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Saturday morning coffee pot post

Well, let’s pretend that it is still morning. Technically I began this post at 11:55. But I am still finishing the coffee pot.

Above is my latest collage, which I began working on last fall. That seems to work best for me with collages, to let them percolate a while before finishing up. I still need to trim it a bit but it is mounted on a cradled wood panel painted white. The final element came when I attached one of Liz’s tail feathers.  (Liz is our late parakeet.)

Last weekend we went back down to Lake Waccamaw and four friends joined us. We ate a lot of good food and unhealthy food and played games. We didn’t go anywhere this time other than quick trips to the grocery store with masks on – I am not feeling good about going out down there right now. That county has a low vaccination rate. One couple brought a strategy game called Quirkle Cubes and I want to buy that one. We also played Sequence. The weather was hot and muggy some of the time but the breeze was up on Saturday night and we sat out in the yard looking out at the lake and drank mixed drinks and cider.

Tim and Lisa mainly did stuff on their own – they have ongoing renovations at their house and Tim was recovering from surgery nine days before, but on Sunday, he attempted to give our friends a ride on the pontoon boat. Once he got it off the lift into the water, it wouldn’t crank. So he got into the water (it is only about knee deep) and was trying to keep it from bashing into the pier next door. I had on my bathing suit so I tried to hurry into the water to help him, and wiped out on the bottom slick step of the pier and whacked the top of my right foot and shin on the steps. It is fortunate that I crashed into the water instead of hard ground or it would have been very bad. As it was, I was able to walk over and help him push the boat back onto the lift. It’s kind of amazing how easy it is to push a large boat in the water, but he should not have been doing it.

Anyway, after I walked out of the lake and rinsed off the cut on my foot, my sister doctored it up and we sat on the pier and enjoyed conversation for about an hour. I had my leg iced and elevated but it swelled up like crazy. My cut never got infected though and that was my main concern.

Anyway, I’ve spent most of the week working from home and elevating my foot. Tuesday was bad because I didn’t take care of it, because we had to pack and clean up the house on Monday. Sandy can’t do it all these days. The swelling started going down on Wednesday and I decided that I didn’t need to go to the doctor. Friday I was able to put on my shoes and walk to work and back, and I soaked in Epsom salts last night. Today I was greeted with a multi-colored foot and leg that could easily belong to a zombie – I am fascinated with the colors. Greenish yellow, blue, deep purple, brownish red. The only normal color is a circle around the cut. I’ve never had an injury like this and it amazes me that I’m not in severe pain!

So the idea was that we were going to make paste papers at the lake, but none of us were in the mood for it considering everything that was happening, or not happening since we were all TOO relaxed. On Wednesday evening three of us made paste papers at Susanne’s house, and I brought home the leftover paint and used it all up. So I now have a lot of background and collage papers to use, along with a few pieces nice enough to use for book covers.

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I am not very confident about the safety of going back to a normal schedule at work once the semester begins. The administration seems to be determined to make everything as normal as possible, which I understand, but I also understand that there are a LOT of young people out there who for whatever reason have not gotten vaccinated. Fortunately, most of our employees have, according to a survey. I am nervous because I’m not so trusting of the J&J’s effectiveness against the Delta variant. We need to go ahead and get Sandy an antibody test this weekend.

Oh well, the problem with waiting so long to post is that there is too much catch-up to do. I didn’t take any lake photos. I don’t know why – usually I take so many but I didn’t even think about it this time! I will try to post again tomorrow, because I have plenty to write about.

 

art, fiber art, tapestry, weaving

Progress on the lake tapestry

The lake tapestry has taken an unexpected turn as I inched (millimetered?) my way to the finish line. I decided to weave a strip of the brown/grey threads at the top for a hem, and started on the right side and took a break.

When I went back to it, it seems that my lake needs a cliff jutting out into the water in the background. Which means it is no longer Lake Waccamaw, which is round.

Yet, this weaving was abstracted anyway. It began with a very quiet photograph of raindrops on the lake and the blue sky just beginning to poke through the clouds and reflect on the tea-colored waters of Lake Waccamaw. I cropped the photo down to a small area and increased the size. I added the movement of the water on top and below the surface, and it became much more animated. The raindrops would not have really looked this way on the surface if the water had been moving.

Now it seems to me that the raindrops in the tapestry have transformed into boulders and rocks in the water. There are no boulders and rocks in the swampy sandy waters of eastern North Carolina. Not naturally placed ones, anyway.

What do you think? I need to make a decision.

coffee pot posts, critters

Tuesday morning

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Time to get the dehydrator out for the cherry tomatoes.

Much better spirits this week, all the way around. I’m working from home this morning but I don’t have much to do other than social media and email answering. I have an eye doctor appointment right after lunch and then a therapist appointment. I need the eye appointment, the therapy not so much today, but I’ll go anyway just to stay on track.

I had a real breakthrough on my bird phobia! Bernie got out of the cage and he was trying to get  in on the back side of the cage beside the wall. He had pretty much worn himself out and I went into the room and said to Sandy, “I think that I can catch him.” And without thinking about it much, I did, bare-handed. He nipped me the first time and I lost my grasp on him, mainly because I was holding him more loosely that I realized, and then he flew behind the computer monitor and I caught him again. This time he drew blood and held on and I had to disengage his claws from the computer wires, but I didn’t let go and I got him back into the cage. After this, I won’t be afraid if I have to hold him again. It was painful, but nothing that I can’t get over quickly.

We are going down to the lake this weekend and a few friends are going. My sister and brother-in-law should be there too. He’s out of the hospital and feeling pretty good. They are both making plans and a bucket list, and right now they just want to have some fun. Friends are cooking and bringing supplies to make paste papers and I’m bringing my stash of stencils so I should come home with a nice stack of decorative papers for bookmaking. Making paste papers is just plain fun and calming…I spent three days doing pretty much nothing but paste papers with Albie Smith on my 50th birthday at An Artful Journey.

I finished reading A Game of Thrones and it whetted my appetite for more fantasy/sci-fi, so it’s hard to go back to my reading list as it stands now. What I’ve been trying to do is read the books on my shelves and then putting them in the local little free libraries in an effort to downsize. Sandy took a huge box to the used bookstore for credit, but they give us so little in return that it is hardly worth the effort. I took a big bag to my favorite indy bookseller who sells out of a refurbished school bus and donated them. Right now I am trying to read The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash but I need something lighter. I found a signed first edition in a LFL and in my old life I would keep it but I’m trying to get out of book collecting. It’s a tough thing to leave behind!

We are almost at the end of the first season of Sweet Tooth on Netflix and I am enjoying that despite the apocalyptic nature of it cutting a bit too close to the bone.

I moved most of my home office back to my real office since we have returned to a semi-normal schedule. It’s nice to have some room back in my studio.

The mini-calla lily bloomed but I had to prop it up.

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coffee pot posts

Saturday morning coffee pot post

This has been a rough week. I’m talking one of those days when you realize that your life and the lives of others that you love are truly going to change in a major way. This is what this kind of morning is like for a vivid dreamer: you wake up and try to make some sense out of the world that you just left, and how it might attach to the real world. Then you remember what is happening in the real world, and you wonder for a few moments if the real world is a nightmare.

Sandy’s diagnosis was weighing heavy on me this week. I joined a support group on Facebook for myositis caregivers, thinking that would help me process it and prepare, and then the links that they provided for information about polymyositis almost undid me. I felt so overwhelmed with negative possibilities, and really feeling our ages. It’s a good thing that I am in therapy, and I hope that Sandy will go with me on Tuesday.

Then came the bomb. My brother-in-law’s surgery to remove a blockage in his colon revealed extensive, inoperable, incurable cancer on his sub-abdominal wall. That’s why they couldn’t find it in the colonoscopy. It was outside his colon. The surgeon built a bypass in his colon so that he can eat somewhat normally and closed him up. The plan will be for him to do chemo in Wilmington, so that he can still live at the lake.

I love my brother-in-law – I absolutely adore him. He is one of the top beloved people in my life. He is more of a brother to me than my brother ever has been. Sandy feels the same way about him. And my sister – oh my God – those two are inseparable. Best friends.

I haven’t talked to him yet. I’ve talked to my sister several times and she thought I should wait a couple of days. He is still recovering in the hospital and on pain meds. But he should be going home soon and I might see them at the lake next weekend. None of us are people who want visitors in the hospital. Unless someone asks for visitors, we view hospitals as places to just heal.

My sister pulled an Aurora Greenway on the staff there when they asked him if he had suicidal thoughts twenty minutes after being told his prognosis. I mean, there he was, just out of surgery and doped up and had just been told that he is dying. What human would not have suicidal thoughts? He said that he supposed so, and so they said that they had to put someone in his room overnight on a suicide watch. So my sister forbade it, ran them out of there, and spent the night with him. When they came back with their clipboard the next day, she forbade them to ask him the question again. She is Mama Bear. Don’t mess with my sister. (I am the same way.)

I mean, can you imagine having some stranger watching you all night the first time you have been given terrible news? That was clearly a bureaucratic cover-your-ass situation, and I would have been furious if it had been me. What a horrible invasion of privacy.

So, the only real help that I could be to my sister was to call my brother, who neither of us have spoken to in almost two years. I controlled my temper on the call, barely, and I warned him at the beginning of it that I was very angry about the situation. Of course, he told me that he and his wife were not vaccinated, and proceeded to state some concerns that were straight from Tucker Carlson’s bullshit about the vaccine, and how the government might force them to be vaccinated. I have zero tolerance for this kind of garbage thinking and while I tried to not totally lose my shit on him, I explained to him that Sandy and my brother-in-law are on immune-suppressant medicine and while the government would not force them to be vaccinated, he would not be welcome to visit unless he was vaccinated. There was more to the conversation but suffice it to say that by the time I disconnected (almost wrote “hung up”) I was in a rage. There is good reason that my brother and I haven’t communicated.

I am so sick of political thinking about EVERYTHING.

I am tired of human beings being treated like numbers and objects and boxes to be checked off a form.

There is a homeless woman named Sarah that we met about a year ago, who walks through this neighborhood a lot and lives on the porch of her friend’s house. She chooses to sleep outside in a sleeping bag in all seasons. She carries a baritone ukelele and the first time we met her she played us a song. I gave her some money which she tried very hard to refuse, but I insisted on it. We’ve seen her several times since then but this morning I was sitting here on the front porch writing this post and I invited her up for a cup of coffee. She asked for water instead and Sandy was fixing lunch and shared his lunch with her.

Talking with Sarah grounded me. She has a much different perspective on life and I don’t expect that I will ever understand all the things that she has experienced. She is somewhat vague about her life other than it has been traumatic and that she “has problems.” We spent a good two hours talking about some very complex issues and emotions and even though she said that she had sworn that she was going to stop talking to people, I think that we both benefited from the conversation.

In the end, we talked about hope. I am a bit conflicted about hope, having read Buddhist teachings  that make me wonder if it is a source of suffering. It’s something that maybe I need to bring up in my therapy session because it seems to me that it will be necessary for everyone’s survival on an individual basis, everyone in the entire world, not just me and my family. At the same time, I fear false hope is stopping the world’s powers-that-be and those who put them in power from doing what is necessary for humanity to survive on this planet. It’s a conundrum, to be sure.

coffee pot posts

Sunday afternoon

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^Resilience

It’s still cool enough to sit in front of the fan on the front porch – not something I expected at 5 pm. I’m drinking a Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer in a can, feet propped up. Just took a walk and so far so good, although if I am going to get in good enough shape to walk those hills in Lisbon, I need to step it up. Maybe when I am at work I will walk up and down the stairs several times a day.

After a day away from looking at the tapestry, I decided that the black drops are fine and I wove further along on it. It is a challenge for me to weave something that I am pretty much designing as I go along. It is not like painting, for sure! Maybe I’ll get it done by the end of the summer. I have an appointment with a new eye doctor on July 13.

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We had massages by students at a massage school yesterday. Great deal to get an hour long massage for $25! I was concerned when I asked the student who worked on me if he had been vaccinated and he said no. I choked back the urge to castigate him, put my mask back on, and enjoyed the massage. He wore a mask. My hope is that he had not been vaccinated because he already had the virus.

But why? Why? Why? Vaccines are plentiful here. We are so lucky! Most of the rest of the world is still working on getting to the level of vaccination that we are because they haven’t been able to get the vaccines quickly enough.  Why are people in health related professions even allowed to see patients/clients without being vaccinated? Why aren’t students required to be vaccinated for Covid when they are required to be vaccinated for other diseases? I am baffled.

We could have been at the end of this thing by now if people weren’t so goddamned stupid about it. I follow a page called Safe Communities Portugal and they posted today that they are hoping to have 70% vaccinated by some time in September so that bodes well. In the United States, 100% of the people who can be vaccinated could be vaccinated if they weren’t brainwashed and stubborn.

Oh, don’t think that because I am not writing about all the disasters that are happening worldwide that I am not intensely aware of them. I just don’t see the need to when others do it so much better.

I’m not sure why I did not listen to Spotify for so long. The playlists that are offered up nowadays are great! I’ve been listening to a lot of early-mid 20th century music, and today WFDD offered up a playlist with the theme of I-95 South from Roanoke Rapids to Lumberton.

I am not an audio person, generally, but I might have to turn into one so that I can rest my eyes other than when I am sleeping.

Reading: switched to A Game of Thrones from Emerald Germs of Ireland.  Yes, I watched the first season of “Game of Thrones,” and the last two seasons, because the costumes, scenery, and dragons were awesome. The first season was a little tough for me to stomach. I tend to take violent content into my dreams at night.  I find the book to be more palatable, and there are no surprises here, which is not especially great, but I’ve always enjoyed reading a book more than seeing the movie or TV show. I even stopped watching Poldark when I took up reading the series of books, even though I found Aiden Turner to be quite yummy. I know what comes after where I stopped watching the series, and I don’t particularly care to see it acted out.

TV: I started watching “The Good Place” and “Doc Martin” again. I’m also giving “Sweet Tooth” a try.

I booked a hotel room for the night in Dublin between when we arrive from Portugal and get on a train to Westport the next day. It is over near Christchurch Cathedral so maybe we’ll have a little bit of time to see something in Dublin that morning, but I suspect that we will be worn out. I’m thinking that I’d like to have lunch at the Brazen Head and combine some history with my food. So I only have one hotel room night to book for our big trip now – the last night before we get on the plane for home from Dublin. Here’s hoping that Ireland is open for business by then!

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Let Freedom Ring

flag-tlWe hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

(In memory of Terrilynn, who posted this on her blog every July 4.)

coffee pot posts, critters

Saturday afternoon

Hydrangeas on my walk to work

I’m getting more used to this new WordPress editor system – I don’t think that it is very intuitive but by experimenting and doing a lot of drafts I’m beginning to get the hang of it. What I really dislike is that when I go back to edit a page often it gives me “block error” messages and I have no idea what it means. I keep reopening the edit page in different ways and eventually I get it to load. I’ve been working on the Tapestry Weavers South website and making artist pages for the members as they send in information and photos. In doing so, I found the slideshow block so I’m playing with that for my page now.

Today I got up to feed the cats and went back to bed. When I woke up it was 10:40 and Sandy and I hustled to get to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market before it closed at 11:30. We have not been there in a long time. I bought from three different vendors: Zephyr squash, white potatoes, and flat green beans. I meant to buy shrimp but the market was closing down and I had a headache from rushing out without my coffee. I’ve had my caffeine and acetaminophen now but I’m not quite over it.

In the past year, too often have I bought fresh produce and then let it rot in the fridge. The cooking muse not only left me, I wonder if she died of Covid. I wonder if she is ever coming back. Pretty weird for a blogger who used to focus on fresh and local food, huh?

I did a little bit of weaving on the lake tapestry though.

I have since added another black spot and wonder if I should take them out and tone them down a bit. Funny because in my brain I was excited about these three little black spots. I will sit with this one for another day or so. It is really hard for me to unweave given that it takes me so long to weave anything these days.

Thursday was my last day working from home because of the pandemic, if all goes well. My coworkers will take vacation days in July so I will be in the office without much to do for a while. I am going to take two long weekends, one to return to Lake Waccamaw and another to go to Topsail Beach for a book workshop with Dan Essig at Leslie Marsh’s studio.

Sandy and I have gotten out and about this week. He is still going to his water exercise classes every morning. I have been walking more and interacting with my neighbors more. We had delicious jambalaya and shrimp and grits at Elm St. Grill Wednesday night, and sat outside at Oden Brewing eating sloppy Chinese dumplings from Chirba Chirba Dumpling truck and listening to music. Last Sunday we went to the Artists Over 50 potluck at the former site of Healing Ground, now known as Penns Grove Retreat. I showed my tapestry of the labyrinth there and my lake tapestry in progress and said a few words about them. This is the group that we joined a few months before everything shut down. I hope to show some of my collage work in their shows.

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This afternoon Sandy scheduled massages with the students at Kneaded Energy for both of us. I texted my former massage therapist, and sadly, that is over. Her studio (A to Zen) shut down and I am not sure if she is going back to massage.

Pablocito relaxes on the front porch
Diego being extra cuddly one evening.
art, collage, North Carolina

Looking back at the TWS retreat and class

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 ^^^Signpost in downtown Elkin, North Carolina

During the TWS retreat I was so anxious that I babbled for the first two days, then started calming down by Tommye’s class on the 3rd and 4th days, a class that I’ve been trying to take in one form or another for a couple of years.. But I was still anxious and burst into tears twice, once from hurtful behavior that I overreacted to, and the second time from sheer kindness that was showed to me. (I was probably a bit cranked up on steroids too.) I got some good ideas for design work though. The design exercises weren’t new to me, but getting Tommye’s perspective of what works in tapestry was valuable. And it was fun to just play with pieces of paper. Maybe once I finish the lake tapestry I will do some of these at a larger sett with larger yarns.

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I really enjoyed having a meal at Southern on Main and at the Angry Troll Brewery on Main St., and I even considered renting a studio space in the Chatham Mill that Foothills Art Center is renovating, right there next to the Yadkin Valley Fiber Center on the second floor. It was so tempting, but I know that I won’t have the time or energy to drive a little over an hour to Elkin even once a week. If I lived 30 minutes away, I would be all over it. Elkin is a cool little town near Stone Mountain State Park, and it is drawing more artists and foodies and nature loving types. In Mayberry land, from the Andy Griffith Show (note the sign that points to Pilot Mountain in the top photo).

critters, Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, Wilmington

Lake Waccamaw, June 2021

This time, Sandy came with me and friends visited for a few days. The weather could not have been more perfect – low humidity and in the low 80s most of the time. We turned off the air conditioning after the first two nights and didn’t turn it on again until the day we left. It felt like the old days with fans whirring all over the house.

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As usual, the lake provided us with a few stunning sunsets and lots of gator sightings. All gators were well behaved and stayed in the canal on the other side of the road.

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One day Susanne and Susan and I played with fibery things on the back porch while Joseph played the dulcimer on the old glider. I didn’t get much done on my tapestry because of my eyesight problems and the super close sett on this weaving. We went to Pierce Hardware and Dale’s Seafood, so they got the local flavor of the place.

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After Susanne and Joseph left, my sister and brother-in-law and Susan went with us to Indochine in Wilmington. It’s a bit of a drive, but oh so worth it.

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I didn’t do much walking, but I did go for a swim one day and Susan kayaked. Tim picked us all up on the pontoon boat one afternoon and that is always a treat. Susan is laughing because she just retired as a big rig truck driver and we made her drive the boat.

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Even though there was the threat of Tropical Storm Claudette, it was mostly a lot of wind by the time it got to us. The lake is way down because of drought, so we had hoped for more rain. We spent a quiet weekend with naps on the gliders and zombie TV and ate with my family, then packed and drove home on Monday. It was a much needed mental and physical rest for both of us.

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Back Forty, Blather, coffee pot posts

Thursday lunch post

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I just edited a whole bunch of photos and wrote a post about going to Dunleath Porchfest on June 12, because my work ethic is to get the easy quick projects out of the way first. It works for me.

Today is such a light workday. It is so refreshing to have these days after the work crunch of spring semester, and such a shock when the world returns to semi-normal in August. I’ve only had one visitor to the office, and one phone call. One faculty member is here in her office. All the classes are online. I caught up on everything that built up during my vacation on Tuesday.

The front and back gardens are looking lovely – but the other parts of the yard are getting grown up with pokeweed and English ivy and poison ivy and ground ivy. I posted a recommendation request on the Next Door app and got loads of messages back. So I knuckled down and made the phone calls. I hate making phone calls worse than almost anything in the world. I like public speaking better. I like eating liver better. I like listening to Garth Brooks better. The responses are beginning to come in.

This is the pretty part:

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I got shit done yesterday and today though. I went to Leon’s Beauty School and had half of my hair whacked off. I did a couple of loads of laundry and got completely frustrated with the plumbing situation, so a plumber was called and is coming tomorrow afternoon. I have managed to put this off for at least a year. Sandy and I went to lunch at Lindley Filling Station and I ordered a healthy salad. We got one car inspected. I filled out the form to make an eye appointment in mid-July – I had hoped for sooner, so we’ll see whether I stick with them. I ordered a few colors of Golden paint that I’ve been wanting.

And I spent money. I bought plane tickets for Dublin to Lisbon. I don’t feel very secure about it, and not only because of Covid concerns. TAP, the Portuguese airline, was really the best choice as far as the length of the trip (2 hr 45 min) and the time of departure because we needed a morning flight. It was the best price for a flight that allowed checked baggage. But their website was a nightmare and had conflicting/confusing information about whether we could get a voucher or refund if the flight was cancelled. So I called a couple of times and I couldn’t get anyone to answer after listening to hold music for way too long. Then I checked out their Facebook page AFTER I booked the flight (I do have 24 hours to cancel, I know that) and saw many complaints with very unsatisfactory responses from TAP. This morning I took another look at my choices and I am sticking with TAP and hoping for the best. Hoo boy.

The fact is, I feel compelled to move forward with this trip. I had to tweak our plans. For one thing, my sister and brother-in-law are definitely not coming with us. They want to wait, and I can’t blame them for that. My sister says that she knows someone with an auto-immune disease who found out that she had no antibodies after she was vaccinated. We’ll buy a couple of antibody tests at Walgreens and see. Maybe Sandy will need a more robust mask to wear.

We also realized that there was a logistical problem with spending the weekend in Dublin. We have to have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of getting on the plane to Portugal. We could probably get a fast test in Dublin, but, we’d have to do that right away and we’ll be tired.  By the time we land in Lisbon, we will have been on planes or in airports for over 24 hours. We are going to be exhausted so Friday night in Lisbon will probably be a waste while we rest. And I can tell you from the past long wait in Dublin airport that it is not a comfy place to hang out. But the TAP flight after a six hour layover in Dublin was the only nonstop flight that left in a reasonable time frame. If all goes well, we’ll be in Lisbon early Friday afternoon, after leaving Raleigh on Thursday morning.

But hey! It gives us more time in Portugal! Winning! I changed our AirBNB apartment to a smaller one that costs about the same for the longer amount of time – good reviews, super cheap, and right next to the big Lisbon flea market, which will thrill both of us. Close to the main historic part of Lisbon and most importantly, a short walk to the train station. Flea market and exploring Lisbon on Saturday, then we plan to take at least a couple of day trips on the train or bus tours to other parts of Portugal, then another day or two in Lisbon.

Sandy really wanted to spend the whole trip in Portugal, and I considered that. We are seriously talking about emigrating there when I retire, and we need to check it out. But I really want to take that art class with Lora Murphy and chill out on the western beaches of Ireland, so the compromise was made. He will be happy in Ireland too.

Okay, back to work.