I blew right past blogging about my 52nd birthday and my 8th blogiversary. This will be a long post, I can see. Fortunately I have plenty of coffee and I’m not planning to go anywhere this morning.

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So, first I guess I’ll get caught up on the art retreat plans for the year, my true obsession. I did not get into Paper Book Intensive, which sort of threw me for a loop. I wasn’t upset, just a little surprised. Miss Laurie has gotten used to getting what she goes after over the years. This reality check is probably a good thing. I haven’t really been rejected for anything since I was job hunting ten years ago. Judy had informed me the day before that she was not able to attend, so I wouldn’t have had that extra pleasure of seeing her for ten days anyway.

That made it easier to concentrate on how to get to Madeline Island, Wisconsin, for India Flint’s workshop. I finally worked out a scheme to fly from Raleigh (about 1.5 hour away) to Minneapolis for $283 round trip. A friend who lives in between and likes to run super early in the morning at a nearby park will take me to the airport in Raleigh and probably pick me up – I haven’t worked that out yet. My sister lives in Chapel Hill about 1/2 hour away so I’m going to talk to her about it, however, she and her family are usually at Lake Waccamaw that time of year. Anyway, once I get to Minneapolis, I hop on a bus to Duluth for a 3 hour bus trip, round trip about $69. Then I take a cab to the airport and get on the shuttle that Madeline Island School of the Arts provides for $100 round trip for the 1.5 hour trip to Madeline Island. Whew. The nice thing is that I’ll see a part of the country I’ve never seen, if I don’t fall asleep or get carsick on the buses.

The way back is reversed except that I can’t make it back to Minneapolis in time to get a flight out that night. So I’m staying overnight in a Sheraton on Friday night, and I’m going to try to visit the Minneapolis Center for Book Arts before my flight out on Saturday.

How is THAT for a complicated plan? Yet, believe it or not, it is much cheaper than flying into Duluth because all the flights during the time frame I needed were so expensive. That is why I was stressing over the whole Madeline Island trip. However, it is now a done deal. The tickets are bought and they are non-refundable so I could stop obsessing over it. Will it be worth it? I absolutely believe that it will, and I’m looking forward to the adventure. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore seems to be the kind of place that stirs my soul – beaches, cliffs, water and wind polished stone…

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I’m going to do something less ambitious travel-wise and drive to Cary, N.C. on March 13 to take this workshop with art quilter extraordinaire Lyric Kinard: Abstract-a-licious, then go to Topsail Beach for a few days with my friend Missy Foy. You will not see me trotting along beside Missy. I need this kind of break badly right now, and a few books and a little walking on the beach will be soothing. Maybe I’ll take either a sewing machine or one of my new-to-me table looms too.

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This time of year is my busiest at work. I work in the kind of job that most of what I need to do has to be done January through April. Then I coast through the summer with less pressing projects, and fall is just about right as far as workload. I love my job. Even when I bitch about it, I know how lucky I am to have it and that it suits my personality and abilities as well as anything I’ve ever done. Lately with the economy in a downturn and our state legislature so dominated by anti-education Tea Party conservatives, it is more stressful because we have to plan for all kinds of contingencies in case our budget is slashed to the bone. We already went through major budget cuts a couple of years ago, and this year I have no doubt that some people I know are going to be hurt by it because there is nothing unnecessary left to cut. My job is safe as long as our graduate program is strong. It is in my interest to keep it that way, not to mention that I really care about our students. We have a governor with a liberal arts degree talking about funding vocational education instead of the liberal arts. These clowns in Raleigh are the laughingstock of the nation right now. It is very sad, and I’m afraid that the gerrymandering of districts will make it very difficult to uproot them until they have done some very serious damage.

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I think that I’ll do another post about my latest artwork rather than bury it in this long post that nobody is going to read but me.

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Since nobody else is reading at this point, here comes the medical bitching. First of all, my hands are doing great. But the rest of me seems to be chock full of inflammation. I’ve had some kind of weird problem with my right knee for two months now that must be either bursitis or tendinitis. I have had it x-rayed and I went to my chiropractor when the pain changed from occasional sharp pain when I touch my knee to the floor or other surface to general aches and tenderness from my hip to my ankle. Even my left leg started to hurt so Dr. Lewis suggested that it might be my shoes, although he doubted it since they are Merrills and I’m not walking funny. Changing shoes has not helped the original problem, although rest has lessened the general aching. I tend to forget about the knee thing, then get on the floor or tap it lightly against something and wham! Knife in the leg. Then I put ice packs on it, and get all depressed. My left elbow, which I hurt nine years ago, flared up again. What the hell? I am taking a huge handful of supplements and naproxen every morning and procrastinating about going to an orthopedist.

I joked (if you can call it that) to my weaving friends that I got rid of my table loom because my hands couldn’t deal with flipping the levers, and now that I have my floor loom up and running, my legs hurt when using the floor treadles. Maybe there is a lesson here.

In any case, I do have lots of alternatives when it comes to different types of looms now.