Sunday morning coffee pot post

arghh, I was going to write the post about my tapestry progress first, but I have, once again, lost my camera between Thursday and today. This is what happens when you live with the kind of monkey mind that I have been developing since menopause. So I’ll try again with photos later this week and do my coffee pot post, where I sweep the brain pan while I drink a little pot of coffee.

It has been crunch time at work, but generally with work that I enjoy, such as helping to put together our department class schedule and organizing the admissions process for the next cohort of history graduate students. I hope to be able to do this job until I retire. With the politicians in control over our public university system here you never know what might happen.

My six year plan is to retire from this job after I turn 60. I’ll be able to pick up 85% of my retirement plan then, and I am contributing as heavily as I can to a 403B now that the work on the house is mostly done. Sandy will be past his retirement age then. We’ll sell the house and his rental condo here and move to Western Oregon. By then Theo and Miss Lucy should have “crossed the rainbow bridge” but if not, we won’t move until they do. Diego and Pablocito will go with us if they haven’t killed each other with their antics by then. (Diego just ran headfirst into a closed door.) When we get there I hope to find another job until I reach 67 or 68. It will have to be frugal living, for sure, but we are used to that. Our health concerns (diabetes and high cholesterol) are definitely a wild card here, as are my brother and sister’s health since they are older than me, but that is the long range plan.

Sandy and I have gone on a low-carb, low-fat diet in the past few weeks, and I’ve lost about 12 pounds since last summer, about seven of those since before Christmas. Sandy was diagnosed with diabetes a few weeks ago, but it is mild enough that they are advising him to try to control it with diet and exercise. We’ll both go to a diabetes class at the end of March for a few weekly meetings. I’m going too since my glucose is on the high side and there is so much diabetes on both sides of my family. I may as well follow the same kind of diet since it can only do me good. This “diet” feels different, sort of the way I felt when I quit smoking for good. Speaking of which, I celebrated my 20th anniversary of kicking that bad-ass addiction to the curb on Feb. 10. I know that if I can do that, I can do anything in which I have an option to control. Maybe that in itself is the biggest benefit of quitting smoking.

For the short term, I am ecstatic to have many travel and tapestry plans for this year. In late April I go back to Pam Patrie’s cabin by the sea to take a three-day workshop from Susan Martin Maffei and Archie Brennan. In late May, Sandy and I will go to Cahokia, near St. Louis, a trip that we postponed last year when my mother was sick, and a bucket list item for him. In late June, I will again travel back to Cannon Beach, Oregon, this time with my friend Susanne, to rent Pam’s sweet little cabin for nine days. While we are there, Pam Patrie is having a tapestry creative retreat there so Susanne will be initiated into the Divines (HA!) and I’ll get to see the gang again, and we’ll take a class or two at Focus on Book Arts conference in Forest Grove, Oregon. We are renting a car so we plan to spend a little time exploring. Then in early August, I am taking this weaving workshop at Arrowmont, using the gift certificate that they kindly provided when I had to come home when my mother died last June. So you can see that I have a lot to look forward to this year.

Okay, coffee is gone. I’ll try to blog on my lunch hour tomorrow about the latest tapestry, which with I am very, very pleased and somewhat obsessed.

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10 years of Slowly She Turned

As much as I despise blogging on my Kindle, I could not let my 10th blogiversary go by without a post.

On Feb. 27, 2005, I began this blog by writing about my back yard garden.  I was in the Masters of Liberal Arts program at UNCG and I was focusing on sustainable food issues and voluntary simplicity. Before I started getting a fair amount of readers, I used it for therapy. I was depressed and had a panic disorder with agoraphobia, and life was a little rough. After a while I deleted most of the more personal posts, and I got tired of writing about food. I loved writing about my travels once I broke out of my agoraphobia and I love photography. Eventually I decided that there was no point in being a burned-out food blogger when so many people were doing it better, and I turned more toward recording my personal life and focusing on my art again.

I’ve always considered this blog to be a personal portal anyway. For years before that I had a website called “jazzzcat productions” where I tested out page designs and wrote whimsical stuff about the cats. At the time there were many cats in my life since we were the caretakers of a feral cat colony on this block. At that time I did some web design work and aspired to a career in Internet technology but I lost interest once it got so complicated and I found a job at UNCG that I enjoyed. I just wanted to do HTML and CSS. Anyway, this is actually about 15 years of online presence for me. Weird.

Now most of my former blog followers follow me on Facebook under my name Laurie Parham O’Neill, which I enjoy more. I don’t tweet though. I can’t quite understand it. I would do Instagram if I wasn’t one of the few First World people who do not have a smart phone. If you try to friend me on Facebook, please let me know how you know me (even it is just from reading this blog) or I won’t respond. Most of my posts are public for the first few weeks.

I do have a lot more that I want to write about, mainly my tapestry progress and my plans for the year. (!!!) But I do hate typing on this itty bitty keyboard so I will try again tomorrow when hopefully I will figure out why the keyboard on Sandy’s computer does not work.

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Hammock View

I’m wondering if I should rename it 50 Shades of Green.


This will be the most complex tapestry I’ve ever done. I’m so excited about the challenge!


This rascal is why I have to keep my loom in my closet.

diego and yarn

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Filed under art, critters, fiber art, tapestry, weaving

Weekend update – The Shannock

I spent a good part of my spare time in the last two weeks taking nearly everything off shelves in the studio, everything out of drawers, sorting items into labeled boxes, and putting it back in something that resembled order. After a couple of trips to donate unwanted stuff and a lot of trash removal I now have some actual space in my studio. I can’t tell you just how much it was worth it. I’ll do a second round of purging in another couple of months.


When I wasn’t reorganizing, I worked on warping the new Shannock loom in my bedroom closet. It is a different method than I am used to, and I love it. I measured the warp threads in double lengths on my warping board a few at a time and tied them one at a time in a lark’s head knot on the top beam. I kept the warping board in another room so I had to walk back and forth a lot – that helped my back. I did it a bit different from the instructions which told you to tie them all on first and then lay them in the raddle. I found that it was easy to lay each one in the raddle as I tied it on.

And boy, do I love that raddle! If I could afford to buy new reeds for my floor looms I would definitely get this kind of design. A heavy plastic tube runs along the top of the nails in the raddle and you can slide the tube to open and close to secure your threads in that space as you move down the raddle. Imagine a reed that you do not have to thread with a hook – you could simply drop the warp thread in from the top and slide the top bar over it. I think that they are available but I have invested all I intend to in my floor looms.


Since I took these photos I decided to ditch the heddle bars and the floor pedals. I didn’t feel like it is worth the trouble and time to thread the heddles. When I have done it in the past, I’ve ended up not using them. If my hands begin to hurt on a regular basis I can always hook them up later. I wound the warp around the top bar with some brown kraft paper and tied most of the bottom ends to the bottom warp bar before my hands gave out. Now I think that I may rewind the top bar with stiff watercolor paper instead and hope it will avoid tension problems. I measured long enough for two tapestries about 32″ tall each and some sampling. I’ve learned the hard way over the years that it is best to get the tension right as much as possible from the very beginning, and tight tension is especially needed in tapestry.


The terrible tomcats were very much interested in the whole process so I tried to distract them by building them a fort. It worked but not for long. Way too boring for them.

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Sunday morning coffee pot post

This week has been a little weird. Getting back to work the first week of spring semester is always a bit of a downer because it is an uphill slog for a couple of months. I know that at the end of the semester I will have a very light workload for a couple of months so at least I have that to look forward to.

It is also very good that it is work that I enjoy, despite the general morale problems at our university.

I am trying to pay closer attention to my diet since my cholesterol is much higher than it should be and I don’t want to have to take statins. Also trying harder to cut down on sugar, which should be easier now that the holidays are over.

My weight this morning with no clothes was 185. Ideally I’d like to get down to 155, the top of the healthy range for my height, but then none of these fabulous clothes that I bought for my new style will fit, and I am what they call a “big-boned gal” so I would love to get to 175 or 165. The main thing is to get my cholestrol down. If I can’t get rid of my double chin and cellulite then I don’t really care about the rest of it.

I spent a few years growing up with my grandmother living with us and she died of heart disease and diabetes. That worries me because I feel like I take after her more than anyone in the family, and I watched her get weaker daily. I was with her when she lost consciousness and had an afterlife experience. It was very positive and she was not so fearful of dying after that.

My father died of colon cancer which migrated to his kidneys and liver when he was 64. I’m on top of that, having had two clean colonoscopies starting at age 40.

The heart stuff worries me, though, partly because I have a history of panic attacks (as she did) and they mimic heart attacks. I always worry that I will die of a heart attack because I have mistaken it for a panic attack.

Anyway, food has been on my mind a lot. I am not an enthusiastic cook anymore although it is better now that I have a working dishwasher and a nicer kitchen to work in. I would rather be making art, for sure.

I ran into Susan on Friday and she offered me three 4 x 8 plots in the UNCG community garden so that is exciting. I will be thinking differently about my gardening this year with that much sunny space and few skeeters and critters to wreck it.

Today will be fun because I’m getting close to the end of reorganizing and purging the studio, and the guild is meeting at 2 pm at Scuppernong Books this afternoon.


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