Heading into the holidays


You know, I am NOT a holiday person. I do celebrate Buy Nothing Day and Festivus.

This year will be the first year in many that I have not spent at least part of the long Thanksgiving weekend at my mother’s house. She passed away a year and a half ago. Today was supposed to be the day that we closed on the sale of her house. I’m very attached to places (my grad mentor described me as having a great sense of place, which I never even knew was a thing) and this sale has been difficult for me, even though I knew that I’d never want to return there to live and it was too time-consuming and expensive to hang on to the house. Well, the closing didn’t go through, but I assume that it will happen soon. It’s not a lot of money but I’ll pay off my home equity loan and put the rest into my rainy day account.

At least the clearing out of the stuff is finished. There were surprises and treasures along with every piece of paper that she ever touched. We left a little over half the furniture there for the next owner to use. Much went to the thrift store that supports the Boys and Girls Home in Lake Waccamaw, which was her chosen charity. Much went to the dumpster, burn barrel, and recycling center. A lot went to used bookstores and recycled art supply stores such as Shelf Life in Greensboro and the Scrap Exchange in Durham. I brought back a lot of crystal that I will never use, and I donated about half of it to the history department to use for receptions. There’s a possibility that we might have an exhibition of her paintings at the Pecan Festival in southeastern North Carolina next year. We couldn’t get it together in time for this year when my sister was asked about it.

With the pending sale of this house there are many mixed feelings. A huge sense of relief mixed with disbelief. We have worried about and dreaded inheriting this house for years before Mama died. The dread didn’t even prepare us adequately for how many garbage bags or boxes we would need to clean out just one stuffed and overflowing closet. We would go in with the determination that we would knock out most of it many, many times, and we always vastly underestimated what needed to be done.

I do not want one of my relatives to have to do this when I am gone. I have to get myself together and my clutter and hoarded boxes of stuff OUT.

The disbelief comes in because we can’t quite process the fact that we are done. The relief won’t be complete until then. And that the only home that together my sister, brother and I have ever known will be out of our hands, although I’m sure it will not ever be out of our hearts.

But there were treasures too.


No one ever accused my daddy of being shy and unassuming.



My mother was a real looker and she knew it. This is one of the houses she grew up in. Country girl. Learned how to take care of herself and made sure that we all did too.



There’s no doubt that I have much scanning and cataloging of photos to do. There are photos going back to the mid-19th century. Unfortunately, nobody thought to write on the backs of them. Some of them are tintypes.

Anyway, I’m heading to Lake Waccamaw to have Thanksgiving with my family at my sister’s new home. I’m going to try to finish up this little weaving while I’m there, tentatively titled “Migraine Day.” The sides are a mess, so it might be a sample. This is the first time I’ve used twill and wedge weave in a tapestry. I did have a warped perspective the day I designed it.


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Back to Family and Denver Area

Denver Art Museum Textile Gallery

Denver Art Museum Textile Gallery

(This post is the final one about a trip to Colorado/Utah we took in September, written two months later, because LIFE.) After crashing big-time at my Awesome Aunt’s apartment on Thursday night, we drove to the Denver Art Museum with Aunt DeLaine to see the big tapestry exhibition there, Creative Crossroads. It spanned centuries and world cultures. I know that I took photos but they must not have turned out well because I can’t find them. My poor camera was probably worn out. The museum website can be your source for those.

Denver Art Museum Textile Gallery

Since I was there a few years ago, they opened a permanent space for fiber arts, the textile gallery, along with an education space that had terrific displays and covered just about every fiber art technique I could think of.

Denver Art Museum Textile Gallery

Denver Art Museum Textile Gallery

Denver Art Museum Textile Gallery

David Johnson was demonstrating soumak tapestry on a frame loom there. I was really happy to meet him.

soumak tapestry

David Johnson demonstrates at the Denver Art Museum

See that shimmering curtain behind me? Handwoven with a fine copper wire warp. Amazing.

Denver Art Museum Textile Gallery

Then that night, my cousin Cherie, Sandy and I went to Arvada to see the Kenny Perkins Band play at Jake’s Roadhouse. Ken is Cherie’s husband and he can really rock it. Wow.

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I left Colorado with the hat that Sandy bought for himself, but then got shy about wearing. That’s not really a problem for me anymore.

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There you have it. Another wonderful trip, and one that made us hungry to continue exploring the west and scout out the area where we would like to retire.

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Dinosaur National Monument – The Petroglyphs

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We had seen some petroglyphs at the Swelter Shelter site, but there are many more in the park. Looking at these on the east side of the Green River off Cub Creek Road, we definitely understand why this art evokes the idea of alien visits.

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The first set was easy to get to and they were so amazing I thought that they might be all on that road. But noooooo…we had some climbing to do. It was getting hot and Sandy is not that fond of cliffside heights so I decided to see how far I would get before I chickened out. But I didn’t chicken out. I yelled down at Sandy not to climb up because it was scary. He thought I said “Come up here!” So we both hung out on the cliffside with a beautiful view around us and ancient art on the cliffs around us. The trail wound up gradually and was very pretty too.

Utah 2015

Utah 2015

Utah 2015

Utah 2015

Utah 2015

There was a flute player and many lizards, painted and real, at this site, along with a ham-fisted fellow.

Utah 2015

Utah 2015

Utah 2015

Utah 2015

If only we had food and some more water and time, we would have loved to explore this area more. But in our enthusiasm, we had only eaten a couple of granola bars that day and we were getting a bit shaky.

Utah 2015

Utah 2015

Utah 2015

We drove out to see Josie Morris’ cabin, the homestead of a very interesting woman, but due to hunger and our cameras being out of juice, we headed back to Dinosaur, Colorado, ate at a little diner, and drove six hours back to Broomfield, near Denver.

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Dinosaur National Monument – The Landscape

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After leaving the quarry, we only had time to take a scenic drive up Cub Creek Road. You can see the layers undulating through the hills. The park is huge and there is much more to see, but this road was a good choice for a day trip because it had a variety of features that were historical and beautiful. The first stop was at the Swelter Shelter petroglyphs and pictographs. Petroglyphs are carved or incised into the stone. Pictographs are painted using natural pigments on the stone.

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If I go back, I’d like to hike on the trail going up into these rocks, the Sound of Silence Trail. Doesn’t that seem refreshing? On a cool day, anyway. I like quiet.

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Then we came to the Split Mountain Campground, which is where I’d definitely want to camp after taking a guided raft on the Green River through its canyons.

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Utah 2015

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Sandy was just ecstatic over this coyote that trotted along the road beside us, while I lost my mind about the semi-tame bunnies on the trail near the Quarry.

Utah 2015

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On to the main show, more petroglyphs!

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Dinosaur National Monument – The Bones

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(This post refers to a trip we took in September.) Picking only a few photos from Dinosaur National Monument is a difficult task. We got there reasonably early in the morning, and when Sandy presented his ID with his credit card to the ranger for the entry fee, he was informed that he could get a senior lifetime pass to the National Park System for $10 that covers anyone in the car with him. So THAT was the first great thing.

2015-09-17 10.31.06We headed up a little ways to the Quarry House, where a cliff with embedded bones has been preserved in a building. In the parking lot, we found that we were just in time for a ranger-led hike down Fossil Discovery Trail, in which she explained the great variations in the geology of the park. There are twenty-three different rock formations exposed in the area dating back hundreds of millions of years. This area was once a shallow sea, and we saw clam fossils and rippled stones from the water.

The heavy rains from the day before made some of the trail slippery and we were advised not to go past a certain point, but we did get to see some bones out on the trail walls. An enormous number of large dinosaurs met their watery end in a flood here. Small dinosaurs too, but mostly they were swept downstream. They are making new discoveries constantly in this park.

There’s a vertebra under that little ledge there. Most of the bone fragments are brown and heavily worn on the rock surface.

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In the Carnegie Quarry, the rock face is pretty amazing. You have to wonder what is left under there.

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Anyway, at the risk of having to turn in my nerd badge, the dinosaurs were not the most exciting part of the DNM for me. Don’t get me wrong, they were fun and if I had actually been able to find some on my own, I would have been out of control. The landscape and the petroglyphs were what made me fall in love with this place.

Next: Dinosaur National Monument – The Landscape

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