The Swing vs. The Squares

comments: 118

Work1 Hello again. Flowers. Papers. Work. I made chicken with biscuits, too. Trying to get back in the swing. When life's nice, there's a gentle swing. When it's hard, it's one foot in front of the other. Step step step. I think that's called losing your mojo. I've been there before. I've done this before.

I was alone in the house all weekend, my first weekend alone. It was quiet. I pulled the dining-room table into the living room by myself so I could turn on the TV while I worked because it was so quiet. I worked on all the illustrations for the book and I did really enjoy that. I drew running stitches and mitered corners and French knots with a really nice black pen on smooth white paper and everything looked beautiful. It felt good to have it go well. I must say that I was shocked. When I looked at all the drawings at the end of the night, I almost couldn't believe that I'd done them. I forgot that I can actually draw. It's not me, it's genetic. Mostly I was amazed that it was possible for me to get something right when everything feels so suddenly wrong. I kept looking at the drawings over and over again, trying to feel confident again. You did those, I said to myself, and they came out fine. Step step step. Bird by bird.

Biscuits1 I miss my old life, the one where Audrey sat beside me while I worked, where she dropped her head hard on my foot and looked up at me, pushing against my ankle in a way that actually hurt. She could not be denied, and I wouldn't. If I was cooking in the kitchen, she could see me from her bed. We looked at each other a million times a day — doing okay, you? Doing okay, thanks. Eventually she'd come into the kitchen and snuffle up the minced onions that had fallen on the floor and spit them back out. I have totally noticed how dirty the kitchen floor has gotten without my little dustbuster, and I had to laugh at that. 

Biscuits2 When I was growing up, my father was a working musician by night and a commercial artist by day. For many years, he drew pictures for the Sears catalog. He and my mom met in their early twenties when they both took a drawing class at the Art Institute in Chicago. He was a tough critic. He did not like "sketchy" lines, the ones that are sort of wispy and sketchy, hairy lines, so I learned never to use those, and I still don't. I liked to draw those things where you enlarge a picture on a grid, drawing each square for itself alone. There was one I did of a Durer rabbit — it was like a puzzle. They chopped it up and gave you all the squares, all mixed up, and you drew them one by one in the right places, waiting to see what it was going to be. There's something to be said for the method. I remember I'd left the rabbit drawing by my dad's chair when I was done, and the next morning I woke up and went to look at it again and he'd written "Good. —Dad" at the top with a marker. I'm just going to work on my little squares and see how it all turns out.


Oh Alicia, I wish I could hug you. :O)

It's hard I know.

I feel that way with my cat Speedy, we are always hanging with each other, and the are you okay thing.

I can't wait to see your drawings in the book! I love drawing too. Haven't done it in a very long time, I should do that.

Hang in there, you're doing good.

Jacky Gabriele says: August 28, 2007 at 05:33 PM

I can totally relate to the dirty kitchen floor, it's those little things that make you miss them. I am hoping my kitchen floor will be clean again soon, we got our new baby Max last week. After a very long, lonely, quiet, 6 months. Thoughts are with you.

if it is any comfort, I think you are an amazing writer. you make blogging a true form of art.

also, now I want those delicious biscuits.

I think the pillow idea is wonderful. An Audrey Pillow to hug and hold. We are all holding you and Andy in our hearts.
I had an artist for a Dad, and he passed that bug to me. He never embraced it as a gift, but I have and it was the best thing he ever did for me.

I enjoyed walking with you on your memory lane. I hope the pain heals in time, it's not easy losing a pet..especially the extremely loyal kind! Oh, and she eats onion? Bad accident in doggy world. :)

Psst...psst...recipe...pretty please!

Yep, I have to agree with someone else's comment.... I am sure Audrey was still right there with you while you were making your little heart biscuits....

i'm always amazed how you correlate something that happened to you years ago to experiences you're having now.

Shortly after your post about your sweet Audrey passing I ended up going through the same with my Marley. Marley was 15.5 yrs old so we knew the day would be coming, still can't get over how hard it is.

Your post brought me to tears again. I too work from home and it's so lonely without him by my side. I turn the t.v. on for noise. When I cook there is no Marley there to stare up at me, waiting for me to drop something for him to lick up.

I miss that ol' sticky dog so much.

My heart goes out for you. Hang in there…

Marley's post:

Hang in there... we're all here for you... step by step. (((hugs)))(delicious looking yummies, by the way hee hee)

My Peso and I are thinking about you. I love him...simply that. He's so special to us..I know the feelings...they go so deep. Thanks for sharing yours!

I look very forward to the book..I'll be in line for that..and another one who would love both the chicken & dumplins and biscuit recipe too...

I feel a bit like we are inhabiting a parallel universe right now. I find your words comforting, letting me know I’m not alone.

I’m crying right along with you in public. The stillness in our house is deafening after losing our beloved Burley the beginning of the month.

On the spur of the moment, we took a trip up the coast. A mad dash to escape the pain. What's that saying about "wherever you go, there you are" ... even the weather fit our sad hearts, gray, gloomy and damp.

Our other poochie delighted in all the walkies and glimpses of seals and squirrels, and all the wonderful smelly smells along the trails and beaches.

Life moves along but we don't feel much up to the task around here. One foot in front of the other, slowly, gently.

Sending you and Andy and the kitty folks, lots of hugs.

Oh! and what are those yummy biscuits?!

Hi Alicia,

I think those are the prettiest chicken and biscuits I've ever seen. Won't you make a cookbook someday with all your pretty photos? Think about it.


just wanted to let you know that I was inspired by your yummy food pictures and made my own yummy chicken stew (actually I used herb n sage turkey sausages.. yum!) with cheesy tea biscuits! very yummy! thanks!!

Stephanie says: August 30, 2007 at 06:47 AM

Your words are just simply gorgeous. The way that you express yourself is so heartfelt, there are times I read your blog and feel myself tearing up. I was reading and getting along fine, thinking oh good, she's feeling a bit better and then oof, Audrey's name. I have to admit, with an allergy to many dogs, I am not a professed dog lover, but I have found myself thinking long and hard about your little pup. I can understand how you miss her. Being a cat person, I lost my own kitty many years ago..and it is just those little obscure moments, when you know that they are looking at you, watching you...wondering what on earth you are up to, and wouldn't you like to sit down next to me on the couch that I miss the most. My heart sends you a special hug. Off to cry.
On a side truly are one one of the fanciest chefs I, the meals you whip up...I second the cookbook idea! I can just picture it with your little old fashioned drawings and your "coziness".

When I read your blog I slow down. You remind me to take time to sense things around me. To live. I know you miss your Audrey, but you are still living and writing with such a presence and an appreciation for life. Your book is going to be fabulous! Fabulous!

Glad to know there is someone else out there who feels similarly about Jeff Tweedy. I'm sure we are the only two.

Was visiting the website of kennel Blåtiran- a swedish corgi breeder. Found this picture of a pup named Charlie, couldn't help to think of Audrey and here beautiful face :)

Hi Alicia,

Just another reader longing for those yummy recipes : )

I'm so sorry about your Audrey. Folks dont realize just how hard it is to lose a beloved pet till it happens, and it really hurts : (



Hi there!

Could you send a recipe for the chicken and biscuits? Thanks!

Loved the look of the dough! :0)

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at