I shared this post from the Bloggess on Facebook one year ago: I’m Not Quite Myself Right Now.

It is still the best description I have ever read about low-level depression such as mine. My depression and anxiety are controlled from wild swings by medication, but I need a stronger dose and I found that the cognitive and physical side effects of that dose are not worth it to me. I can experience joy and sadness and anger and fear at normal levels, though, and that is why I encourage people with chronic depression to give medication a try. Right now, I’m having a hard time. It is difficult to make myself do things that need to be done. I have xanax for panic attacks but haven’t needed it for a long time. I came close yesterday with two near panic attacks.

This weekend we will visit my sister at Lake Waccamaw and stay in my cousin’s house that I have blogged about for years. We have an excellent pet sitter who loves our cats and will hang out on the porch with them. I hope that the mayfly swarm will dissipate and let us spend some time outside and on the pier.

A couple of weeks ago, Susanne was marbling paper and I marbled a couple of pieces. I’d like to try marbling on fabric.

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I would have stayed to do more but I was itching to weave on my tapestry (which I haven’t done since!).

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It looks like I am not going to have a piece in the Tapestry Weavers South show. I was planning to put “98% Water” in but it probably won’t be back in time for me to change the mounting device on it and deliver it. The ATA Biennial ends tomorrow and the deadline for the TWS show is around 10 days from now. I don’t have another piece ready or available that I want to put in this show. I guess I could go fetch my work from the show at the United Congregational Church and send a smaller, older tapestry.

I’m almost finished with planting and weeding and fixing the border on the front yard garden. The south side will be sunny for a few more weeks, at least. I hope it will be sunny longer. I planted a globe artichoke, borage, Salem rosemary, foxgloves, French thyme, spearmint (in a place where I don’t mind it spreading), more hellebore seedlings that I got from my neighbors (these have purplish flowers). They may not make it but they have plenty more. I bought orange thyme and lemon thyme plants from Deep Roots today.

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Above: the before photo of the south end.

In the back I planted broccoli in one half-barrel and celery in another. I’ll wait until early May to plant the stuff that likes more heat.

There is still much to do, but we have gotten a good start on cleaning up the back forty.

The cats are in love with the front porch, but it is aggravating Theo’s allergies, so I may have to limit his time out there or take him to the vet for another shot. Right now I give him loratidine every night. His new name shall be “Snufflebutt.” Diego is “Chunkybutt.” Pablocito is “Wigglebutt.”

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Diego has become a swinger.

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Pablocito does his impression of Hello Kitty for passerby.

Okay, I have to go home and do some cleaning. It finally reached a intolerable level while we were concentrating on the outside and hanging out on the porch.

Sunday morning coffee pot post

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Whew. I am SO SORE from carrying bags of potting soil and the yard work I did yesterday. It is disheartening because it doesn’t seem like I did that much, but I guess that’s what laying around all winter will do for you.

My focus has been the front yard, although I did plant sugar snap peas, Oregon giant snow peas, Nantes carrots, and arugula in the back forty. Now that I get a little more sun on the south side of the front yard, I’m going to take advantage of it before the neighbs let their yard grow into a jungle again. I do miss their butterfly bush, though.

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Moving herbs to the south side because they are being taken over by Lenten roses. I also moved some flower bulbs (don’t know the name, will find out) and weeded a lot of the hated liriope and wild onions and ivy and other invaders. One day if I am not broke from traveling and house remodeling I’m going to hire somebody to dig out all the liriope and English ivy. The last person I asked for an estimate for cleaning out the English ivy and other vines in the back forty was the guy I hired to cut the little bit of grass and weeds we had back when neither Sandy or I could do it. He looked at it in horror, backed away without giving me a price, and I never saw him again.

I’m going to plant yarrow in the pathway since it doesn’t mind being walked on. The edge is made with fieldstone that I dug out of the beds in the Back Forty years ago. There was once a big dirt-covered mound back there that contained all kinds of crazy junk, but digging for the fieldstone was like digging for treasure.

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Anyway, I have hopes that my front yard might produce a few vegetables this year. I’m going to plant some in containers on the south side. The yoshina cherry trees have such big shallow roots that it is difficult to plant anything that needs a big hole. One huge root is heading for our house and I guess we need to cut it with a chain saw. I regret planting these trees in 2002.

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I want to get more bright colors in there, but the shadiness lends itself better to Lenten roses and hostas. I’ll plant some foxgloves and more purply foliage such as coral bells. The bloodroot I transplanted last year really took off and that was very pleasing. The Solomon’s seal is probably my favorite plant and has expanded a lot since I planted it near where the gutter empties rain from the roof several years ago.

I planted lettuce and parsley in the containers on the (what do you call that) wall next to the front steps. There has to be a architectural name for that. My brain doesn’t do words the way it used to.

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In the studio: not much. A little random sewing of scraps. I’m going back home today and weave on my tapestry on the front porch. The cats are loving it. Sandy moved Pablocito’s cat tree out there. We both spend hours reading together. This screened porch is a good addition to our lives.

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So, it’s been a pretty good week, other than a sore neck and back. My chiropractor closed his practice to teach at Duke. That’s how good he is. He treated me for twenty years. It is hard to make myself find another chiropractor but I probably need to do this for my neck before I go to the United Kingdom. It sucks not to be able to turn your neck when you’re being a tourist! But work has been satisfying and I’ve probably partied a bit too much with friends. I need to cut down on my beer drinking because I’m gaining weight again.

In books, I am totally hooked on the Poldark series by Winston Graham. I am way ahead of the TV show – at the end of the sixth book and ready to order the next three. Cornwall awaits!

Sunday afternoon La Croix sparkling water post

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Tapestry weaving on the front porch yesterday. I actually got a bit farther than this. When I go back home this afternoon, I hope to finish the blue grey part, but that also depends on working the dark part, and that might build on top of the right side, so that’s how it goes!

Sandy and I cleaned out the shed in the back and filled our city garbage and recycling bins. Most of my tobacco sticks that I used for trellising beans and peas have gotten rotten, so we’ll burn them in the fire pit. Disappointing, but it’s my own fault for being sloppy and lazy. We removed a lot of English ivy and wisteria vines, but as to be expected after a couple of years of neglect, there is much more to be done.

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I planted peas and carrots over here at the Wharton St. studio. Susanne prepared this bed last year, and it had some of the biggest longest earthworms I’ve ever seen! In the process of weeding it out, we discovered some healthy asparagus. We are going to add to this once the peas are done.

Theo is growing more frail and losing weight. He will only eat very little. The only thing he wants to eat is Greenies Hairball Control treats. So I’ve given him six on top of his canned food twice a day, but this is confusing him and he doesn’t find all of them. I give him 1/4 of a loratidine a day for his allergies, but I think that his sense of smell is gone. Of course it is all speculation. I don’t want to put him through a lot of intense medical care. Right now he enjoys being out on the front porch, but it is possible that we might make the decision to euthanize him before we go to the UK if he doesn’t start eating enough to sustain himself. I will miss him but I am not going to force feed him and I don’t want him to suffer.

I’m one of the few people in North Carolina who has not been glued to college basketball watching the last several days. North Carolina lost hosting several tournaments because of a discriminatory law the Tea Party insists is about protecting women and children in bathrooms, but which has nothing to do with bathroom safety. I’d so much rather that they protect children by providing them food to eat, good public education, and free health care, and I’ve never worried about being attacked in a bathroom, much less by a transgender woman or man pretending to be one. I just wish the state government would pay more positive attention to my rights, water, air, soil, health care and place of employment. But, hey, let’s pretend that we’re under attack from the “gay agenda” while losing all kinds of businesses who would have hired people and paid taxes here.

Anyway, the only reason many people know about Greensboro is ACC Basketball. We don’t care about pro basketball here. We don’t care much about college football. Baseball is meh, okay. But college basketball? Get out of our way.

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I’m putting this photo here because the bottom one is what Facebook chooses to show with my post.

Saint Patrick’s Day

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Thinking about Ireland. Aching for it. I wish that I had the courage to throw everything to the wind and take a chance on trying to move there. Like, NOW. This is a photo that I took on the Burren in May, 2012.

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Since I last wrote, spring came and then left.

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When this weather system came roaring through, I had cluster migraines all day. I always feel concerned for the farmers when we have these false springs.

I read “Long Quiet Highway” by Natalie Goldberg this past week. It was time for me to read something about Buddhism. Do you ever wish that you could get back a feeling that you treasured and you don’t understand why you can’t? I don’t understand why I don’t care about certain things that I once cared about. It occurred to me months ago that maybe I should get out one of my many books on Buddhism or mindfulness or simplicity but I didn’t care enough to do it until this past week. I want to care. I want to care about cooking and gardening and even watching TV and movies again. I want to feel present again. I guess this is depression. I feel so lazy and blah. Anyway, Natalie’s book is excellent and it stirred something up that needed to surface. Let’s see if I can get moving forward.

The book also made me want to go to New Mexico. I think that Sandy and I will go there in September, if we have the money.

I meant to go see Natalie at her stop at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro on Sunday, but I started making a book and that took me into a time warp and I forgot.

It was the first book I have made in many moons. I didn’t have a real plan. My sewing machine was in the shop and so I got out the denim paper that I made last spring and a piece of the recycled denim woven cloth to make a cover. A couple of scraps of old pajama pants decorate the front. This one is for me to experiment with stitching on paper. The paper is very soft so if I make another book with it I will need to reinforce the signatures where the pages are folded and stitched to the cover.

Ragged denim book

Ragged denim book

Ragged denim book

I just picked up my sewing machine and I look forward to some frustration-free sewing this weekend.

Disengaged

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I guess it was inevitable that I would get burned out on outrage. I’m still keeping up with news until I get my mojo back though. Another bad cold did not help matters, but I got over this one fairly quickly. The next major political action I intend to take is the People’s Climate Mobilization in D.C. on April 29, 2017. I’m taking Amtrak up there early in the morning and a friend will meet me there, then I’m coming back on Amtrak late that afternoon. No overnight stay this time.

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Work is busy, and a lot seems to be going on at high levels behind the scenes, which is disturbing for us who actually implement the policies. I’m grateful for my job, and I love my work. I hope that I will be able to keep it until I am at least 60 years old, when I will be able to receive most of my state pension if I leave the university. I would like to retire there, but not if I am not in the same department, which is one of the best places to work in the university. Unfortunately a lot depends on state politics here.

Craving studio time. Weekends are the only time I’ve made it over here so far this year. Right now I am weaving together more subtle checkerboard squares to mount shirt pockets on, for the blanket. Also I’m sewing random bits together to make new cloth, with no real plan on how to use them. Maybe they will go on the back of the blanket. It is curious that my passion has moved to sewing, considering the mental blocks I had to overcome. I wish very much that I could sew by hand, but at some point I accepted that my tendinitis is just not going to allow it except in very small amounts.

My problem is definitely not artist’s block now. It is time management and energy flow. I have a billion ideas. I want to get back to making paper and books again. And plant my garden. And plant a garden here at the studio house. Too many things!!!

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The weather was beautiful week before last and I moved the Shannock loom out to the front porch for one day. Looking forward to weaving on the porch more often now that I have it screened with a ceiling fan and electricity. Susanne, Marianne, and I enjoyed the porch at the studio house too.

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Registration for Focus on Book Arts opens tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. PST. Susanne and I definitely plan to go, and I think that Judy will come for part of it. This will be our third time going to this conference at Pacific University in Forest Grove. We’ll stay on campus because neither of us will have a lot of spare cash since we both are going to Europe on separate trips this spring. I have a voucher from Southwest from volunteering to give up my seat last September that will pay for my airfare or I wouldn’t even be able to consider it. The dilemma is what class(es) to take during the first three days? I know that I want Leighanna Light’s class on the weekend. I had thought to take a more technical class on leather binding for the first three days, but my heart says no. I thought about Jill Berry’s class, but I’d like to take at least one class from someone I haven’t studied (or played, depending on how you look at it!) with before. Now I’m thinking about the Chinese thread book class. That seems interesting.

Now, for your amusement, this is Diego versus the rug. Trust me, it went on much, much longer than these few seconds. Click through for the video.

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I guess the rug won this round.

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