that the things that scare you are resolved, and any lingering issues come to a positive ending.  Thank you for being in my life, because I need you there.

Is It Stress, or Alzheimer’s?

The Nativity as seen through the eyes of Boston Terriers.

December is the busiest month of the year for most women, and almost most men.  The approaching holidays take their toll on us whether we celebrate them or not.  Just knowing that there is an expectation increases our sense of obligation.  Should I put up a tree?  Do my casual acquaintances really need a gift from me?  What about sending Christmas cards?  The meal? Ham or turkey? Parties? Special outfits?

I decided that this Christmas I would go all out, put up a tree for the first time in years, shop for gifts, make an effort for a change, so that my sister Sarah who is living in a group home since the death of our mother, could come here and have a pleasant weekend with the family.  We got the moldy fake tree out of storage and about ten boxes of ornaments down from the rafters and I began decorating. We put up lights outside, got the Santa coat hanger  hung up, the lighted village of churches on the baby grand.  I even got a pine scented candle.  Then I found out that she doesn’t want to come here for reasons only known to her.  Suffice it to say that I vacillated between several powerful emotions that swung from hurt feelings to anger.  What it boils down to is that she is mentally retarded.  Why had I placed so much expectation on her?  Why wasn’t it enough to make those preparations for myself?  We seek the perfect Christmas.  I think since my children are on opposite ends of the country and Christmas isn’t what it used to be without them, it is just easier not to go to too much bother.  Now next year, when my baby grandson is almost a year and a half, Christmas will be fun.  (There goes those expectations again.)

Last week, the physical proof of the sequel to Pam of Babylon arrived. I was so excited!  I went over with it fine toothed comb and found a few minor mistakes, included ‘damn’ where ‘dam’ should have been.  I called my publisher and we rejoiced!!!  The book would be corrected and go to the printer.  And then thankfully, for some reason I read it again.  Several major, glaring editing snafus slapped me in the face.  There is a major contradiction that my editor missed and so did I, and four repetitive descriptions that just couldn’t be ignored. It was like a repeat of Pam in which there were four puking scenes in the original manuscript.  I didn’t want it to be the book about women who threw up, so I had to get rid of three of them.  History had repeated itself.  After several more readings, I was able to make the corrections without too much rewriting.  Tomorrow it goes back to the publisher.  Ugh.

Monday night I flew into Philly to spend a few days with Jeni and Carlos and the baby.  It was wonderful; I took my shoes off by the front door when I arrived and when we went to leave for the airport this morning two days later they were still there.  I spent that time in repose, being catered to by my daughter with three home-cooked meals a day, ice water and coffee at my fingertips, and stimulating conversation.  All while a four month old, happy, cooing baby sat on my lap.  I don’t like to fly, but because I didn’t have much time and it was sort of spur of the moment, I got on a plane.  Now next Monday, I am doing it all over again, but in the opposite direction.  Andy is actually in Austin, Texas right now, scouting sets for their next movie, but he is supposed to be back over the weekend.  So I am going to go see my aunt and the rest of my dad’s relatives and hopefully have lunch with my son.  I’ll be gone just a few days.

During this time, Jim has a birthday, we have our forty-third wedding anniversary, and then the Christian holidays.  I slipped up today while I was being goosed by the TSA agent by wishing her a Merry Christmas.

“Happy holidays, you mean,” she said with attitude.  Am I allowed to disagree with the TSA over this? I mean, I know my brasserie under-wires are an issue, and my bluejean waistband is too tight for them to stick their fingers into, but do I have to be corrected about political correctness?  I could feel my blood pressure going up and in my mind I said out loud, ‘No! Merry Christmas!’  But the part of me that wanted to get home tonight and eat Chinese food with my husband just smiled at her and said,

“Oh! Yes! Of course!”

While I was with Jeni I confided to her that I was worried about Jim and wanted him to get an Alzheimer’s test.  Now you have to know my daughter. She has the most expressive face if she wants to get a point across. To the rest of the world she has the best poker face.  But when those words were out of my mouth, she got ‘the look’. It is a sort of lips pursed but slightly smiling with raised eyebrows and a set jaw.  I can’t explain it. Anyway, she said,

“And I want you to get one, too.” Evidently, her nursing assessment of me left her with cause for concern.  So I told her I would get one.  “If its positive, you can start taking Aricept now,” she said.  Its a drug for Alzheimer’s.  Jim and I talked about it on the way home from the airport tonight. He thinks the months of change in our life may account for some of the symptoms Jeni sees in me.  I’m not so sure.  I keep thinking about that book of mine that I have read at least fifty times and the critical mistake I missed again and again.

My sister and I talk hourly about pour-over wills and trusts, things we have to do to make preparation for our death.  I think of the diaries and journals I have laying around here.  Do I really want my kids to read that stuff after I go?  I need to go through my drawers and throw away any ratty underpants so that someday, my son and his wife don’t have to do it for me.  (I may have watched too many episodes of Hoarders.)  Tonight I will lay in bed and think about Jim and I growing old together.  I told my kids once when we all lived in New Jersey and it didn’t look like any of us would ever leave, that when we got old, they didn’t have to visit us.

“Just drive by slowly and throw a bag of groceries out for us once in a while.  We’ll crawl out to the road and drag it in,” I said.    Suddenly, that isn’t so funny any more.  Jim and I don’t fly together because if anything happens, our dogs won’t be left alone.  Our kids aren’t here to check in on us.  I told my daughter today that even when Jim and I drive together in the car, I like someone to know that the dogs are in the house alone, so they won’t cannibalize themselves if we got killed.

She looked at me with that look.

White Noise

The view from our kitchen window, October 12, 2011

The weather in west Michigan is spectacular.  Here it is mid October, and we have eighty degree temps, bright blue skies and the color from the changing leaves is blinding in its beauty.  My computer is on the kitchen table, so I write here everyday at this huge window.  The view changes constantly.  I am concerned because with all my travels to and from Pennsylvania to see Jen and the baby, and to my mother’s house in mid Michigan, the birds haven’t been fed regularly and I am trying to lure them back with delicious treats.  Watching the birds has brought Jim and I so much joy since we moved here.  Jim also made the observation that some of the trees are changing color as we observe them in a day.  The bright orange one in the foreground changed from a bland brownish green to bright yellow in one day as we sat and worked at the table.

I need this lovely respite from the angst of my mother’s death and the concern over the well-being of my mentally retarded sister, Sarah.  So far, unfortunately, most of the brunt of the work has fallen on the shoulders of my sister, Liz.  She and I together work like a well-oiled machine.  But I remind her daily that I am eleven years older then she is.  I feel my age today. Another thing I must remind her is that our mother has only been dead for eight weeks.  In that short time, we have resolved most of the major issues that plague family members post death.  What is left after the scurrying and rushing is the pain of our mother’s absence.

A wonderful help has been the stories I am hearing from loving friends and family about their experiences with the death of their loved ones. The most painful are the memories concerning the loss of children.  A dear friend who lost a son twenty five years ago is on the continuum of grieving.  That does not go away.  Oh God, please, people shouldn’t have to go through that horror.  We don’t see what possible use that has in the realm of the supernatural.  Thankfully, more of the experiences have to do with those who have lived their lives fully.  But it is still not easy to go through, regardless of the age.

Another friend confided that she has been thinking about her mother a lot lately, and she has been gone for about ten years.  The last years of her pain filled life were not easy.  It may have been a blessing that she didn’t suffer. But that does not make it easier.  You can tell yourself when the unexpected moment arrives; you are standing in line at Walmart, or holding your new grandchild for the first time, or hearing about an older person living in a nursing home,it is better off this way, it was a blessing.  No offense, but that is bull.  It isn’t a blessing when someone you loved has died. I don’t care if they are one hundred years old.

The stories continue to lift me up as I reread them.  A childhood friend spent ten days at her mother’s bedside until she died peacefully on Christmas morning.  The time was spent with a niece, listening to favorite music and looking through old family photograph albums.  My friend wrote, ‘it is one of the sweetest memories of my life.  We knew, really knew, that she could hear us and that she loved having us there in her bedroom with her.  I will always be so glad that she was able to be at home and that I was with her.’  I know that my mother was aware that Liz and I were with her at the end, too.  It is one of the few certainties I have about the experience.

Drinking oneself into a stupor was the way another adult child coped with the pain of having to care for his dying mother.  There is always one child singled out in the spiritual realm who does most of the care-giving.  Why is that?  It would be so much easier if the responsibilities were spread around a little bit.  I am so grateful to Liz for being my partner at the end of my mother’s life.  How would either of us had done it alone?  Yet I keep hearing more and more that is the norm.

Today I am going to work a little in my studio. My publisher gave me an assignment I must complete today; the sequel to Pam of Babylon is coming out in a few weeks and that time before publishing is always hectic and stressful.  I want to putter around my own house.  These activities will take my mind off other, more stressful topics.  Liz and her daughter are at Micheal’s, buying screen printing supplies.  Melissa and I taught ourselves how to screen print last week.  I am drawing duck pictures on the screen and printing them on a big piece of muslin, for what use; I don’t know yet.

But all the while, the white noise will be in there; the aftermath of the death of someone who had a complicated life to say the least, and my involvement with the resolution of all the issues that come with finalizing, decision making, closure.  When my dad died twenty-five years ago at the young age of fifty-seven, a well-meaning acquaintance said, “don’t let a spirit of grief attach itself to you.” What the hell did that mean? I think it meant, “Okay, you’ve talked about it for a few days now, we are sick of hearing about it, shut up already and get over it.”  My mother has only been gone for less than two months.  I am just getting started.

Footnote: If you would like your experiences with the death of your parent or loved one included in a paper I am writing, please send me a note and I’ll send you more information about submission.

Passion Baby, Passion

Today I am up to my eyeballs in alligators.  We are leaving Wednesday for Philadelphia, where I am hosting Jennifer’s baby shower.  That is all I should have to think about.  The baby coming  is the most important chapter of our lives.  But being so far away is a true disadvantage. Jim and I haven’t seen our daughter pregnant yet, which seems so wrong.  I have wanted to go there several times, but she works, and maybe the idea of having me there, waiting for her to come home every evening might  be too much for her.

Carlos and friends of theirs have posted pictures of her.  It takes my breath away.  All I can do is say ‘Thank you! Jeni’ for not wanting me to be in the delivery room.  Oh my Lord, there is no way.  My Greek would really come out. I can see myself wailing, fainting, rolling on the floor. I repeat, No way!  She is going to call us when the doctor says ‘it’s time!’ and we will get in the RV and drive twelve hours to see her.

During this trip for the shower, my cousin Jim and his wife Cindy are staying at the house to keep watch over the sheep.  Our sheep sitter is getting married on Saturday; congratulations, Sarah!  She’ll be here when we go east for the birth.  Jen is due at the end of August, beginning of September; our plan is to stay there for as long as she needs us to stay.  I can always go back and forth to Philly, too.

Blue Coast Studio Tour is the first weekend in October, and I will have to bow out of participating in it this year.  It was a really wonderful experience being part of the tour.  It forced me to set up my studio and to have a routine of producing goods for sale as soon as we moved here.  Finding out that I no longer wanted to weave was the most intense outcome of joining the group.  I felt totally cleansed selling my weaving equipment.  Of course, I have replaced the volume of it with knitting machines that are laying dormant right now while I write my books.

What are you passionate about?  I love hearing what it takes to make my friends happy, what drives them to move forward.  Passion comes from within, I am convinced.  There is something inside each of us that blossoms when it is exposed to just the right element.  Many years ago, when Jennifer was an infant in the stroller, Jim and I went to a craft show in Howell, Michigan.   Sitting under an umbrella was a young woman, spinning on a Country Craftsman spinning wheel.  She had a big peg board display where her many lovely skeins of naturally dyed handspun were hanging.  Both Jim and I were drawn to the colorful presentation.  Ever since then, the one constant in my life has been spinning and dyeing.  I haven’t had a pair of knitting needles in my hand, or thrown a shuttle for months, but I made time to sit with friends and spin twice this week.

Passion also possibly comes from satisfaction.  If you feel you have done something worthwhile, and the outcome was positive, passion may grown from those things as well.  Anticipation may also breed passion.  Everything I have wanted to do, having children, going to nursing school, opening a knitting shop, writing a book, were all things that evoked passion in me.  Not all of them resulted in passion; I hated nursing, loathed running a knitting shop!  But getting there was so wonderful, thinking about it, planning it, hoping for it, that was worth the disappointment. I felt cheated when I realized that nursing was so much more than standing in the third position of ballet with a clipboard.  I don’t think I fully understood that people’s lives would be in my hands, that I would see doctors make horrible mistakes that would result in maiming a human being, or worse, taking their life.  And I saw nurses doing that, too.  I finally was able to take a sigh of relief this year; it has been seven years since I left nursing and I haven’t received a summons regarding testifying, or because of my own negligence.  No one sets out to hurt someone intentionally.  But the result is the same.  Oh God, I am so glad I don’t have to be a nurse anymore!  My heart definitely couldn’t take it.

So what is it that drives me now? I am excited about the baby.  He is a shadow still, but soon he will be flesh and blood.  Jim can’t even imagine him.  When he holds the baby, hears him cry, then it will be real.  What if the kid doesn’t like us? No one talks about that!  Babies have that sense, don’t they?  Please, let the baby like us.

Queen Anne’s Lace and Mullein is in bloom around here, and that always makes me want to get the dye pots out. I will do it as soon as we get back from the baby shower.  I have a couple of Kilos of silk roving and silk and cashmere blend yarn that I got from China that is calling out to me.

And my books.  They take a lot of time.  Pam of Babylon is going to be reprinted soon without the twenty or so punctuation mistakes and one misspelling.  Only one person complained about it, but I love Pam so much, I want her to have a perfect book if that is even possible.  The two sequels are in progress; Don’t You Forget About Me and Dream Lover.   I am passionate about writing, and I think it shows.