Ancient Wisdom


A couple of weekends ago, Susanne, Sandy, and I went to Topsail Beach for a long weekend. Sandy hung out by himself mostly while Susanne and I took a workshop with Leslie Marsh and Kim Beller called Ancient Wisdom. We stayed at the Jolly Roger Inn and Pier. The weather was a bit chilly and cloudy and it rained really hard one night but we got out on the beach a little. We had oceanfront rooms and that was nice.

We drove down on Thursday evening and ate dinner at the Beach Shop and Grill. With that name we expected hamburgers and hot dogs but it was a very expensive and wonderful restaurant. Sandy saved us by picking up the check. He had crab cakes that were divine. I am not sure that there was any bread in them at all. Susanne and I had shrimp and grits and I think that they might now be number one on my list of favorite shrimp and grits places.

In the morning, we indulged in doughnuts from the Fractured Prune. At this point I knew that there was no hope for my diet. When we went back to the hotel room, Susanne and I walked on the beach and picked up stuff, as you do, and after we went up to our rooms this guy showed up drawing fabulous runes on the beach in front of our hotel. Our own personal installation artist.

Friday afternoon was spent cutting our windows into bookboard and wrapping the covers with plaster gauze. They had to cure overnight.

When we got back to the hotel, the artist had finished.

Then we drove to Wilmington and ate dinner at one of our favorite places: Indochine. The rumors of its demise during Hurricane Florence are not true, thankfully.

The next day was dyeing day! Leslie had eight different natural dye pots going in her backyard and we spent most of the day dipping our book pages in them. What a great opportunity for overdyeing! I have never had access to so many colors at one time so I went nuts. I could not tell you the combinations on a lot of my pages, but I used indigo on most of them. Turmeric, avocado pits and skins, black walnut, and turmeric made good combinations too. Other dyepots held madder, yellow onion skins, red cabbage (which fades to light gray) and blueberries (also light-sensitive and fugitive). Honestly, I never guessed that you could get such beautiful natural dye results on paper.

We forced ourselves to stop and paint our plaster covers so that they would be dry by the time we bound our books the last day. I cut my mica too close to the edge because I was thinking that the plaster would be covering it. Stitching it that close to the edge ripped out through the sides so i improvised. Those sea oats were picked up off the road after the hurricane, by the way; no illegal picking of sea oats happened here. I scratched and stamped circles into the plaster to honor the art work I had seen on the beach – this is still a work in progress.

That night we ate at Sears Landing in Surf City near the bridge on the Intracoastal Waterway. This is a place where I will definitely return. All the weight I lost and more came back by the end of the night.

After dinner we went to Quarter Moon Books and Wine Bar  where the three of us and Pam, a friend we met at the workshops down here, had drinks and listened to some great acoustic music by The Doug McFarland One. (He is a hoot.)

On Sunday we bound our beautiful colorful signatures with longstitch (for using as warp for weaving later) and then put the whole shebang together with coptic stitch.

We didn’t have time to do the woven binding but I drilled holes in the back cover and I am working on embellishing this book further now.

Thanks, Leslie Marsh and Kim Beller for another exquisite workshop experience! Also to Bee Shay for spending her lunch teaching a few of us to wrap stones with macrame stitching for hanging. What a sweet weekend it was.

Rest in Peace, Virginia DeLaine Anthony

My beloved Aunt DeLaine passed away on Saturday night at the age of 91. She had a long, amazing, adventurous life. The last time I saw her I had a feeling that I might not see her again, so I told her that I have adored her all my life and that I hoped that I would “grow up” to be like her. At that time she was recovering from heart and hip surgery, and was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s but still living in her own apartment and still walking up and down those 17 steps. That was the long weekend when we went to Cripple Creek, Colorado. That was in September 2017.

In 2016, we visited a lovely French bistro/shop in Longmont, and later the Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings Museum:

Our visit in September 2015 included the infamous ziplining adventure over a creek in Idaho Springs. I ended up having a panic attack and wimped out. DeLaine, however, was the most enthusiastic and stalwart of the four of us. At age 87, she may have been the oldest zipliner they had ever had.

In 2014, we went to the Denver Botanical Gardens for the Chihuly exhibit.

I loved that she could be goofy too. This was in Boulder in June 2010.

I have loads of photos of Aunt DeLaine. I chose the ones of our adventures in Colorado together during the past nine years, but she came to North and South Carolina to visit often as well. She was a world traveler, and had lots of tales to tell, including about the celebrities she met when she was a “Girl Friday” for KBIG in Los Angeles.

I will miss her deeply.

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Weather has always been fascinating to me. As the daughter of a farmer in a pre-Internet time and no-cable TV house, I was expected to watch the weather forecast on one of our three TV stations and report to him in the evening when he came in, since a farmer’s work generally lasts sunrise to sunset and the news only came on at 6 and 11.

Sometimes I wish that I had studied meteorology in college, but I would have had so much science catch up to do. The only science I had in high school was biology, since one of the coaches “taught” my chemistry class (we never once went into the lab and he never lectured about chemistry), and I was always an arts and lit student. I learned a little bit in a college freshman earth science class.

Anyway, crocheting this weather scarf is making me more aware of the comparative weather of our year. The photo above is of the first two months in 2018, when we started with a polar vortex week. Other than that, our weather is really wild during the winter/early spring. It often changes 30-40 degrees in a single day. I’m sure that these big swings will be more extreme as our climate continues to change and the Arctic ice and permafrost melts.

March and April are just as wild, with many more color changes from day to day. Then suddenly, May was different. During the entire month of May, the high temperatures stayed between 76-90 F, often within 5 degrees for days at a time. The summer of 2018 was surprising. We did not have a single day with a high over 95. Now, I guarantee you that the humidity made most of those days feel well over 100 degrees.

The basic Tunisian crochet class ended yesterday. Actually it was intended to be a one-day class but it was Hilary’s first time teaching and she had a couple of students who didn’t have any or much experience in regular crochet, which she didn’t expect. She was kind to extend the class to two more Saturday afternoons, and it was leisurely paced with plenty of chat. I walked away feeling part of a tribe and Amanda’s hugs were wonderful.

They are doing a “Sophie’s Universe” crochet-along (a crazy fabulous free pattern, google it) on Saturday mornings at Gate City Yarns and I am going to join it weekend after next. This is what I need, a small comfortable group I can create with on a regular basis. I miss having a studio mate, even though I didn’t want to collaborate and basically just wanted a quiet companion to share energy and space.

The lettuce and calendula and arnica seeds are coming up! I planted leeks, onions, chive, monarda, and coreopsis a few days ago. I still have them inside the house since the temps are supposed to plunge to about 20 degrees mid-week. The rains have stopped from time to time to give us a short break before beginning again. As they are supposed to do today. It is definitely affecting my mood.

Current book: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. I am really disappointed with this one because I looked forward to reading it for so long. It’s been a real slog to get this far (about 70%) and I’m glad I didn’t buy it. I don’t like the main character. She is whiny and it is hugely depressing. I am from that rural farming poverty stricken conservative world, and I should be able to relate to it, but I don’t because I have had a mind of my own since childhood. I think that a lot of it could have been edited down and it would have been a better book. However, I want to see how she ends it and I am not skipping to it because that is cheating in my reading world.

Anyway, I am wrapping this up and getting back to the loom. I’ve got three more feet to weave on the twill gamp curtain panels. Oh! Almost forgot – I crocheted a bag with those long thrums from this project. I cut off about 8-9 feet of warp and couldn’t bear to see it go to waste. Result is below.

This week is spring break for UNCG and Susanne and Sandy and I are headed to Topsail Beach next weekend for a book workshop with Leslie Marsh and Kim Beller, so more good things are coming.

Oh, and this blog turned 14 this week. How about that?

Underwater

Rain, rain, rain. Puddles everywhere. That’s how we roll in North Carolina – drought or drowning, seldom in between. For years I have remembered my birthday as being in the season of mud, so it must be usual for February. We sandbagged the basement entrance again.

I am in an odd mood this week. Probably because I am not drinking and I started a diet yesterday. An actual diet plan, with an app, not my usual hey, I know how to eat healthy and I’ll just do that. I do know how to eat healthy, but it is not helping my weight and cholesterol issues. I kept seeing an ad for Noom, and decided to try it.

So now I’m eating SUPER DUPER healthy. With a calorie counter and a pedometer. And I am hungry and miss my cheese and peanut butter! Ah well. It must be done.

Underwater. That’s how I feel.

The weaving project is going well. I’m still plugging away at it and I hope to have the second curtain panel done by the end of the weekend, since the forecast is MORE RAIN. It is great to be able to weave standing up at my Macomber loom. I’m very glad that I decided to keep it. I should sell my Baby Wolf, though. It is just collecting junk on top. Once I get that tapestry off the Shannock loom (don’t ask an ETA for that, please) I will consider selling or trading it also.

I ripped out the entire 2019 Tunisian crochet weather scarf, charted all the high temperature data for Greensboro (the airport) for 2018, redid my color scheme a bit, and started over with a 2018 scarf. It goes more smoothly than doing a day at a time. I was very surprised that our highest temperature for last year was 95. That cut out two colors from my scheme so I shifted them all down one and rearranged a couple of other colors that made more design sense to me. The results are more pleasing and logical to me, and you know, logic is a prime concern for me. It will be interesting to me to compare the 2018 and 2019 scarves. This project punches all my OCD buttons so I have to make myself take breaks. Thank God for work or my hands would be aching by now!

Even though I have avoided the greenhouse, I started some arnica, calendula, and a variety of lettuce seeds indoors a few days ago. I bought a little pot of parsley at a grocery store about a month ago and it had probably two dozen seedlings crammed in there, so I separated the strongest ones and replanted them in the planter by the front steps.

There are too many things that I want to do, too many books to read, too many places where I want to travel.

There is a faint dread underlying my days, and I am trying to keep it from bubbling up. Perhaps re-engaging in political discussion and reading has not been the best decision. But how can I not? And there has been a few bright spots, although these bright spots often are relief that something awful is being undone, when it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I have no trust in anything any more since the 2016 election. I know that anything can happen, no matter how crazy and illogical. It is a surreal world, and I feel underwater.

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I don’t think that there will be photos in this post. I’m just going to sip coffee and write about random stuff for a little while.

My birthday is tomorrow and I will be 58. Maybe it is because my job requires me to plan one year ahead but I’ve been thinking that I am 58 for several months now. I guess this year I will be thinking that I am 59. Retirement has been on both Sandy and my minds for quite some time. He is probably going to retire this year. I will see if I can retire at 62 so that we can do some retirement stuff together before he gets too much older. I will probably work part time or get temp jobs. We are lucky that I “should” be able to do this because I will have a pension and insurance from being a state employee. We’ll see as the time gets closer.

It baffles me that I am this old. Maybe everyone feels this way. I never had children and for years I was the youngest one in any group I hung out in (still am in some groups). I don’t generally feel the social constraints that I might feel if I was a parent or grandparent. But as I’ve said before, I have never felt that I really belonged here anyway. I feel at home with my artist friends but I seldom get to see them. They are either too busy with work or family or they live far away. Or I cocoon myself away to protect myself from hurt and bolster my energy and don’t make the effort I should to be a good friend. Introvert behavior in an extrovert world.

Low spirits this week with nightmares, an anniversary of a tragic event, and a political world emergency. My blood work came back and my cholesterol levels are the highest ever. I have to get my butt in gear or very likely have to give in to taking statins. At least for a little while. I’m going to try an Ayurvedic supplement called triphala in the next three months and pay attention to my diet again. Pescetarianism suits me pretty well, and I am a tofu/tempeh fan.

I also unfollowed and left a couple of liberal prepper groups on Facebook. I find them useful sources of information, but there is a lot of serious negativity and some wayout alarmist posts as well. I am sufficiently alarmed at humanity’s prospects already and don’t really need to uptick the anxiety.

The solar panels do make me feel like I am doing what I can in our little corner of the world. I refinanced them with my local credit union this week, along with an unexpected expense (new water heater). This is more expensive per month than what I had but it will force me to pay it off quicker and I feel more in control. The other financing was way too complicated – it turned out that the 0% for 18 months only applied to 2/3 of the loan. I was irritated about this misunderstanding and emailed the company about it. The owner of the company called me and sent me a check for 3% of the loan for the trouble I’ve gone to in setting up the first financing (a protracted, complicated pain in the ass) and refinancing. That was pretty damn impressive, and so I am again very happy with them. Duke Energy says they will be sending me a rebate check for 14% of the loan in the next few weeks, then I should get a 30% tax credit.

This weekend is a rainy one. I have not started any seeds yet! Today I am weaving and this afternoon will go to Gate City Yarns for the Tunisian crochet class and learn a couple more kinds of stitches.

Okay, back to weaving! Maybe I will post with photos tomorrow if I get around to taking any.