Holding feet with Pablocito.
Chunkybutt does not fit in this hole.
First, THIS article is helping me get back on track after a rather hellish month: 12 Little Known Laws of Mindfulness That Will Change Your Life.
I came back from Arrowmont with steadily worsening anxiety and physical problems, which peaked about three days ago. My pain level has gone from about an 8 to a 3 after two visits to my chiropractor and two visits to my massage therapist. I did resort to taking some pain meds left over from my mother’s stash on Thursday, but they were a kind that I’ve taken before and I cut them way down to the smallest level that still helped. Thank God the addict that worked in my house did not steal all of them. Also I made a DIY cervical collar out of a scarf.
Making all this worse was that I spent a week of clearing out my community garden plots and reduced my fall allotment to one 4×8 foot plot. They were so overgrown with cardinal climber vines over tall sunflowers and other monster mystery plants that others in the garden had staked them up and an email went out to all the gardeners (I was not the only offender, but I was one of the worst) and I got embarrassed. Sandy helped me dig up some plants to transplant into pots and the Back Forty at home, and some of the huge plants and roots. I was going to give it all up but I want to harvest my green cotton, and the director of the garden encouraged me to stay on now that I’ve gotten it down to a manageable size and state. I am very prone to being ashamed and none of this helped my mental or physical state!
However, now I feel very good about it and I planted peas and lettuce in the area that we cleared out. I have not tried planting these in late August before and it may be too hot for them to germinate. I guess that I will find out. The black compost that I mulched the bed with looks beautiful against the green plants. I didn’t do anything that strenuous and it did a lot for my soul.
I’ve gotten a great yield of butterbeans and field peas this year, enough to freeze some for this winter and Thanksgiving dinner.
Today I am taking it easy and I’ve been advised not to weave yet. I want to weave! I’m reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr on my Kindle through my local library on Overdrive. If you haven’t tried this app and you like to read, I recommend it highly. I made an account with my Greensboro Public Library card number and it is great for travel. I can get new audiobooks too, and a lot of popular audiobooks are available right away. You usually have to get in a hold line for bestsellers. My time on this one runs out today and I’ll have to get in line again to finish it.
I just finished reading Man in Profile, Joseph Mitchell of the New Yorker. I probably have written about this before, but Joseph Mitchell and I share a great-great grandfather, whatever cousin that makes us, and I did not know about his talent and international fame until after his death. None of my family did, as far as I can tell. I was told by my mother that “Cousin Joe” wrote for “some magazine up north” and that my great aunt thought that he hung the moon. When I found out that “some magazine” was the New Yorker, I started investigating and then obsessively tracked down all I could about him. His writing is brilliant and he is a native of Fairmont! Why wasn’t I taught about him in school? Why didn’t he have more publicity in his own home state, or county, or town, or even family? I feel cheated that I never got to meet him. Evidently he made many prolonged visits to Fairmont and he felt caught between the two worlds, such as I do most of the time.
We have signed a purchase contract with a buyer for Mama’s house in Marietta and Sandy and I will rent a UHaul cargo van to go down there and take some furniture to Lisa’s lake house and some back here to Greensboro. I purposely chose one that will be just big enough to hold a double bed and mattresses, a small chest of drawers, and my mother’s sewing machine. My house is too small to bring in more of her stuff, and part of the deal with the buyer is that she will finish dealing with what we leave, whether to use it or give it away or trash it. It needs to be done even though it breaks my heart. My mother spent 70 years in that house. I can’t do my part in helping to maintain it.
Work is pretty good. We have three new administrators in our department, all of whom I think that I can work well with.
I rallied enough to drive to Hickory (about 100 miles away) and back on Friday to attend the Carolinas subgroup of the Tapestry Weavers South meeting and potluck. We went to a tapestry exhibit at the Hickory Art Museum that was a collaboration between American artists and Yoruba weavers. Very, very good.
Pam has mounted my “98% Water” tapestry and I should have it in time to photograph and enter it into the American Tapestry Alliance biennial show. I am nervous about it because I feel like I am jumping into the deep end. If it doesn’t get accepted I will have to get over it and keep working on my technique.
Two weeks from now I will be in Colorado, visiting my aunt and cousin and exploring a bit on our own. So there will be another travel blog post coming up after that.
I’ll post a few photos to this post at a later time – need to go rest my neck!
At the beginning of August I spent a week at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in a class taught by Erika Hanson about nomadic weaving systems. The original idea was that the class would do outdoor site installations on campus, but the plan changed when the days were heavy with muggy 90 plus degree weather and many in the class had no weaving experience. So Erika flexed and we spent many hours in the weaving studio, with most of the students on floor looms. I knew that I couldn’t handle a floor loom for 5 days so I mostly worked on a small frame loom.
I kind of fell apart on the first day with a migraine and toothache, and I went to my upstairs room in Teacher’s Cottage, a sweet house built in 1912. I slept for several hours. When I returned to class, they had gone on a walk and the assignment was to weave a piece that evoked a place they had seen, including different pattern weaves. Since I had stared at the ceiling in a pretty funky state of mind during that time, I realized that a skewed vision of the bones of that room would be perfect for a small tapestry, so that was my major focus for the week. I’ll finish it soon.
On Thursday, I came up with a good quickie installation idea for this very dark glum place next to the Teacher’s Cottage. I was poking around outside looking for a place to hang a warp-weighted loom, and when I came to that side, I thought, “There should be a path here,” but there wasn’t. When I walked back to the corner, to my surprise there was a manmade cave opening in the rock wall with ivy falling over the entrance. It must have been a root cellar or something at one time. There were old hooks hanging in the back of it.
At first my idea revolved around weaving a banner of some kind to hang from the tree limb in front of the area as a map, or to lay on the ground as an actual path, but I realized quickly that there was not nearly enough time for that. The gardeners on campus had dumped a bunch of light green iris leaves in our studio, so I decided to plait stepping “stones” and make a path with them.
I did begin a warp weighted loom weaving just to get the idea of it. I have a recurring dream about weaving top to bottom on a loom and when I saw that this was going to be a Scandinavian type loom I got very excited. Later when the weather gets cooler I plan to play with this on my front porch.
Our class did incredible work for beginning weavers. I was stunned by the quality of it. One student wove a net for the ping pong table in the student lounge.
Random notes: The FOOD, oh the FOOD at Arrowmont was SO GOOD. Downtown Gatlinburg itself is a world of redneck kitsch, and I had no real desire to explore it. (I worked at South of the Border in my high school days, and that was enough for life.) Arrowmont is a lovely oasis just behind Cooter’s Dukes of Hazzard Museum and I was wholly content to spend my entire week on campus, either in the studio, in Teacher’s Cottage, porch-sitting or gallery-gazing. The drive though the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains is gorgeous. I did drive to the east part of town to visit a grocery store and Smoky Mountain Spinnery, a very, very nice fiber arts shop that I recommend if you are in the area. If you’re interested in fine art and craft, it is definitely worth taking a look at Arrowmont’s galleries and studios and installations.
Yes, I would definitely go back.
I’ve spent so much time farting around with trying to get my laptop back into adequate working condition that the coffee is nearly gone and I have been resigned to tapping this out with two fingers on my Kindle, which I hate. I am one of the last secretaries; I prefer typing on a normal size keyboard. And…now I am back on the laptop with a mouse and so far Chrome hasn’t crashed. Crossing my fingers.
Seems like the only time I post any more is about travel. Either I’m about to travel or I’ve just come back. Pretty tough life, eh?
Anyway, this week I wrapped up my summer projects at work, mostly, and tomorrow I’m driving to Gatlinburg for a weeklong weaving workshop, which sounds fascinating in concept but I’m not so sure about how I will handle the physicality of the heat in the forecast and how my back muscles will react to nomadic weaving systems. I’ve become such a wimp since I’ve gone through menopause. I am going to take this laptop with me to check email and try very hard to stay off Facebook. I’m not taking the Kindle because of the lure of games, which I have not loaded on this machine. However, I may still blog and I might upload photos from my phone to Facebook and Instagram without reading my feed, because I need a news break in the worse way.
Arrowmont very kindly gave me a gift certificate for what I paid last summer when I had to leave as soon as I got there because of Mama’s passing. They didn’t have to do it, and I didn’t ask for it, but they did it anyway and for that reason I’m already in love with them. I couldn’t fit in another workshop last year and it was hard to fit it in this year, but I did and I upgraded to a private room in a cottage with air conditioning. So, if I can’t physically bear whatever happens in class, I am taking plenty of personal projects and To Kill a Mockingbird, which I realized that I have never read when all the hoopla came out about Harper Lee’s new book. I will probably fill up the whole damn car with my studio, but this one is all about me.
Here’s a link to the workshop description: http://www.arrowmont.org/workshops-and-classes/workshops/details/706-site-specific-weaving?xref=697.
A dilemma in the computer world is that Flickr is doubling its fee for my Pro account. Granted, they are giving me two year’s warning and that is good. However, as much as I love using Flickr I’m concerned because a) $49.95 annually is too damn much to pay for a photo storage service, and b) does this mean that they are having problems and my photos are in danger of disappearing? I know that Flickr is not used as much as it was ten years ago. I can find a free storage solution, but almost every photo I have on this site actually resides on Flickr. So much code will have to be changed if I get rid of my Flickr account! I have thousands of photos on Flickr. I feel pretty pissed off about the choice that I face.
Boy, this electronic world we live in is so much simpler, right? Now that I have a smart phone it dings and whistles and buzzes at me all the time. I love it but I feel like I’ve fallen further down the rabbit hole.
In the actual world we are selling my mother’s house. We have a buyer, who is getting it for about half of what it is worth, but she will be a good neighbor for our next door neighbor down there, who has done so much for my mother and us. I won’t be getting much out of the deal once my sister and I split the money, but it will be enough to pay off my home equity loan and do a few more repairs to our house. It has depressed me much more that I ever expected, just as the grief that I still feel about Mama’s death is surprisingly fierce and catches me off guard and sends me into tears. However much I despise the thought of living in Robeson County as an adult, Marietta was my home and I was lucky to spend my childhood there. It was a community that took care of me and allowed me to range freely and play tag with horses and build hideouts and catch tadpoles and dig through old trashpiles in the woods and climb as many trees as possible and ride my bike for miles around and my mother’s friends were incredibly patient in dealing with me, although they did report me when they saw me playing tag with a friend on our roof.
But it is time to move on. I’m lucky to have good friends here now, and it frees me up to leave the area if I choose to. I’ve read some very scary stuff about earthquakes and tsunamis expected on the Pacific Northwest coast that has rocked my anxiety world. At least in this area you get some time to get out before you get blasted by a hurricane. I’ve also considered other areas to move to, but you can’t escape climate change and so I may as well stop worrying. I do know that I will NOT consider moving anywhere hotter than here.
Time to get laundry started and start packing for my trip.
Here’s a shout-out to an old friend, a song that applies to me as well:
I didn’t do any serious weaving while we were at Pam’s. I played around with color combinations and followed along with her lessons with Susanne, which were very helpful to me too, since I never received any formal training in tapestry. I sketched an idea for another small tree tapestry and came home with many more ideas on the tree theme. I left my “98% Water” tapestry there and Pam is going to mount it for display for me – she is a very kind mentor and friend indeed. On Sunday morning, we packed up our things and waved a sad goodbye to her, with plans already percolating to come back in 2016.
We returned the Beetle to the car rental place, and they joked about charging 25 cents per pine needle stuck to the car. Then we took the train from the airport to downtown Portland, where we checked into the Crystal Hotel. Each room had been decorated with the theme of a song by a singer or band who had performed at the Crystal Ballroom. It seemed as if they knew something about our personalities. Susanne was in Gogol Bordello’s “Wonderlust King” room. I was in Silversun Pickups’ “Lazy Eye” room, with the theme of waiting, something that comes up a lot in my journaling. We loved this historic hotel in the heart of Portland.
We went to Powell’s City of Books, of course, and to Sizzle Pie for slices of pizza with names like “New Maps from Hell.” Their motto was “Death to False Pizza.”
We stood in line at Voodoo Doughnuts for incredible sugar highs.
And, what the hell is this bug that we saw on a Portland sidewalk? It was about an inch and a half long.
Then we got up at 3:30 a.m., caught a plane home, and we are here now.