Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw, September, 2021

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I have been enjoying a very quiet week at the lake with a friend from long ago who reconnected with me pre-pandemic. This is her first time down here and it’s been fun and relaxing. We’ve spent most of our time at the house because we are both super paranoid about, well, you know. We have spent some time outside with my family, and it’s been very good for my head. I took the kayak out for just a little ride.

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Usually I stay at the house when friends go to see the state park and what-not, but this time I gave Beck the tour around the lake. We went to the end of the state park on one side where there is an old dam that marks the beginning of the Waccamaw River. This is an area that has been fixed up with a lovely boardwalk and trails. I think that I will come back here when the reptiles are hibernating for the winter and take a walk.

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The other end of the state park has a boardwalk from the campground to a pier with a swimming area. There was a couple of families there playing. The water was very shallow and clear, and the skies were big.

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art, dyeing, fiber art, tapestry, weaving

The Lake Tapestry

I really finished this last weekend, and I was going to wait until I had it mounted and framed, or whatever display I decide on, but I couldn’t make up my mind about whether to back it in black or not, so I decided to go ahead and post it.

lake tapestry for web

Originally I was planning to name this “Lake Effects” but since it changed into a mystery place as I wove it I am renaming it after a comment my friend made: “A Place You’ve Never Been.”

99% naturally dyed silk threads for the weft and cotton seine twine for the warp. 4.75 x 6.75 inches.

What do you think? Should I use this black background and frame it? Or should I mount it to a cloth covered board with a lighter, neutral (beige or cream) color? (I can already see a cat hair, so I’ll have to re-photograph it!)

When I cut this tapestry off the loom, I also cut off a sweet little painted silk weft weaving that I began at Pam Patrie’s cabin long ago. I don’t think it can technically be called a tapestry since the weft is woven all the way across, but some people call any art fabric a tapestry. I’m a bit more picky in my labeling. I have no idea what I will name it, but it is inspired by the beach near Cannon Beach, Oregon.

painted weft tapestry for web

coffee pot posts, critters

Labor Day morning – the porch

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The snail is my souvenir from the gift shop at Trerice from our trip to Cornwall in 2017.

Pablocito being allowed to occupy the top bunk on the cat tree is a new development. Just the other day there was fur flying on the porch over it, and he did not seem to be winning.

I’ve had a good weekend, and almost finished painting the framework on the porch. According to my Facebook memories, I began this on Labor Day last year so today is a good day to finish it up. Sandy and I worked on purging and cleaning the laundry/junk/catbox room yesterday. I hope to fill up the garbage can to put on the curb on Thursday.

There’s petrichor in the air.

I used tomatoes and peppers from the container garden in my spaghetti sauce last night.

I didn’t wake up with a headache this morning.

I got a good solid night’s sleep last night.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I’ve been dealing with headaches every freaking morning this week, and today was no exception. I’m glad today was a day off because I don’t know if I would have made it to work. Wednesday morning I stayed home sick, but the other mornings I’ve managed to push through. When I get there, I am double masked except in my office with the door shut, which is where I stay 99% of the time. Not a great way to live and work, but it’s doable. It’s pure hell on my depression, though. I’m pretty sure that the headaches are my normal seasonal allergies, although stress and anxiety and depression probably contribute a lot.

Let’s see…news from this week. Work has been busy with spring semester schedule prep and entry. Hurricane Ida brought us some breezes and spittle and only one good rain storm, of  which we actually need more. It surprise pounded the northeast after traveling overland and the flooding and death toll is shocking. We took advantage of the cooling weather and ate on the patio at Cafe Europa on Tuesday evening. I’m worried that they are not going to make it. There was hardly anybody there. On Thursday evening we went over to Oden and ate mediocre food from the food truck while listening to great jazz from the music students at UNCG in their outside beer garden. So I have been out.

Last night, though, I was so depressed that I couldn’t eat or do anything. I just can’t get up the energy or motivation for anything. I spent some time on the porch reading the local paper from the past few days, played some games on my Kindle, then laid in bed trying to go to sleep. When that failed, I picked up the book “Elantris” and began it, then wandered out to the living room where Sandy was watching the old show “Stargate.” He was shocked that I hadn’t seen the movie so we watched half of that. I have to say that the young James Spader is awfully cute in that movie.

Of course, the legal events in Texas have been awful and I don’t know any women friends who are not horrified. The young people need to step up as much as they are able – our generation is getting older and we have to pass the torch to you.  Just, please, do it masked.

Depression is not sadness, it is an illness. Depression can include a lot of emotions, but mostly for me it expresses itself as a lack of happiness or motivation or hope for the future. You don’t understand it until you’ve experienced it. “Flat” is a good description. Activities or things that normally bring you joy don’t do it for you anymore. When people suggest that you get outside and garden, or walk, or do almost anything that you used to enjoy, it is difficult to impossible to motivate yourself to do it.

The fact that I am blogging is a good thing.

Sandy has expressed an interest in learning how to tie-dye, so I hauled out my box of dyes this morning. I might be playing with dyes this weekend on the porch. It’s been a while since I used Procion dyes so I’ll need to read up a bit on it. I figure I can use up a bunch of my old clothes that I’ve hoarded for dye experimentation, although his motivation is to learn a skill that he can make money at. My impulse is to dye some papers and scraps with natural dyes, but I definitely won’t let any dyepot leftovers go to waste.

My other two goals for this weekend, which take priority, is to finish the lake tapestry, which is almost there – it’s been cut off and the warp ends mainly twisted and stitched to the back. I promised myself not to post any more photos until this is done. Sandy did a drum roll when I cut it off the loom.

The other is to clean the rails on this porch and finish painting them. There’s not much left to go on this project either.

I think that it will make me feel better to actually accomplish a couple of things that have been on my to do list for a long time.

Next weekend I’ll probably check out the North Carolina Folk Festival downtown, then drive down to Lake Waccamaw and spend a week down there visiting family and having a personal retreat. I’ll have a couple of empty small tapestry looms to play with. On the last weekend I’m there, an old friend from my childhood and young adult years is going to join me. We were roommates off and on for a while and we were maid/matrons of honor at each other’s weddings. I expect that will bring my spirits up – gosh, I hope so. This blah feeling really sucks.

coffee pot posts

Sunday morning coffee pot post

The heat and humidity has finally arrived big time in North Carolina. We wait anxiously for the news of Hurricane Ida on the Gulf Coast. So many catastrophes are in motion.

I got out and did a bit of socializing this weekend. It made me nervous to do it, but I did it, because if I don’t, I create the danger of becoming agoraphobic again. Preventing it when you see the warning signs is much easier than getting it, believe me. My brain convinces me that it just feels more comfortable to stay at home, nothing to see here, move along. It’s tough when there really is danger out there that you can’t control other than masking and getting vaccinated.

This time I went to a department party outside at Oden late Friday afternoon, where we were drinking and eating so no masks. Then Sandy and I drove to Cedar Grove on Saturday afternoon and visited some friends. We spent some time inside and outside. They have a beautiful home on a lake, but they are both in precarious health situations, and I worry about unknowingly taking Co-vid 19 into their home. We didn’t wear masks because we are all vaccinated and careful.

Apparently there are a lot more breakthrough cases than reported.

When the state of the world is so fucked up that you hardly know where to turn your awareness to next, it’s pretty easy to get agoraphobic. Especially when we are lucky to have a home in a good neighborhood with power and clean water and comfy furniture and it’s paid off.

Today, however, I am staying home. The heat index is around 106 today, and there is a food truck festival downtown where a friend’s band is playing. Sandy wants to go. I am not going. Sorry, it is too damn hot.

Sandy now says that he doesn’t want to move overseas, but he wants to travel. This is disappointing, but it may be my reality.

I spent some time on Google maps and Rome2Rio and AirBNB and Booking.com this past week and it would be so tempting to go ahead and make all the reservations and buy all the travel tickets and tours but that would be too soon. I did jump on a couple of reservations that were inexpensive and cancellable that I was afraid might get away. People are making a lot of reservations for next year already.

I found a 19th century apartment in the old part of Tavira on the southern coast that I booked for five nights. It was $65 per night, plus the AirBNB service and cleaning fees, so I ended up paying less than $500 per night for a large apartment overlooking the river and town full of antiques with rave reviews. The only sticking point may be the two flights of stairs, but I showed the photos to Sandy and he said to go for it as long as we can cancel it.

Then I found a super cheap apartment near the river and downtown Porto that had excellent reviews for $34 per night plus fees, so I nabbed it for two nights.

The plan is that we’ll spend five nights in Lisbon, five nights in Porto and the north/central area, then five nights in the south. We spend the last night in Lisbon to be near the airport, then a short stay in a Dublin airport hotel to catch a nap on a short layover home. We might take a bus into Seville, Spain for one night while we are in the south. It’s not far from Tavira. From experience I suspect that we will have to take a day of rest every few days, so I’ve tried to look for places with good views.

Now I’m going to do some house cleaning and I should have some art to show in the next few days. My neighbor across the street who is a very successful painter sounds enthusiastic about including me in his next open studio sale, so I mostly need to get a few pieces finished and display ready or ready to hang. That is the hardest part – finishing! I especially tend to never finish a collage. All I have to do is drop some potential piece of material somewhere near a “finished” piece and off I go again. I have the Seth Apter embossing powders to play with now, too.

My friends in Cedar Grove gave us a lot of sweet grape tomatoes so I need to put most of them in the dehydrator. This is the first year in a long time that I have not had volunteer cherry tomatoes, and so I only bought one plant expecting the volunteers. These dehydrated tomatoes are so good in the winter when they add a big punch of flavor to sauces, soups, and chili.

Coronavirus Chronicles, Rants

Julia Sugarbaker

I love Julia Sugarbaker.

I went full Julia Sugarbaker on a housekeeping employee in the building yesterday. (At first I thought full “Karen,” but I feel sorry for the undeserving Karens of the world that got popped with this denigration of their names.) Every morning I see this man, working inside our building, with a mask hanging off his ear or on his chin, sometimes shouting at another employee on the next floor up or down the hall. Now that the semester is in full swing and the building is full of students, faculty, and staff, I decided to say something to him since obviously no one else had. Yesterday morning I walked in and he had on a plastic face shield and no mask. He said that his supervisor had told them that a face shield was enough.

Well. I tried. I explained to him that UNCG required all their employees and students to wear masks indoors, and it applies to housekeeping as well. I told him that I had two family members who are immuno-compromised so I was wearing a double mask or N-95 to work every day. He said that he understood, that he had three family members at risk. That’s when I started to lose my temper. “So you should be wearing a mask anyway!” I interrupted.

He said, “Well, everybody’s gotta do what they gotta do,” and that was exactly the response that bugs me more than anything in this world.

“No,” I said. “None of this ‘everybody’s gotta do’ stuff. We are employees at UNCG and UNCG requires us to wear masks inside. Period. It’s not a choice.” He then turned and walked into a small room with vending machines where a couple of students were seated.

I got on the elevator, and when I got off on my floor, our sweet housekeeper was wearing a face shield with her mask on her chin. I explained to her that she needs to wear her mask, and she said that she was told that the face shield was enough. I told her that was mistaken, and she wore her mask for the rest of the day.

My supervisor got on the phone and email with the higher ups in the facilities department and hopefully it has been straightened out, although I did not see the guy on the first floor this morning. I can count on our housekeeper to do what is right, as long as she is not misinformed. I think this is what makes me the maddest – that they put her in jeopardy. And the example for the students is terrible. Why some people think that rules do not apply to them baffles me. We are provided with free vaccinations, masks, sanitizer, and weekly testing on campus. We have health insurance. There’s a Walgreens one block away that gives free vaccinations. There are no excuses for our employees not to comply with the health rules here.

So I went down a “Designing Women” rabbit hole and rediscovered one of the best sitcoms of the 80s-90s.

I don’t remember what led up to this rant, but I think that they had been at a conference and there may have been a lot of gossip?

But this clip might be one of my favorites:

This is the monologue that most people remember, from very early in the series:

This one is from the pilot. This take-down comes back to bite her in the ass later on. It reminded me of a girls night out in my own life, when one of the women at our table told the guys that walked up to us, “I’m sorry, we don’t speak English.” They left very confused.

She had her times when she was wrong. This is the absolute angriest Julia rant that ever aired:

Well, this could go on all day, but here’s one I didn’t remember that is golden:

Here’s an interesting fact about Dixie Carter and proof of her brilliant acting and comedic chops: she was actually a conservative. Julia Sugarbaker was a loud and proud liberal and Dixie hated doing her political rants, but she loved to sing. Later she made a deal with the producers that for every liberal rant she had to do, she would get to sing a song on the show.

I’m not always proud of my Julia Sugarbaker moments, but I am glad that I do not have the personality to tolerate bullshit or lies, either. One time that I was glad that I had the JS gene was when I spoke before the board of directors at Deep Roots, during the dark time when they had a mean, incompetent store manager and the BOD changed the mission of the cooperative.  I was proud of that speech, and I burnt the hell out of that manager. Later the BOD finally understood what was happening to the financials and the manager was fired, only to be hired at another local coop that he ran out of business. Today, Deep Roots is strong and has a great manager who has stabilized it and set it on the path to growth again.

coffee pot posts, collage

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Note: This post began on Tuesday morning and I saved it as a draft and forgot to post it.

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I can’t say enough how much I am grateful to my sister and bro-in-law for giving us their 2007 Volvo wagon. Even though it has some wear and tear after 189K miles it is still an awesome vehicle. We are going to be good to this one, which means we are going to find a Volvo certified mechanic and/or take it to a Volvo dealer for service regularly. In the meantime, we will save for and shop for a car to replace the 2008 Honda Fit.

We drove to Chapel Hill to pick up the car and only visited with my niece very briefly. Their tabby rescue kitten, Milo, dashed out to meet me and what a cutie he is! Lisa and Tim found him in the parking lot of the strip mall in Lake Waccamaw. My niece says that he is a little psychopath and bites hard. He didn’t bite me, though. I’ve never had an issue where I had to train a kitten not to bite, at least, not more than the normal play bites. I never could get my boys to understand that they can’t flex their claws into my skin, though.

Then, even though we tried to time it so that we didn’t drive in a storm, Sandy drove the “new” car back in a bad thunderstorm with lots of water on the road. It was a little tense, but he did well. At least we drove a back road halfway home. Sure wish we could send some of this rain west.

Margaret Atwood is speaking at the auditorium close to my house, but wow, the cheapest tickets for us would be $60! I’m becoming one of those old people who bitch about how much everything costs nowadays, blah blah blah. Maybe I’ll hang out by the back door and say hey to her. I know that building pretty intimately from my theater major days.

On Saturday, I cleaned up my studio and divided the work spaces into a wet work space for glue and paint and a dry work space. I cut out the wonky endband on the book that I made in Dan’s class and added those pieces of thread to some small collages I made last year that still needed a little something. I think I’m done with the “handmade” one but the other two still bug me and maybe I’ll just paint over them and start over. I’m thinking about what I will put in the Artists Over 50 show in Greensboro next month.

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Saturday update: I watched Seth Apter do a live demo with a couple of his embossing powders on Wednesday and that inspired me to order most of them, so maybe I will experiment with them on these two collages that are too busy for me. Two of the powders create a faux-encaustic look which is really cool.

I continue to fool around with this collage, which was inspired by the lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven.” At first I was focused on “and you know sometimes words have two meanings.” But as I added to it, the line “on a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings” pushed the other line aside and it became an homage to Liz, our white parakeet who died this past year, and imagining her free. I think that I might layer some millet seeds there on the bottom where the bugs are, since those would be what Liz would prefer.

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The other news from this week, since Tuesday, is that I went back to get my injured foot checked and x-rayed and the PA who saw me doesn’t think it is broken now. The swelling went down and I was nearly painless. I told her that I could no longer wear the boot because it was causing me more harm than good. So I am no longer in the boot, but I have to be careful and remember not to bounce around as if I am healed, because I am not. I proved that right away by using the stairs this week and paying for it later in renewed pain. However, it has been good to be able to walk to work again. My hips and back need the exercise badly. I just wish that I could do more. I see my other podiatrist on Sept. 1, the one that I started with in June about my bone spur and tendinitis in the same foot.

It’s good to be on the front porch this morning, but I am terribly bored and itching to travel. Sandy was able to get a booster vac on Monday. He had tried to get in touch with his rheumatologist, but couldn’t, so when he went in to get his meds refilled, he asked the pharmacy manager about the booster shot. She looks at his meds, said that he qualified, and gave him one right then. So I am happy for him, but I am still too anxious to get out among people, and I want to be sure that I don’t carry the virus back to Tim when I see him in a few weeks. According to the new guidelines, I would be able to get a booster in mid-November if I had gotten the Pfizer or Moderna, BUT I got the J&J, which continues to be a source of frustration for me. Tim is much more frustrated because he has not been able to get the booster even though he is in chemo, but his medical situation is very complicated.

I have been working on my gratitude and my attitude, but this week has been a tough one mentally and physically, with headaches, sleep deprivation, depression, and anxiety. Therapy has been good for me. I wish that Sandy would go out and do some things without me. He needs the interaction with people. I don’t want him to eat inside restaurants yet until his booster settles in, but I feel like I am holding him back by wanting to stay home.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Listening to Nancy Griffith and the Cranberries this morning, but I won’t be on the front porch until this heat wave passes, which is supposed to happen tomorrow.

I’m closing in on two weeks of wearing this boot, and while I have no doubt that it is helping my foot heal, it is pure hell on my hip. I go see a new doctor on Tuesday to be evaluated with x-rays and maybe an MRI if they think it is needed. Not being able to take anti-inflammatory meds has made a difference in my pain level. I don’t know what to do – I feel like I need exercise, but even normal movement after a couple of days leaves me with hip pain. The boot is not as hot as I thought it might be, though, and I found a couple of old Danskos that level up my left foot to nearly the same height. I’m glad I didn’t purge them.

Yard guy is supposed to be here soon – thank God I got that lined up before all this happened.

I hope that Sandy will feel up to driving to Chapel Hill to exchange my sister’s 2012 Volvo, which they want to keep, for their 2007 Volvo, which they are giving to me. I am pretty excited about owning a Volvo. Even a 14 year old Volvo will be the nicest car I’ve ever had. We will use the money that we would have used for car payments to keep it maintained. Plus if I continue to have to wear this damn boot I want automatic transmission so I can try to drive with my left foot if I need to go somewhere. Sandy has been my chauffeur.

We mailed the notarized title to the Chevy to the auto shop in Holly Ridge on Monday and I’ve yet to hear that they have received it. This is annoying.

I’m worried about Sandy. His spirits seem really low and he usually doesn’t complain when he is in pain. He did say that his back suddenly stopped hurting the other day, but now he seems to be sleeping much of the time.

We rewatched “Master and Commander” last night. Normally I don’t care for war movies but what a great movie that was.

I can’t seem to get into reading anything right now. I’m back to the game obsession. The world is a terrifying place and it keeps my mind in check.

At work, we ended up having our new grad student orientation on Zoom and we didn’t have the party afterwards, since the plan had been to have it outside at Oden Brewing’s beer garden. The heat index was at 100 degrees so that didn’t seem like a good idea.

I’m getting a bit stir-crazy but at least I got in a couple of fun art workshops this summer.

The news that Sandy is authorized to get a booster was very good. My brother-in-law will qualify also. Our department head had a breakthrough infection and was sick for several days. He came into work, masked, because he assumed that it was allergies, as most of us do. His son was positive, but his wife and daughter were negative. Our office manager’s husband also had a breakthrough infection and nine of his unvaccinated co-workers were sick. One is not expected to make it. She and her daughter did not get sick, and she got the J&J vaccine also. Another co-worker with two toddlers was alarmed and took home tests, and she and her wife got false positives that scared them to death. She had given me a ride home one day, although we were masked. I am glad that no home tests are in stock at area Walgreens right now because they are not accurate.

So I have had two negative Covid-19 tests in the week since I came back from the beach!

Mask mandates are in effect again in our county and at my workplace. No working from home again for me, though. I have to go into the office, but I can isolate myself pretty well.

Oh, and there was a young grey fox in my backyard! I was sitting on my front porch and heard my across the street neighbor shout that he saw a fox running back there. So I went back and there it was, standing in the same space that goes under the back building where I used to see the groundhogs, staring at me. I talked to it and it remained there for several seconds. What a rush! I hope they have taken up residence here.

Uncategorized

the latest

I’m not as upset as you might think.

First: The foot is a literal pain but it is small potatoes compared to what others in my family are going through right now. I’m beginning to adjust to walking with the boot so that my hip and hamstring doesn’t hurt.

I thought I was doing really well this weekend and made time for rest, but also cleaned under my bed, did laundry, went grocery shopping, cooked a lot, picked figs, and cooked the figs with orange zest, honey, and lemon juice into a sauce. I can’t call it jam or preserves because it’s not thick enough, but it is delicious.

I mean, this boot was made for walking, right? Getting some things done around here was rejuvenating, and once I took it off to go to bed, I didn’t go through the motions of putting it back on when I got up to brush my teeth or go to the bathroom or get something from the kitchen. I noticed that my swelling had gone down and I thought maybe this injury is not as bad as they thought.

But last night my foot hurt really bad in a different place, and the Achilles tendinitis started kicking back in. I was taken off anti-inflammatory meds because they inhibit bone healing, and instead I have to take acetaminophen for pain, which is not doing the job. So I put the boot back on to sleep in, and managed to get a few hours of shuteye. During which I had one of the most horrifying nightmares of my life!

So today, I worked from home with my foot firmly in the boot. Sandy drove me up to my credit union where I got the title for the Chevy notarized and ready to be mailed to the auto shop which basically bought my car for the amount that I would have owed them for the work already done. I am being good and I’ll try to go back to the office tomorrow. This is a busy work week.

The second development: my sister and brother-in-law are giving me their 2007 Volvo. They said that it was a solid car, but they don’t need it and were planning to donate it. She won’t sell it to me, although we have offered. I am grateful for it and for once I am going to accept this gift without guilt. We will take good care of this one, and take it to another auto shop that specializes in European cars. We still have their 2012 Volvo in our driveway so at some point in the next week or so we will drive it to their house and swap it for the 2007 model.

The third development: I rebooked our plane tickets to Ireland for May 2022. I didn’t lose a whole lot on canceling the AirBNBs because I was careful to pick ones with liberal cancellation policies. The Southwest tickets from Raleigh to Boston are easy – they just give you the credit back. Aer Lingus and Orbitz were surprisingly easy and quick, although I paid a little extra. Those are round trip from Boston to Dublin. The only fly in the ointment is from Dublin to Lisbon on TAP Airlines, who apparently does not give a flying fuck about customer service, and is impossible to contact. When I tried to rebook on the TAP site, it only gave me upgraded options at more than double what we originally paid. So that’s an issue. I’ve filed complaints, since that is my only option of communication. I’ve noticed many complaints on their social media accounts.

Our plan is to do most of this trip in Portugal this time, since that is Sandy’s dream trip that he’s wanted to do for several years and I kept promising, next time, next time, next time. I am enthusiastic about it too. Two weeks there will give us more time to explore areas beyond Lisbon. The train system looks to be cheap and widespread. I am working on learning some basic European Portuguese, which is NOT an easy language, but in the urban areas it is easy to get by with English.

This is actually a relief. I am done worrying about whether to do it or not. It is done.

art, book arts

Painted Papyrus Book Workshop

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20210731_132327_0720210801_162246The reason I was at the beach: Dan Essig‘s rescheduled Painted Papyrus Book workshop at the home of Leslie Marsh in Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

We made two books: one with the papyrus showing on the cover, which is finished and I’m happy with, and one with the papyrus as a base.  We covered the one with papyrus as a base with crumpled Cave paper, then painted with several layers of milk paint, then sanded or rubbed off top layers in places, then buffed it with shoe polish. The smell reminded me of my daddy on Sunday mornings.

I didn’t finish the second one because I was NOT happy with the endband binding. It was a hard technique to learn anyway and then I was having vision problems. I’m going to take what I did out now that I got the hang of it toward the end and redo the bottom, add the endband at the top, then glue and stitch the covers together.

Of course, since it is Dan’s workshop, we received pieces of mica to include in our books. I was lucky to get a piece with some great black and rust inclusions so it will be featured on the front cover of the second book.

Leslie’s studio, which has been featured in the magazine What Women Create, is the inspiration that made me start ditching my plastic bins in favor of old cigar boxes and baskets.

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