Friday, morning walk

October 19th, 2012

When the light came up, the cup of coffee finished and correspondence completed, the sky was bathed with coral.    We headed out to the Island, the light was up and every plant, every leaf was burnished with perfect October gold.


The old trunks are among my favorite “found” forms.

The textures looking across the middle of the Island are wonderful. Color is not as intense as a week ago, but here we are, nearing the end of leaf season. With heavy wind storms the increasingly low temperatures will soon bring all the leaves down.


Right now there’s a wonderful contrast between the skeletal structures of weeds that have lost their seeds and leaves and the plants that are still hanging on.


If you look closely, you’ll see ms. Gracie, running, above, mid frame. She loves to go full tilt boogie.

Beginning my day like this with the dogs, the cycles of the seasons , keeps me focused and centered. It’s easier to come home and work, after a meditative walk.

memory on the 14th

October 14th, 2012

for Michael, who away, is still very present.

from “At Age 69”, In Search of Small Gods
poems by Jim Harrison. ©2009
“There is this circle that I walk
That I have learned to love.
I hope one day to be a spiral
but to the birds I am a circle.”
“At dawn I have birds
clearly divine messengers that I don’t understand
yet day by day feel the grace of their intentions.”


October 10th, 2012

The dogs and I went to the tree house for the weekend.

This is the view of the “Bowl”, a volcanic formation. Michael situated the treehouse for this view.

If the weather holds, we will go up again at the end of the week. It’s the last opportunity for this year, IMO, and there is much to be done, having neglected the space all Summer.

Highlights: clean air, no smoke! A wild cat screeching one night. Absolute quiet aside from the local critters. Eight inches of snow, but drivable roads in, mud driving out. ick. Crystalline skies with all the stars and satellites – no ambient light from cities, towns, ranches, roads or neighbors.

The dogs had a wonderful time.

Downside: since I’d not been there all year, there is unfinished business plus chaos caused by visits from bears. Next year I must return to a regular schedule of being there.

Despite our long absence, the gray jays  were waiting for us and our handouts. The Stellars are more dramatic looking and  a wonderful blue but more shy. No pix this time, sorry.

Gracie, at 5 months, still does not know she is a puppy rather than a big dog. She runs hard and gets tired, but is always willing to keep up with Beau or whoever. She had a fabulous weekend.

Now it’s time to write a museletter and update a few other things.

I have space for two new coaching clients if you are interested.

hope you are enjoying this dramatic changing of seasons.

September ending

September 28th, 2012

Although the hollyhocks continue to be wonderful, It seems so early for the leaves to be changing colors, for the mornings to be crisp and the afternoons warm, for the exuberance from the High School football stadium 3 blocks North, to be providing the sound track for Friday evenings.

Here it is, Fall, and moving quickly toward October first (is that Monday?). Looking back it would be very easy to say “where did it go?”. Even though I have spent most of the past 16 months in a fog, I know exactly where the time went. The year was spent dealing with unfinished business, clearing out a tool shed,  de-cluttering the house (and there is so much left to put into the loop!) and getting much needed repairs handled.



Can anyone tell me why, when we get rid of a lot of STUFF, the remaining things expand to fill the available space? It’s a mystery to me. <G>.

Autumn has always been the beginning of the most productive time of year for me: gardens done for the season, school begun, time opening up, cooler weather making it easier to stay indoors, and so forth. This year, my rhythms seem reversed. It’s uncomfortable. My intention for the next week is to reverse that, to get myself back into studio mode and a daily routine that supports the creative work. Tomorrow the computer leaves the studio space, I will begin the patching of walls from water damage (now that the roof is replaced, there is no more leaking in the studio, Hooray!) and look at all my spaces with new eyes.

Questions include: what do I want to work on, what set up would be supportive, and so forth. I am determined to rid myself of more excess, thereby creating clarity and more space.

If you are in my area and want to come by to adopt stuff that is going away, email me. We’ll make a date.

for information on Private Coaching, click here.]

about the museletter/coaching

September 26th, 2012

Huge thanks to those of you who pointed out an issue or two with my most recent museletter. Thank you!!

There is still an issue with the “opt out ” option but I will handle it manually if you contact me. Hopefully this will be resolved before the next museletter comes out.

As for the “tip jar”, that is fixed now.  Thanks and huge hugs of gratitude to those of you who are contributing to support his venture. It is important to me, and from the feedback, meaningful to some of the regular readers.

There are about 3 slots for Coaching Clients open now. Go to http://www. for info and to register.


wishing you well. laura


September 22nd, 2012

Today is the Autumnal Equinox in North America. I had my week confused (imagine that!) and thought it was yesterday. Wrong. Here we are, shifting seasons. If I sent you an equinox greeting yesterday in private mail please just consider it an early greeting <G>.

The dogs and I began our day as usual, walking the Island. Gracie (above) , at 5 months, does not know she is a puppy. She acts like and thinks like the big dogs. Sometimes they have to put her in her place, but she spends a lot of energy trying to organize games and trying to keep the larger groups sorted out. It is a Border Collie’s job: herd the sheep, even if they are other dogs or cats, or whatever. It is a lot of fun having her in the household but a challenge as well. Unlike Beau (who adopted her immediately), Gracie has no “off button”. She will run and run, and then curl up on the car seat and whimper in exhaustion until we get home. Then it’s nap time – and then it’s time to play  – more- more- more.

We have our work cut out for us here. Fortunately, she’s super smart, affectionate and motivated to please – and Beau is setting limits, which is very good. Honestly, I had only intended to foster parent her, but she has won a spot in the heart of my other 4 legged housemates and in my heart as well. Who can control love?











In the gardens, the drought tolerant plants are showing off. Sunflowers, Sedum, Cosmos are all in wonderful color now. The non-native trees are shifting color, the native trees and super hardy shrubs (lilacs for example) are holding their green. We’ve managed to get through this horrid hot Summer with little damage in my yard/gardens. Although I have been extremely moderate in my use of  it, I am grateful to have well water instead of using city water to keep everything alive.

OTOH, the Winter of 2010-11, with the sustained sub zero temperatures,  did in a number of shrubs, including the grapevines. There is serious pruning/removal of dead shrubs to do in a month or so. It’s an opportunity, I suppose, to reconsider the landscaping, to reinforce my belief in  xeriscaping. In the last month or so, I have put in new shrubs to provide additional privacy since the French Door went in: bottom line – everything new must be drought tolerant and hardy to 40 below.

This is the “Silver Lace Vine” a polygonum, my “living fence”.  (it separates the front yard from the North yard and gardens, providing privacy as well as a limit for Beau who can breathe himself over the front picket fence if a  squirrel shows itself.)

This vine comes into its own in the early fall with cascades of vanilla scented flowers. In years past it has climbed up the roof, but took a serious hit a few years back when someone decided to eliminate its support, cut it way back and so forth. I’ve spent quite a bit of time this year trimming and training it, and hope that next year it will fill in some privacy spaces. Braiding, twining the sprigs provides an interesting Winter texture. We’ll see how that goes.

Otherwise, it has been a quiet day. A few wonderful conversations with people near and dear to my heart, a nap (imagine that! I never have been good at naps) and a lot of list making and reassessing.

As we move into the new season, I have to consider where my time and energy are best invested. There are decisions to make, resolutions to follow through on and so forth.

Wherever you are in your life right now, I send you wishes for renewal as we move into Autumn.

please check out the coaching page, feel free to subscribe to the museletter, and remember that there are information pages in the right hand column of the blog page.

all best, laura


mid September

September 13th, 2012

“From time to time, to remind ourselves to relax, to be peaceful, we
may wish to set aside some time for a retreat, a day of mindfulness,
when we walk slowly, smile, drink tea with a friend, and enjoy being
together as if we are the happiest people on Earth. ”
Thich Nhat Hanh

The color are slowly shifting. It is obvious that Summer is leaving us. So much of it was too hot to enjoy; it was not a good year for the gardens and the smoke from regional fires has made getting out of town an iffy prospect.

Every morning the weather forecast includes red flag warnings and smoke alerts. Maybe this weekend I’ll venture off grid, go check on the treehouse

and remember what silence is outside the bounds of city life.

Here at home and in the office things are happening:

The new “coaching website” is up and running. Right now professional rates are fairly low. They will go up when I hit my optimal daily client limit.

There is still a lot of free content available to you in the pages section – look in the right hand column of this blog. You can expect to see some of these expanded with visual content added and for some of the info to become available as downloadable e-books. in the near future. Editing and anthologizing (not necessarily in that order G>) takes time.

Also in process is an anthology of the Museletters – I’ll keep you posted.

The musletter service is available to you at no charge, (subscribe here) but I have recently begun accepting donations to help defray the costs.     thanks for your generosity.


wishing you a fruitful harvest if you garden, whether it is out of doors, in studio , or in imagination.

all best, laura





who knows where the time goes?

August 29th, 2012

Do you remember that song? Sandy Denny, what a wonderful voice, what a beautiful song!

Last week a friend visited from out of State. On Friday we drove the Beartooth Highway, all the way up, then back down to explore Red Lodge (I lived there in the 70s and it is a charming town, just 62 miles from where I now live)

Charles Kurault referred to this highway as the most scenic of all. He was right, but driving it can be a challenge. Hairpin turns, people hugging the center line when there’s no margin for error, fast motorcycles, etc. Still, every time I have visitors from elsewhere and the road is open, we take the Day Trip. Debi B was awed and took hundreds of photos.

All these photos are credited to her. I was driving, so my camera never came out, even when we stopped <G>.


This one is for Bob! Last year, August 5, 2011,  there was snow on these rocks. Dressed in shorts and a tee, he climbed to the top. I wished we had documented that. He was not warm when he returned to the car. This formation is on Hellroaring Plateau. at approximately 14500′ elevation. The wind is constant. We began our day last year (as this year) in  Billings in the high 90s. It might have been 40 above up there.



From the highest elevations we can look down at sterling lakes. This is an example. Our disappointment this year was that the air was smoky due to fires all around the region. If you are not from here, you wouldn’t notice the haze.





And now it is the ending of August. There’s a Blue Moon on Friday and the earliest signs of seasonal shift are here. The river is very low. I will collect cottonwood roots, either this evening or early tomorrow before meeting my dog walking friend, K and her border collie.

Beau, K’s dog and ms. Gracie all do very well together as they are all herding dogs, very very smart and with similar temperaments. Gracie keeps up with the big dogs, despite her youth and size. This is an important clue. Having a border collie pup presents particular challenges. I am resolved to protect her “wiring”, to not expose her to neurotic dogs or their people, to  help her become the best dog she can be, given the absence of real sheep in her life <G>. Finding “substitute sheep” is a lot of fun <LOL>

Now it’s time to think about a museletter. Maybe later this evening, or in the morning after my walk. There are only so many words available to me at any given time <G>. The concept of writing ahead of time and scheduling ahead of time just does not fit for me. Maybe some day.

***Big and important news flash: There is a lot of demand for the Coaching I am currently offering. The fee as  listed under “coaching” on the side bar to the right will change as of September 3. Registration before then will be honored at the current price.

Beginning the 4th, fees will go up. At that point I will offer a discount for committing to a 3 month plan instead of month to month. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, go make something or weed in the gardens, or sit and watch the sky.

Fill your well.


thanks for visiting!


this was NOT supposed to happen

August 21st, 2012

For the last week or more, one of my dog walking buddies had been telling me about a 4 month old pup her daughter was trying to find a home for. One of a litter of Border Collies, discovered under an abandoned trailer house. The mama and the pups were adopted out. This young female went to a rancher. He didn’t like dogs. Then she went to a young family for a while. They moved and left her behind. Then she went someplace else but after a “welfare check”, my friends’ daughter discovered the pup was being left alone, on a chain with no shelter etc. She has a dog, her DH said absolutely no more and she was desperate to find a home. Well, that did it for me.

I offered to foster the pup, get her healthy and started on her training and then through my wide circle of groomers, trainers and other excellent dog people, find her a forever home.

They brought her over this morning. Within 5 minutes, Beau had brought her toys, dug up bones for her and in general, adopted her. He has always been good with puppies.

Within an hour, mz. Ella had greeted her, no issue. Not much later, mr. Otis, who is generally shy and unaccepting of changes in the household, had also made her welcome.
She came to us with no name, but now answers to “Gracie”. She sits, waits, understands “down” and can walk on a leash. So far she appears to be bright, inquisitive, alert, doesn’t bark and has good manners. Beau is delighted. I am amused.

Tomorrow we will walk the Island and begin the socialization process. I expect it to go smoothly.

Absolutely no housework was accomplished today and I fear it will be minimal the next few days. A friend is coming to visit, I hope she finds this as amusing and entertaining as my cats, Beau and I do.



“the new normal”

August 19th, 2012

We had a stunning walk this morning, saw white pelicans for only the second time this year. They breed on the Yellowstone but Winter on the Gulf. I have the sense (unsubstantiated) that their population was hit hard by the oils spill a couple of years ago. I know the blackbird populations were. I hope they recover. We watched a Kingfisher working a side channel. It was cool and clear, a welcome change from the unrelenting heat of the Summer.

We’ll get up to 85 this afternoon, perfect!
As a result of this lovely weather, the new shrubs are in and settling well. I chose for toughness (sub 30) and drought tolerance, as well as for height to provide privacy . The french door opens up the house in some unexpected ways. Grasses and weeds getting pulled. At some time I’ll have to tackle the inside work but am in no hurry. The studio repairs are getting worked on a little at a time. Mostly they have to wait for a helper to be available.

I am honored by the great response to my opening the Coaching Practice again and the greater interest in  the subset, “Women in Transition”.

I can only work with so many individuals at a time. If you are interested, let me know!

meanwhile, go make something, collect interesting textures or just sit in the sun, reflecting.


As a reminder, in my sidebar, you will find various pages with technical information. Let me know if you have questions or would like more of these pages. What materials might you be unfamiliar with but wanting to try> Perhaps i can help shed some light.