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Archive for September 11th, 2008

Frivolity, Good News, Bad News and Hope

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

tomatoplantsflowers.jpg1. First things first. I guess I need to knit more garments, you guys are wonderful. I have not had this many comments in a long while. Loving every word, thank you.
I think I do look happy in that photo, which is super cool since I seem to have many moods since the weather turned cold. It’s really great to finish something and have it work out that well.

Now the sad part. I heard on Tuesday about the deaths of two acquaintances. One day, two people. Ugh. But I will celebrate each briefly. And post photos of growing things. My tomato plants are optimists, making flowers like crazy as the weather turns chilly. I love that about tomatoes, they seem to do it every year. Grow, fruits, grow!

Here is my small attempt at honoring two people who worked and didn’t complain. Good folks who are gone now, sigh:

tomatotwogreen.jpg2. Jean Lutz was someone I met through the Mid-Michigan Knitters Guild. She volunteered with my CityKidz Knit! program at Foster Community Center the first two summers, along with Luann C.

I could not have made CityKidz happen without them. I had a LOT of kids and needed as many helpers as I could get, and they worked without complaint.

I remember we would get yarn donated in tangled messes, and then the kids would tangle it more. Jean would take that yarn home and untangle it, rewinding it by hand into center-pull balls for the kids. They thought those balls were just magical, with the yarn coming out of the middle. I thought *she* was magical for doing all that work!

Jean also volunteered at Potter Park Zoo. I know she took animals to the schools for them. I’m sure they will miss her very much over there. Good folks are worth celebrating, you know? Thanks to Jean for the work she did for me personally, and for the kids of Lansing in general.

3. Phil Wintermute was a musician in Lansing. He worked at Elderly Instruments and recorded an album under Earthwork Music’s label. I met him at his CD release party a handful of years ago, though Brian knew him before that.

His album’s name was “A Handful of Dirt.” As a happy city girl, it took me a while to understand why someone would name anything like that!

In the end, I heard the song of the same name and realized that it was about the holiness of growing things. “There is nothing so sacred as a handful of dirt” is how his lyric went.

I would always ask Phil how his garden was. We shared a love of Swiss Chard, among other things.

He was one of the most grounded, peaceful people I knew. You know, there are some people I just want to stand next to, so I can sort of get more peaceful from their vibes. Phil was one of those people.

I just wrote about Phil in the wee hours this Monday when talking about the fun at Dagwoods. I linked to his MySpace page where you can still listen to some of his songs from that album.

Phil was one half of the band “Scratch and Sniff.” It was two guys with gray hair playing mostly old time music. The other guy is Paul. The joke was: Who is Scratch and who is Sniff? The answer? Phil was “and,” and Paul was “Scratch, Sniff.” That still cracks me up. For those who knew them, it sort of fit and neither minded the joke. Here is a photo of Scratch and Sniff, Phil on left and Paul at right. I took this at Rendezvous on the Grand while they were on stage.

Here is a photo I took at Dagwoods when our friend Aki was visiting in August. The blur at left is Phil dancing with someone who I do not know. On stage is Aki at center photo and Brian at right.

4. Now the fourth thing, the hopeful thing. Kitty Donahoe, singer/songwriter once from Lansing, now from Ann Arbor, played her song “There are No Words” at the Pentagon today. The occasion was the dedication of the 9/11 memorial there. She was accompanied by two other Michigan musicians.

She won an Emmy for this song in 2002. If you want to see a web page with a video of her singing the song solo with her guitar, you can click here.

If you would like to hear an interview with Kitty, aired on WJR Detroit today while Kitty was still on the Pentagon grounds, you can go here:


I always used to say that Kitty had the most beautiful voice in Lansing. I only stopped saying that when she moved away.

And not only is her voice beautiful, but she has this natural beauty that makes me sometimes stare at her just a little too long. She’s glowingly pretty in a relaxed, Irish sort of way, and she moves beautifully. I think sometimes she wonders why I’m looking at her! I’m an artist; I don’t paint or I might like to paint her.

But that is merely skin deep, and she’s best known as a powerful songwriter, wonderful singer and performer. It is great to see that she is being honored for that, even if the occasion might be a sad one. She found words somehow, and her song has helped a lot of folks.


Now, turn your focus to these lovely tomato plants who are trying to make some fruit in spite of a chill. Poor plants, they really love hot sun and now the furnace runs in the mornings.

Maybe I will bring one plant inside again this year when the frost arrives. One time I got red tomatoes in November. That was wonderful! Talk about hopefulness. We all need a little of that sometimes!