About Oulipo: it’s short for “Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle”. “Un ouvroir” is a place where women met to do needlework in the old times but it suggests also more generally a place where people work together, sharing projects and techniques. Ouvroir is a deliciously old-fashioned word which, associated with “littérature”, suggests that people can meet and produce literary work as women did embroidery or lace in the past: chatting happily and having fun, I suppose. The word “Potentielle” refers to something possible in the future or about to happen.

I subscribe to a wordie email where, in part, people debate and discuss meanings and how language is anything but static. When I read this response earlier in the week, it made me smile; it is how I’d love to describe this space.

Where people work together, sharing projects and techniques:

Work it, tractor man

Garden progress!!

Like the garden’s next door neighbor, who happens to have a tractor and happened to have some extra time this week. I cannot thank that man enough. Bravo! The concrete removal, planting and labirynth planning begin this weekend. Families are ready for the earth to be prepared. I am ready for seeds to get in the ground and grow!

Un ouvroir is a place where women met to do needlework:

Mama's dear jane

Mom's dear jane quilt

My mom’s Dear Jane quilt, nearly complete. She’s worked on this for so many years, it is very exciting to see it come together. She’s submitting it to an international quilt fair. Each square, per tradition  of this quilt, has a story she’s carefully recorded. She has a book describing where she was, why she used this fabric, what was happening with our family when each one was created. Amazing, really; an heirloom I’ll cherish.

And, “The word “Potentielle” refers to something possible in the future or about to happen.”

Bringing a little Dutch home



President Obama had me enchanted last night with his speech in Tempe. It was as though a mystical cloud of optimism blanketed the city. He spoke of working as a community, celebrating character vs. celebrity and rejecting the “poverty of ambition.” Indeed. The future may hold sacrifice, hard work and discipline, but it couldn’t be brighter.