depression/anxiety, Obsession, whatever

Self therapy session redux

These are some random thoughts around the theme of connection, which has been on my mind very much lately. Expect some curmudgeon-ish talk.

Last night I went to our Tiny Pricks Project gathering, and I was thirty years older than the other three women there. I enjoyed it thoroughly. There was even a baby photo and conversation about teething. And that put my thoughts to work: my angst right now is as much about aging as anything else.

For most of my life I have been the youngest in the crowd. I was a late-in-life surprise baby and my siblings are 8-9 years older than me. I dated boys and men who were older. I married a man who is nine years older than me. I have always preferred the company of older people. So here I am and my friends are increasingly younger. I feel the generation gap. The graduate students often see me as a mother or grandmother figure. Of course their experiences and concerns are different from mine, and if I let myself, I can enjoy listening to them and learn from that, and I will have to get over being shocked if they aren’t familiar with 70s bands and didn’t live in a pre-Internet world and have a definition of sexism that is far more sensitive than the blatant sexism and harassment I experienced. I am not the youngest in the crowd any more. OK Boomer!

I will probably never understand the obsession of some people with being connected to other people constantly on their phones. What’s with the earbuds that are permanent installations on some heads? When I worked for a call center I couldn’t wait to get off the phone so I can’t imagine being wired in during my personal life. Often I don’t answer the phone. If it’s important, they can leave a message or text or email. I don’t get helicopter parenting. It’s funny how those parents don’t see themselves that way. It is such a different world than the one in which I grew up.

My first forty years were cell phone free and somehow we managed not being constantly connected to everybody else. I resisted getting a smart phone until a few years ago and my main reason in finally getting one was for GPS and being able to upload photos. My other influence is my mother, who was more than willing to let her kids go and I doubt very much that we were on her mind every minute of the day. In fact, I am pretty sure that she probably went for hours not thinking about us. In return, she created three very independent adults.

Any kind of loss is very difficult for me, but I can be separated for a long time without anxiety. Friends have broken my heart much more often than lovers. About thirty years ago I decided not to chase after friends who had disengaged and let them come to me if they wished. Most of the time they didn’t, and I was better off. I recently reconnected with one of those friends.

I can also admit that I have been that friend who disengaged. And those who let me go were better off as well.

So I simply feel lost in this century with its constant distractions from what is directly in front of us. I am a victim of these distractions as much as anyone. I have to find a way back to the here and now of my life, and I need to find a way to connect with others without making myself crazy.

The joys of social media are real, and have added a positive dimension to my life that could not have come from anywhere else. Those few folks that don’t do it ask me, where do you find out about these workshops and retreats? Facebook. How did you find out about this artist? Instagram.

Where do I draw the line? Giving up Facebook and Instagram is not an option, not only because of the positive aspects, but because Facebook is part of my job.

I need to get outside more often and leave the phone and camera behind. I love photography but experiencing life through the lens of a camera or the potential shot is not fully connecting. I am very, very tired of technology right now.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, whatever, whining

Self therapy session

My recurring dream these days is that we are living in a rental condo in a very quirky wonderful community but we have forgotten to pay the rent for months and it would take all my savings and then some to pay the back rent. I am afraid of getting evicted because I love it there and often I am planting seedlings in the yard that I raised indoors, and I want to see them grow. I remind myself that in fact we live in a house that we own towards the end of each dream but it repeats itself almost every night.

Despite my absence here I am not in the hole. Lately I feel a bit like I am bobbing up and down as I float in a stream. I keep forgetting to take my meds and I need to figure that out. Sleep deprivation and game addiction are problems. I lost a friend in a terrible car crash a couple of weeks ago, and that was shocking, especially because she was so vivacious and that she was convinced that humans could live far beyond their normal life spans. We had much in common. It made me think deeply about my lack of connections to people “in real life” and the opportunities I have missed by putting them off. I need to find a balance between my need for solitude and my need for in person human friendship.

Work has been busy. I am about to finish one major project and start on another. Much of my mental energy is devoted to reminding myself that this is a great job – it is the best job I ever had and the people I work with directly are fabulous. The university, however, is a frustrating place to work. Because I am fatigued it is difficult to make myself get up in the morning and go to work. When I come home at night I usually don’t feel up to doing art work or cooking dinner. I don’t know how parents manage. It’s a very good thing that we chose the childless life. I fantasize a lot about retirement and I’m only 58.

It feels as if I am living in a band of low static on a TV screen most days.

I don’t like small talk. I often come away from these kind of interactions feeling like I have talked too much or sounded idiotic and I kick myself mentally instead of sleeping. Conversation with younger women often bores me and I find myself thinking about how soon I can get away. I don’t understand a lot of cultural references because I don’t watch much TV. I don’t care about fashion. Every time a friend gets pregnant I know that I am about to lose a friend, because I am horrified about that child’s future on this planet and I don’t think that it would be appropriate to express that. When I see those baby photos, my heart breaks. My talk of cats and travel and books and art probably bores the crap out of these women. I love conversations with the graduate students and faculty and listening to their talk about history and politics. I am addicted to art retreats where I meet other people to whom I can relate.

For most of my life, I have preferred the company of men. If I hang out with male coworkers and friends, I run the risk of rumors, and although I couldn’t care less personally I realize that it is probably a bad idea. This has recently jumped into my head. Sometimes I wonder if I was young in today’s world what gender I would identify as, where I would take that realization. Sometimes I wonder where I am on the autism spectrum. Anyway, I seldom have real friendships with men outside of work any more, and I miss that.

But other days, I feel great. I probably have more friends now than my personality can support – HA! The core group (three of us) of the Tiny Pricks Project Greensboro are getting tightly bonded. The small group of women that Carol and Leslie (our friend who died) began re-extended their invitation for me to join them, and I took the day off last Thursday to do so. The problem is that they meet for lunch on Thursdays, which doesn’t work with my work schedule. However, they do other things too, like go to the beach and the mountains together. I would like to join them. Most of these women are around my age or older. My Facebook friends are eclectic, artistic, and supportive. I feel fortunate in so many ways. I am involved in Tapestry Weavers South, considering the 50+ Artists Community here in Greensboro, and I could always go back to the local fiber guild and Sierra Club.

So I am conflicted and anxious and hopeful and grateful and feeling exceedingly weird.

Thanks for coming to my self therapy session. Maybe I will share some actual news next time! I really am doing some worthwhile stuff. This weekend I will go to Topsail Beach and take a book workshop with Leslie Marsh. So there should be some photos from that next week.

fiber art, Greensboro North Carolina, political activism, Rebel stitching

Tiny Pricks Project Greensboro

A while back several news articles began circulating on Facebook that got a lot of attention from me and my fiber artist friends. They were about Diana Weymar, an artist who created The Tiny Pricks Project, who says this about how it began on her website:

On Jan. 8th, 2018 I stitched ‘I am a very stable genius’ into a piece of my grandmother’s abandoned needlework from the 1960s. When I posted it on Instagram, the response was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. Assuming he would become more presidential over time, with only the occasional ridiculous tweet, I decided to stitch one Trump quote a week. However, it quickly became a daily practice, as I tried to keep up with the outpouring of “unpresidential” text. Friends asked if I would host workshops so that they could join the project. Tiny Pricks Project has since become the largest textile Trump protest EVER with over 1100 Tiny Pricks and hundreds of participants globally. The series will go strong until Trump is out of office. The goal is to create 2020 Tiny Pricks by 2020!

One of my friends tagged a half dozen of us to see if we wanted to participate, and thus the Greensboro chapter of the Tiny Pricks Project began. We meet on Monday and Wednesday nights in a couple of different places to stitch the outrageous and surreal words of the man currently occupying the Oval Office on tea towels, doilies, and handkerchiefs that we pick up in various thrift/antique stores. One of us doesn’t stitch but has drawn and written designs for stitchers to pick up and work on. We started out at a local brewery but as fall progressed the lighting became too dim, so we now meet at our favorite local bookstore, Scuppernong’s, in downtown Greensboro on Mondays, and just moved our Wednesday night meeting to Leveneleven Brewing, a small brewpub across from the Greensboro Coliseum on Coliseum Boulevard.

We plan to do this for at least the next six weeks, after which we will have a small show of our work at Scuppernong’s before sending them to Diana Weymar for her project. You don’t have to come to the meetings to participate.

Last night we agreed that this project has been so therapeutic and fun that we will likely continue meeting as a group after the show.

Here are a few of the finished pieces. The top one is mine. If you are interested, please follow the Tiny Pricks Project Greensboro Instagram page.

coffee pot posts, tapestry, Tapestry Weavers South, weaving

Sunday Morning Coffee Pot Post

Wow. So much to write about. Guess I will do a bit of catch-up. I already wrote quite a bit on my personal Facebook page this morning and realized I should have been writing here.

I am on my phone on the front porch, where the weather is perfect. There are some clothes strung up on a line across one corner. Hopefully Diego won’t tear it down today like he did last night. I have started trying to reduce my dryer loads, and there isn’t a good place in the back yard to string a clothesline, but I am going to see if I can make one.

The Tapestry Weavers South retreat was wonderful, and it renewed my excitement in weaving again. The people in this group are such a pleasure to be around. I changed my mind at the last minute when a space came open in Connie Lippert’s wedge weave workshop and I am so glad that I did. Leslie Fesperman, the owner of the Yadkin Valley Fiber Center lent me a Schacht school loom and warp, since I did not come prepared. Leslie and Connie are AWESOME.

I ended up with a piece that I love, called “Mr. Blue Sky.” At first I was riffing off a blue jay feather that I have been using for inspiration in Jude Hill’s classes, and “Mr. Blue Sky” took over my head. I decided to let this earworm guide me. Now I have decided to do a series of work based on the earworms that, quite frankly, plague me terribly sometimes. Turning a problem into a plus.

After finishing “Mr. Blue Sky” at home, I have some warp leftover for a companion piece so I thought I would weave “Bad Moon on the Rise,” a frequent earworm for me. However it is the nature of earworms not to cooperate, so as I wove it changed to “Blackbird,” then “Moondance.” We’ll see. The earworms can influence, but once I get to a certain point they will have to step back.

Since the trip I was stung by a yellowjacket on the bottom of my foot and that misery lasted a week. Work has been busy. Butterbeans have been picked, shelled, blanched, and frozen.

I got to see BERNIE at the Greensboro Climate Strike event! I don’t talk a lot of politics here but I have wanted Bernie for president since before he ever decided to run the first time. This was a real thrill for me.

And then there is the Greensboro chapter of the Tiny Pricks Project. That will have to be another post, another time.

critters, whatever

Looking ahead

I haven’t been able to find this critter since I took this photo and I hope that it is literally hanging out in a chrysalis somewhere nearby. I believe this is a Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar.

Next week should be part bliss and part anxiety as Sandy and I are taking the week off. We’ll do a little bit of nearby traveling and other than that it will be an art staycation for me. We plan to go to Elkin, about a hour’s drive west, for the Tapestry Weavers South retreat and exhibition opening of “Point of View” at the Yadkin Valley Fiber Arts Center. We are also going to drive up to southern Virginia for a day to toodle around the Galax/Fancy Gap/Floyd area. At the end of the week the North Carolina Folk Festival will crank up in downtown Greensboro with Booker T. Jones headlining.

So far it looks like Hurricane Dorian will hit Florida instead of the Carolina coast, but as we know so well in the Southeastern US, hurricanes are unpredictable and can turn on a dime, circle back, sit over an area for days, or turn from Cat 1 to Cat 5 or vice versa within a day. Hurricane Hugo did an enormous amount of damage to Charlotte and the NC mountains even though they are a few hours inland. Flooding can be as damaging as wind. The most I would expect here is a lot of rain (knock on wood), which we’ve been getting anyway. It will be a good excuse to stay inside and weave or sew.