May 14th

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.


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10 Responses

  1. Kelli,
    I don’t comment nearly as much now that I use Google Reader. Seems I have subscribed to a bazillion blogs and read them super fast. However, this whole post is just so filled with awesomeness! The quilt is just unreal! Treasure! The garden just re-enforces everything that a vision board can do! The flowers! Obama!

    Thanks for continuously sharing hope!

  2. Yay for “tractor man!” And your Mom’s quilt is just gorgeous 🙂

  3. your mom’s quilt = awesome
    obama= awesome
    you and your blog= awesome

  4. Oh Kelli, I am so glad that you and your friends are not trying to till all that space with my sorry little tiller! 🙂 I am so glad that the Lord provided the way that He does best…just in time and more spectacular than you could have planned!

    BTW, I planted my okra last year about this same time and it grew so well, like 6 feet tall.

  5. What a generous heritage, making it and recording that’s just so wonderful.

    I am a bit like Jane reading blogs through RSS feed, seldom stopping by saying hi and commenting…


  6. Yeah for the tractor!!

  7. Yay for the garden and quilt as well as celebrating community and a bright future. (We’ll just agree to disagree on the Obama part…)

  8. Yes, what happened last night in Tempe was exciting, thrilling, awesome. Even people I know who are not Obama-supporters thought his speech was excellent. I think, like you, that it was beyond that 🙂 It was really a lovely experience and ASU pulled it off nicely.

    Your mom’s quilt is beautiful, what a project!

    The man showing up with the tractor reminded me of this quote, one of my favorites, by W.H. Murray, which you are probably familiar with:

    “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen events, meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!”

    I have seen and experienced this happening many times.

  9. I whish I could be there for the speech. You’re right, the man has a way with words, he always captures me.
    I can’t wait to see the quilt finished, what a beautifil ensamble! Bravo to your mom. And post the pics of the work in progress next weekend, ok?

  10. Wonderful post and your mother’s quil;t is amazingly beautiful Kelli. I see where you get your creative talent from!