Saturday morning coffee pot post

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Photo from last Sunday

It’s almost noon. There is still snow on the ground, whittled away by a steady light rain over the last 24 hours. Everything is soggy and muddy because there is nowhere for the water to go.

I ended up with two mandatory snow days, for which I can either take vacation time, make up within 90 days, or take unpaid leave. I grouch about this policy, but I realize that a lot of people don’t have these choices. Sandy worked from home both days, and I have the type of job that could easily be done from home, but that’s not an option any more. My guess is that the Republicans who came up with this suspected that us hourly employees would be faking it. There was a time when I didn’t get any sick time, one week of vacation a year, and no holidays. I’ve also been on salary or had a job where I was expected to work 50 hours a week. Now I get lots of leave in different forms, often in lieu of a decent salary raise, but with me, I love having the freedom of being able to have time off. I know a job with good benefits when I see one, having spent most of my working life without one.

The quince chutney ended up okay. It is very tart. I went off the recipe that I found, as usual, and added dried apples, cherries, raisins, orange zest, and orange juice. The quince flavor ended up being overwhelmed by the vinegar. I froze some and I’ll add some more sugar to try to tap down that tartness.

I had forgotten why I stopped cooking quinces and only bringing them in for the lovely smell. They are harder than a winter squash to peel and dice. They cook up very soft but have a bit of a gritty texture. After peeling and chopping three of them, my hands and arms were aching so I gave the rest away.

It sure was nice to work only three days, less really, since I went in late twice. I wrapped up one project and made good headway over the worst part of another. The department newsletter should come out next week and then I will have a long winter break until Jan. 2.

Monday I will be home for at least most of the day because the electricians are coming to do the repairs and prep work for our solar panel installation. We won’t be off-grid (I wish!) but on net-metering where our solar energy production runs the meter backwards and if we need more than we produce it will switch over to Duke Energy. At least I think that is how it will work. One of the good things about this is that we needed to upgrade the wiring in the attic badly. That work is being rolled into the financing and the rebate and tax credit totals we will get next year. That money is going straight back into the loan and I plan to pay it off before the interest rate kicks in (in 18 months).

The mortgage will be paid off in about two months!

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The Singer sewing machine…hoo boy. I was NOT PLEASED when I started it up again and had the same tension problems after having it cleaned and serviced. I refer to the manual now instead of winging it, because part of it was user error. I didn’t wind the bobbin correctly or get it in the case correctly. Once I corrected that, I thought that would do the trick, but no. The thread kept slipping off the tension spring, and I was threading it correctly. After I started sewing it would slip off again and I would have to re-thread to get it right. Finally, somehow I managed to get the thread crossed as it goes into the lever that moves the needle up and down. I was sick of rethreading that needle so I decided to try it anyway. To my great joy, that mistake is keeping the thread on the tension spring and I was able to sew the rest of the strips together! Now let’s see if it continues to work. I’m going to finish putting all the pieces of the t-shirt quilt together this weekend, and I have already started doing hand-sewing, cuddled up with it on the sofa watching Mr. Robot and the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

I am determined to finish this thing, get it out of my studio, and start weaving and bookbinding again.

As you can probably tell, I am in a much better mood that I have been in the past year. Let’s hope that lasts also!

Winter Storm Diego

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Click through if you’re interested in the video.

This is the quince tree in my next door neighbor’s yard. I’ve always gathered them, for the smell if nothing else, because nobody over there ever wanted them. I hope that will continue to be true once the new owners move in. Their contractor is talking about building an addition so it would be a shame if this old quince tree was cut down. It produced a bumper crop this year.

I’m going to make some quince chutney.

When I took this video an hour ago it had snowed eleven inches and it is still snowing, with wind. Icing on top expected tonight.

Finished “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty and starting on “Close Range” by Annie Proulx, one of my favorite writers. “What Alice Forgot” was pretty good. I was impatient with the first half. Everything came together and the characters became much more complex in the second half. I believe that was the point – how people see things differently from their own perspective, how people change in response to stress, how communication can break down when you’re too wrapped up in your own drama to understand that others are dealing with problems too. I’m childless by choice, so I didn’t relate to the whole infertility and busy soccer mom thing, but I did relate to how people deal with mental illness and grief on their own. I know how it is to lose a good friend. I know how it is to be dumped, or ignored because others are busy or don’t understand how to deal with you. I know how it is to be the person who dumps others because she can’t handle everything that is happening to herself and being with others is exhausting. So in the end, I recommend this book, even though I skipped parts of the first half.

Woodstove going, and we still have power.

Waiting for Diego

“But, Ma, I’m right here.”

This winter storm that is on the way has been named Diego.

We have firewood brought in for the woodstove and are stocked with food, etc. We found the game that I’ve been looking for at thrift shops, Sequence, for $5.95 so if we lose power we will be entertained. Plus we only have about a thousand books in this house. Not kidding. It may be well over 1,000. We don’t have the equipment to deal with these storms efficiently in the South, but we have always been pretty lucky living here between UNCG and downtown. And my sewing machine has been cleaned and serviced.

I cut my therapist loose for the holidays and maybe for much longer after that. My depression has lifted, yay! In fact, I was in such a good mood on Thursday that she asked me if I was manic. I’m not. She just has never seen me in a great mood. Coming out of the hole will definitely do that to me. You should have seen me after I went on meds back in 2001. I scared some of my friends because I was so happy to feel what “normal” is like for the first time. I was turned on at the Triangle Book Arts party on Sunday night and you would never have guessed that I am an introvert. A little less energized at the two parties last night, but that’s because I need a recharge by Friday. However, Sandy and I did get on the dance floor a few times at his work party.

I hope that this storm is not as bad as predicted because I have been put on stand-by to pet sit for my neighbor if their petsitter can’t get to their house. These elderly dogs pee in the house anyway so I doubt that I’ll be able to get them to pee and poop outside in an ice storm. It will be a mess, for sure. I hope to be all holed up in my house and cozy, watching the storm from the window. It would be nice if I don’t have to work on Monday and Tuesday. Sandy is already planning to work from home on Monday.

I’ll do some cooking today and maybe sew and weave this weekend? Recharge, for certain.

Updates later.

Email to the Triangle Book Arts group

(Posting the email below since I think it got blocked as spam to the Triangle Book Arts group. So many links, and it would be a shame to waste the work in putting it together! Anyway, some others might find it interesting too.)

Hi everybody,

I came home from the TBA Holiday Party so happy, and believe it or not I am NOT a party person so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

A lot of you were interested in the three books that I brought. Each was constructed in a workshop and I promised to send information about those workshop teachers. I am an art retreat addict, which is why I still drive a 1996 Chevrolet.

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Leslie Marsh is a book artist and natural dyer who lives on Topsail Island. She teaches workshops all over the country, and now she lives here in NC! Her website is http://www.leslie-marsh.com/. I plan to take the Ancient Wisdom II class March 8-10.

The book with the leaf and indigo printed pages is from her Zhen Xian Bao workshop that I took in June this past year. Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote about it:
https://slowlysheturned.net/2018/06/12/zhen-xian-bao-by-the-sea/.

Ruth Smith did the research to bring this book structure to the States. A link to a PDF about the structure is here:

http://www.foldingdidactics.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/zhen_xian_beyo.pdf

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I took another class in this structure at Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove, Oregon. This book arts conference is held in late June every two years. For its scope and quality it is one of the least expensive art retreats out there and well worth the trip. Here is a link to FOBA and a link to my blog posts about classes there:

https://focusonbookarts.org/

https://slowlysheturned.net/category/focus-on-book-arts/
(Keep scrolling for the posts about the actual classes I took. But Forest Grove is a pretty cool little town, about a 30 minute drive west from Portland.)

I save up for and do everything I can to attend this one every time it is held. This year I hope to take at least one more class from Leighanna Light, but the calendar is not up yet. The sneak peeks are up.

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The little box/book with the tiny books inside was constructed in Sharon Payne Bolton’s “Hertel” class, part of the Stamford, Connecticut “Talk Story – Eat Cake Create” art retreat. This is another great art retreat for mixed media and book artists.

Here is the link about my experience in the class with photos of other students’ books:

https://slowlysheturned.net/2018/10/14/talk-story-eat-cake-create-art-is-you-movement-stamford-ct/

The art retreat info: https://www.eatcakecreate.com/ which should be updated for 2019 soon.

Sharon’s workshops: https://www.sharonpaynebolton.com/workshops-in-the-works-coming-soon

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The deck of painted playing cards was painted in the 52 Card Pick-up workshop by Seth Apter and it was held here in Greensboro back in February. He also is a educator for Eat Cake Create art retreat and holds workshops in smaller venues all over the country. Helluva nice guy, too.

My thoughts, with a lot of other personal journaling you might want to skip:
https://slowlysheturned.net/2018/02/10/saturday-morning-coffee-pot-post-96/

Seth’s web site: http://www.sethapter.com/

All these instructors and retreats have Facebook pages.

I hope you enjoy going down these rabbit holes! Have a great wintry weather weekend!

Laurie

Saturday Morning Coffee Pot Post

The title of this blog post was almost “The Vagina Couch” but I will leave that to your imagination, since I just want to make a journal entry and get crackin’ on some studio work/play. Also have to go stand in line at the post office to send a small package to Australia if I can find a post office that still opens on Saturday. Ew. Coffee first. You might not be interested at all in this post, so here’s a heads up that you could make your exit now. “The Vagina Couch” may appear another day.

So, the Thanksgiving holiday went okay. I did not have a mental breakdown after seeing the flooding damage to the two houses, and since most of the mountains of debris had been removed from Canal Cove Road it was not the shock that it could have been. Lisa’s house is still livable with some repair to reduce or eliminate the mold, and it is not the worst kind of mold so you can go in there for short periods of time. Even though the water was above her electrical outlets, her electricity works and the appliances and HVAC, although their lives are probably shortened, work. This proved to be fortunate when the water heater at her rental house burst on Thanksgiving night and since there was no cut-off valve the water had to be turned off. We ate leftovers on paper plates and took showers and washed dishes at the Canal Cove house. The next-door neighbor to the rental house had died and the house still had its water on, so we used the hose next-door to fill the toilets.

Good practice for prepping, I’d say. It also meant that the family dinner with my brother and sister-in-law was canceled, which I did not mind because I was exhausted from trying to sleep with my husband in a double bed for two nights. My grand-nephew decided to camp with his friend in the garage at the Canal Cove house, so I slept in his bed on the last night.

Anyway, one of my first actions when I came back was to buy three collapsible BPA-free 5.3 gallon water containers for our emergency supplies here. If you do nothing else in the area of disaster planning, you need to put aside plenty of water for your drinking, cooking, and cleaning. I’ve seen different amounts recommended, but 15 gallons per person per week is the one that I think is good. I’ve been storing water for cleaning and toilet flushing in sterilized glass apple juice jugs for a while, so these will be solely for drinking and cooking. Dehydrated food doesn’t go far if you don’t have clean water.

As the fires and earthquakes out west have proven, you never know when your whole life might be disrupted in minutes. Here, the main concern would be a tornado. One touched down in April three miles from our house and did a lot of damage in town. If it had been bigger or closer, that could have been a serious situation for us. You need to think about not only your property getting damaged, but also the infrastructure in your area going down.

So, as we buy emergency stores I am putting some aside for a Reverse Advent box that I am filling to donate to a food pantry for people in need. I have the box outside my office at work. Most people will be leaving for the winter break by the end of next week, but it is a gentle invitation to participate. I’m working on looking outward this Christmas season.

I almost used the word “trying” but I got a comment on Facebook saying to “do, not try” for something I plan to do today. I wanted to reach out to this guy and strangle him but he had a point, albeit a very rude one. How does he know what is going on with me? I didn’t reply, although it took a lot of “trying” to not do so.

Mama’s sewing machine is giving me fits, so I either need to clean and service it myself or take it to the repair place in town. I have detailed instructions in the manual, and I never heard my mother mention taking it out for service, so I assume she did it herself since she used it a LOT. This is a 1958 metal workhorse, and it is set in a cabinet so it is not so easy to move around. I have the supplies to clean and lube it so I got no excuse except laziness and anxiety. I dread the stupidest things.

Tomorrow I get my monthly massage. I decided to forego the monthly chiropractic adjustments. The last time I went I was charged a co-pay of 50 bucks for about 2-3 minutes of work. Anything else was extra. I have come out of my depression enough to realize that the reason I felt uncomfortable with this very friendly practice was because I felt more like a customer than a patient. My chiropractor of twenty years did not make me feel that way. He moved his practice about a hour and a half away. When I need it again, I’ll either make the trip or go to another chiropractor in town that I tried and liked. He cracked my neck in a way I didn’t like and doesn’t take insurance, but I can tell him NOT to crack my neck, and his fee is reasonable, especially since he gives you a vigorous massage to loosen up your muscles first. I need that, and I’m not paying extra for it.

However, I am feeling so much better physically and mentally. Such a relief to be over this extended period of major depression! Still tired at night, but not fatigued and mentally decimated. Having the election, Thanksgiving, and the selection of a department head has taken a lot of weight off my mind. Not my body, though, ugh. Getting back to my top weight after too much laying around and eating whatever is easiest. At least I didn’t revert to heavy drinking. I’m “trying” to be kinder. For example, I just listened to the man and his two sons at my front door who shared a brief Bible passage about dealing with grief.

He asked to come back next week, but I politely wished them a Merry Christmas and told them that was not necessary. Learned my lesson with the Mormons a while back.

After the massage, I go to the Triangle Book Arts holiday party. I don’t have much to show other than my workshop book from Sharon’s class, but they are a great group of people and worth the drive to Durham to celebrate the holidays with. I have a couple of big ideas for art books. The trick is putting the ideas in action.

I was between projects this week so I did a lot of research and planning and booked hotel rooms for our New Mexico trip in May. It’s ON, as my cousin said! She and her husband will be joining us and we are thrilled. I’ll get in a visit with my aunt also, which I wanted to do before too long. We didn’t visit in September like we usually do. We will visit Chaco Culture National Park on the way down from Colorado, but most of our time will be based in Santa Fe and we will explore outwards from there.

Okay, gotta go. Too much going on this weekend, and I want to get some studio time in while I still have spoons.