Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On My Way

I'm writing this from my hotel room in Jamacia, New York, near JFK International Airport. I leave for Nairobi, Kenya in about 4 hours and I can't sleep. Nonie is curled up, hidden under her blankets in the other bed. I know she was awake most of the night, so it's good she's getting a few winks in now. We are both as excited as small little children waiting for Christmas! I want to go NOW! I probably won't have Internet where I'm going, so please check back after February 6th. I'll be posting photos and all about my adventures in East Africa. TTFN!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Into Africa"

photo circa 1928--found on
I have been reading up on Karen Blixen, the author of Out of Africa.  I have enjoyed her books greatly over the years and I understand that one of the places I'll visit while in Nairobi will be her house and museum.
"If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me"  Will the air over the plain quiver with the color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?" Out of Africa
I will be spending a very long time in airplanes, getting to Kenya and Tanzania.  A very long time.  Really, the only downside to travel, for me, is getting there and coming home.  The rest of it is bliss.
You just have to tough it out, but the older I get the harder it is to achieve that Zen-like state of suspended animation that is the best way to get from Point A to Point B.
"One does not travel by plane.  One is merely sent, like a parcel."  Karen Blixen
I found a collection of Karen Blixen quotes.  I was surprised to discover that one of my favorite quotes was hers.  I'd forgotten.
"The cure for anything is salt water  ---  sweat, tears, or the salt sea."
I am so excited about this upcoming adventure that I am practically vibrating.  I am packed (yes, the 33 pound limit has been met) and I am ready.  It seems like it'll be a month before Tuesday morning arrives.  Patience is not my strong suit.
"You know you are truly alive when you are living among lions." Out of Africa
Oh, how I yearn to be "truly alive" by Ms. Blixen's terms!  I "only" have to wait another 53 hours fifty minutes for the van to arrive to take me to the airport.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thirty-three Pounds

I am leaving on a dream holiday to Africa next week.  (I can't believe I can just say that and it's true---next week!)  I'm off to Kenya and Tanzania for three weeks, to look at lions and elephants and zebras and gazelles and giraffes and who-knows-what-else!

The only problem is the luggage weight restriction....thirty-three pounds.  I understand why---small planes, luggage traveling by truck from one game area to another.....soft sided, easily 'cramable' and not too much stuff.  I get it.  I completely understand.  I just don't know how I'm going to manage!

My camera weighs 4.4 pounds, all by itself with the long lens on it.  That's not counting the battery charger, the extra batteries or the extra  memory cards.  4.4 pounds.  Big, heavy but wonderful camera. And then I have to factor in the back up don't go on safari without a back up camera.  I know about this.  I went on a big trip once with only one camera.  And yes, you guessed it.  Camera died.  Dead, dead, dead and no possibility of replacing it where I was.  Taking travel photos is one of my biggest joys so I don't want to be without back up!

I have cut down on shampoo, toiletries, band aids, tissue, all that sort of thing.  Bare minimum.  I have a big ol' bag of medications that I have to take.  I have my journal and a teeny tiny bag of journaling supplies.  

I don't have very many clothes or undies, nothing much.

I am using a my day sack as my "purse" for this trip.  It has just the basics, those things you have to take on your person---the duffel I'll check.  My iPad (and yes, I do need to take my iPad as it takes the place of my phone and my Kindle and my computer) and the travel documents, my wallet, just what I have to have for the plane or because I truly can't get by on the trip without the item.

I've been brutal.  I've cut out ALL the extras.  I have that pesky 33 pound limit, after all.

And it all weights 33.4 pounds.


Monday, January 09, 2012

A New Beginning

I have a love/hate relationship with sewing machines.  I'm not proud of it, exactly, but it is something I have felt for most of my life.  I like to make things and while I have used a sewing machine in the past, it  usually was a painful and difficult project.  I guess this is why hand stitching appeals to me so much.

I have a wonderful collection of Japanese indigo fabrics.  I've been squirreling it away as I come across new pieces for years.  And for years the idea of doing something in a Boro style has been growing and hand stitching it.  (Boro textiles are a sort of Japanese indigo fabric patchwork done by frugal people to use, reuse and re-purpose textile scraps.)

I believe that Boro style came about when something useful was damaged, it was patched with some available scrap.  In the process these textiles became a sort of "story" and many are multi-generational textiles.  These fabrics have become quite collectible and I have been fascinated with them ever since I first stumbled upon a futon cover about ten years ago at an auction.  I love how the tiniest piece of hand-woven indigo might be used to "fix" a hole in a useful fabric, from a futon cover to a workman's coat. Many fisher men's clothing was made in this style as it becomes thick and "padded" with the addition of layers and quilting to hold it all together, and so warm clothing to be worn while fishing
woven square of various fabrics, basted onto tea-dyed backing of light weight cotton
 I have begun to create a boro-style cloth of my own, to use and reuse some of my collected Japanese indigo fabrics as well as other fabrics I have collected and/or purchased for use in this project.  I expect at some far-in-the-future date it might become a duvet cover or quilt for my bed.  What I love about it is that I am working on small pieces that will be joined together later on to form a whole, larger cloth.  So far it is all hand sewn.  (Thus avoiding the dreaded sewing machine!)  In the future I may well use a machine to connect all the parts, but this remains to be seen.  I am just working on small bits as they speak to me and I'm having a lot of fun doing so.

a woven moon, 6 inches square, hand quilted
 This is my new project for 2012.  Who knows how far I'll get or how it might develop?  I don't!  I am having fun and enjoying the process, so it's all good.

close up of a woven moon