Mexico, Querétaro, San Miguel de Allende

Querétaro to San Miguel de Allende, May 9, 2023



^This is the beautiful Templo de la Merced that we could see from the roof of our hotel. I wish that we had gone in when we heard the mass on Sunday as we walked by, because from the photos I’ve seen, the interior is gorgeous. I started to crop the electric lines from the next photo, but realized that I like all the lines and angles of the shot.

Another thing that we were learning about Mexico was that many shops and restaurants do not take credit cards, so first thing on Tuesday morning we headed to an ATM to get cash to pay the driver who would take us to San Miguel de Allende at noon.  That’s when we found the true heart of Querétaro’s Centro Historico.


I nearly walked into a policeman holding an automatic weapon when I was trying to take a photo of the Mexican flag above the government buildings. Then I saw a lot of other police armed the same way. This shocked and scared me, but being from the United States, I have no comment.



^This photo isn’t great, but I loved the cats on the supports to this balcony.


I tried very hard to get in at least one visit to a museum, and we eventually spent twenty minutes in the Querétaro Art Museum ( It is housed in a beautiful old Baroque monastery.


We had to hustle back to the hotel to check out and meet our ride, and so we were rushed. Querétaro would have been worth spending more time there. If I ever go back, I will.

Then we were on the highway through acres of cacti to San Miguel de Allende for the rest of our time in Mexico. Right away we noticed a difference in the highway – there were one and a half lanes on each side instead of double lanes. The side lanes were used for bicycles and motorbikes but also cars pulled over into the side lanes and straddled the line when faster cars passed, who straddled the center line of the highway. It seemed dangerous but made sense as long as the traffic was light.

We were very beat after our morning rushing around Querétaro so after a ride into San Miguel de Allende which took very steep narrow (but beautiful) streets down to our hotel, we found a great Italian place to eat mid afternoon, where the warm foccaccia could make you tremble and weep. We went back to this place later and it was just as good.


We then crashed for the evening in our air conditioned room at Bito’s Hotel Boutique. This would turn out to be the ONLY air conditioning that we would experience in Mexico. So many places were outside and/or in courtyards and the temperature was usually in the mid 80s. We spent a lot of time in this very comfortable room!


Mexico, Querétaro

Querétaro, Mexico, May 8, 2023


^I think there is a garden behind these doors. We would find that there were often beautiful surprises within plain outside facades. The sign translates to “The Snails” but I don’t know what C.S.O.A means.

I knew that there would not be much open on Monday, so I ordered breakfast at our hotel, which our host cooked and served in the courtyard. Again, there was confusion over the time. We sat down at our appointed time, when she politely told us in Spanish that breakfast would be at 8:30. I looked at my phone which said 8:30, so we continued to sit there and eventually she served us a giant breakfast. I also scheduled a couples’ massage for us at 11:00. We waited until 11:15, and I went to ask the host about it. She said that our appointment was at 11. She sent me a message in WhatsApp that our appointment was at 11. Finally at 11:30 I went downstairs and asked her if something was wrong. The massage therapists were coming in the door and I was again told in English that our appointment was at 11. I showed her the time on my phone that it was past 11:30, and THAT’S WHEN I found out that the phone was an hour off. It was pretty embarrassing but it explained so much.

I googled it. The time zone was correct, but the auto-update on the phones got the time wrong. In October they did away with daylight savings time in most of the country.

And the massages were fantastic.



That afternoon we went to the oldest shop in Querétaro, according to the current owner, who is the latest owner in the family business: Sombrerería La Popular, more than 100 years old. He sold hats, and we enjoyed talking with him. We didn’t bring our traveling hats, so we bought a hat for each of us at the dark old fashioned counters. Sandy really rocks his new Panama hat.


We explored some more shops, antique stores, another street market, and the Templo y Exconvento de la Santa Cruz at the top of the Plaza de Los Fundadores. I wondered why so many vendors were selling and processing thorns. Later I found out why. Here’s the history from this site:

“One of the city’s most interesting sights, this convent was built between 1654 and about 1815 on the site of a battle in which a miraculous appearance of Santiago (St James) apparently led to the Otomí surrender to the conquistadors and Christianity. Emperor Maximilian had his headquarters here while under siege in Querétaro from March to May 1867. After his surrender and subsequent death sentence, he was jailed here while awaiting the firing squad.

“Today it’s used as a religious school. You must visit with a guide – you wait at the entrance until a group has formed – although tours are in Spanish. The site’s main legend is the growth of the Árbol de la Cruz, an ancient tree in the convent’s garden, whose thorns are in the shape of crosses. This miracle was the result of a walking stick stuck in the earth by a pious friar in 1697.”


These are some very wicked thorns, by the way. I bought a magnet and the vendor inserted a thorn in the package. I use thorns in my art work sometimes, so I was happy to get one.


We ended the day with a meal that was not so great but this local English brown ale from a brewery called Hercules was one of the best I have tasted. The hat is from the shop, and my hair would soon be chopped off.

Mexico, Querétaro

Querétaro, Mexico, May 6-7, 2023


First off, it’s pronounced kay-REE-tah-roh. I had to practice this a lot after weeks of saying qwair-ee-TAH-roh. It’s a big modern city with a Spanish colonial heart that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We flew there on Saturday, May 6.

I found a flight that our miles mostly covered that got us there in one day that stopped in Chicago and Houston. I’ve been using United Airlines and their Mileage Plus program for a couple of years now and I like United. The staff have been generous and helpful and competent. “Fly the Friendly Skies!” I didn’t choose them for a while because they aren’t the least expensive airline out there, but I’ve learned that some of these cheap airlines aren’t worth the headaches. Now that I collect miles and have the credit card, I use it for almost everything and I’ve found that they have better deals for customers in the miles program.

Anyway, part of the deal is that I get two United Club passes per year. I didn’t use those passes last year because I wasn’t on a flight that had a long enough layover, but this time we had four hours in O’Hare, so we went to the United Club lounge. And man, I will never neglect to use my passes again. There was a buffet with good food and drinks and a bar and everything was free. Comfortable seating as well.

As we came down for a landing at the airport in Querétaro, the plane was in the worst prolonged turbulence I’ve ever experienced. My motion sickness is so sensitive that I can’t ride in the back seat of a car and I’ve even gotten sick on a swing. We were already an hour late at the end of a very long day and I just cried and held my barf bag ready, but somehow I didn’t throw up. I could hear someone else throwing up. I will come to the point of implosion before I will puke.

I was communicating with the driver who was scheduled to pick us up at the airport with updates and of course we had to go through immigration and bag check. I was flipping back and forth between Google Translate and WhatsApp, a trick I started to get used to, since we don’t speak Spanish and our hotel hosts and drivers didn’t speak English. I thought that we were two hours late because of the time zone that my phone updated to, but the phone was wrong! So the driver was very confused because I paid him nearly double, since I thought he had come out to pick us up twice. Gas is expensive and it was a fairly long ride, so I wanted to award him for his patience. Turned out he was confused because he had made one trip and didn’t have to wait that long for us.

It turns out that Mexico has a very fluid relationship with daylight savings time, but I wouldn’t figure this out for two days.


Our room was in a cute little boutique hotel close to the Centro Historico. You would never know how lovely it was from the street. I knew that it would not be air conditioned, but I figured in May we could deal with it. (May is actually the hottest month of the year in Central Mexico.) It was a bit tough on the first night and day because it was so humid, but the next two days and nights were fine. It was decorated in a kind of shabby chic way, with bicycles and kitchen utensils and gardening tools around. It was a bit too hot to hang out on the roof terrace, but there was a pretty good view.

On Sunday morning I did my usual thing of getting my Google Maps directions turned around and we walked in the opposite direction than we meant to go, which meant that we did see a bit of the “real” street life and part of the modern area with its chain restaurants and a metro train. We ate a sandwich in a little coffee shop and drank the first of many, many lemonades and fruit juices.


Walking back I got oriented to the map in real life and the next foray out was a bit better when we went to the Alameda Hidalgo and strolled along the paths. Birds that I couldn’t see were rivaling our mockingbirds for crazy songs and noises in the trees. Finally I saw one on the ground and it was solid black with a tail that fanned out in the opposite way that most crows’ tails do. Turned out to be a great-tailed grackle, a very common bird, but one that fascinated me the whole time I was in Mexico. I never could get a good photo, though.


We wandered in and out of little shops and streets filled with vendors hawking tourist tchotchkes, stopping often for lemonade and bottled water. Outside of the Centro Historico, people were selling snacks and drinks and produce on the sidewalks. One place that I would have liked to have spent more time at was the Galería Libertad. It was showing huge prints and relief blocks by Victor Lopez and I was allowed to take a few photos.



After that we had dinner and mojitos at 1810 Restaurante and sat outside under umbrellas and a covering. Another big storm came up but we were okay where we were and just sat there people watching and chatted with the waiter.



augggghhhh, coffee pot posts, Rants, Reading

Sunday morning coffee pot post

I really am working on the Mexico travel posts. I’m almost ready to post the ones from Querétaro. I wrote a lot of it when I was in the throes of a very bad mood so I need to edit that and add the photos I’ve edited and uploaded. I’ve vented a lot of this anger and anxiety in the last part of this post and I feel better.

This morning I woke up naturally after an enormous amount of sleep. Sometimes I just go down like that. I took a three hour nap late yesterday afternoon and then went down again for 11 hours last night! I always think of these episodes as recharging a nearly dead battery, and it has happened to me 2 or 3 times a year for years. I never known when it will hit, but usually it is after a vacation or after some intense social activity. This is a little late for vacation recharge, although I did volunteer at the gallery yesterday where another volunteer in love with the sound of his voice nattered on incessantly on all subjects. I freed myself from him and then Sandy walked in and hit it off with him instantly, of course. So I had to drag him off to go to Cafe Europa for lunch. Sometimes I have an intense need for quiet. I think that my body provided it.

I made some progress in getting rid of some books and supplies, but need to work on that more. Maybe I’ll tackle my closet today. I have so many shoes and clothes that I no longer wear. The temptation to keep old clothes is very powerful since there are so many ways that I can recycle them into art. In late July I have a workshop with Bryant Holsenbeck to learn to do the wire and recycled material animal sculptures that she’s famous for creating.

Just to prove that I DID warp up my Mirrix loom last Sunday, BOOM:


This is the first time I’ve warped it since I bought the bottom spring kit. It’s warped at 10 epi, since that’s my favorite sett and I have a lot of wool singles that I usually double or triple and mix colors with. It’s off center because at first I was warping around a bar in the back of the loom thinking that I could pull it around the frame for a longer length, as I have done with my other frame loom. Once I realized that would be difficult (but maybe not impossible) to pull the weaving around with the springs on, and it became super awkward to push the roll of warp through the space on the right, I decided that it was wide enough. I don’t have a design yet and will make one in my upcoming workshop with MJ Lord this week, so I’ll adapt my design  size to this warp.

The next step that I’d LIKE to do, is to properly set up the shedding bar with leashes or string heddles so that I can work faster and more easily. I’ll look up the video instructions on the Mirrix site to do that part because it has been a long time since Archie showed me how to tie leashes and I didn’t follow up with doing it on my own. I do have a photo of him in action at Pam Patrie’s tapestry retreat from 2015: (I’d love to insert this link, but WordPress makes it increasingly difficult to do so.) I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to study with this master in Pam’s beautiful cabin overlooking the Pacific. I know that he used a half hitch on the outer bar between leashes as he worked from left to right, and I thought that I had a video of him doing this somewhere.

I’m really looking forward to the tapestry workshop and tapestry retreat in Elkin this coming week. The theme of the workshop is Birds, Bugs, and Butterflies, and I have had a lot of inspiration for subject matter! The opportunity to get together with other tapestry weavers is wonderful, and we always have good food. The opening of the TWS “Follow the Thread” is Friday evening in Elkin at the Yadkin Valley Fiber Art Center on Main St. It will have most of the tapestries shown at the Folk Art Center plus a few new ones. So if you read the rant section below (and please don’t if you aren’t interested in our woes), keep in mind that I feel much better now.

Reading: I started and finished The Round House by Louise Erdrich, and as usual, she did not disappoint. I began Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. It’s been a while since I read its prequel, Wolf Hall, but I think that I know enough of the story of Anne Boleyn that it will not be hard to get back on track. By the way, according to my research on, Anne’s father, Thomas Boleyn, is my direct ancestor. I’ve found, however, that I could go back to my family tree next week and look at it and someone will have changed that.


So anyway. I went with Sandy to his endocrinologist appointment and it was quite frustrating to listen to her go through his list of medications and him repeatedly respond that he quit taking them. He knows, though, that he cannot skip his thyroid medication any more because she made it very clear. She postponed the lab he was supposed to have. I was very angry because he emphatically told me in the waiting room that he did not want me to argue about his medication. So I listened and only interjected a few times with the doctor. I also rolled my eyes behind him when he made a bullshit excuse. I’ve been trying to get him to set alarms for his medications for months and the doctor said, “Hey, you don’t have to do that! Just take it when you first get up.” So I was angry at Sandy for being self-destructive and at her for undermining a good plan of action for him. 

He still has half a thyroid and his tumors in that half are very small, so it isn’t a dire situation and they may not even take out the other half. If they do, it will be next year after they’ve done another biopsy and an ultrasound. The good thing, if you can call having still one more health issue on top of the others a good thing, is that this kind of cancer is very non-aggressive and slow.

The other thing that is driving me crazy is that after a definitive diagnosis including a surgical biopsy of muscle tissue in his leg and lab results showing antibodies that are only present with polymyositis (, he believes that he doesn’t have this disease and that the medication he is taking is making him worse and is completely stubborn on the subject. So he quit taking his statins, which I can understand giving that a try, but he quit taking the steroids that keep his polymyositis in check. Keep in mind that this same medication nearly cured him and sent him into remission almost two  years ago, but his tests show it is back.

I won’t even go into the diabetes meds, but at least for that he finally moved to make an appointment next week with his GP’s pharmacist to find a different med. This is something I’ve pushed him to do for over a year. His A1C was extremely high.

Sorry for all the TMI but I’ve lived with this man for over 36 years, and the level he can go to in self-sabotage is a pattern. This is not the time to go there. It makes me very depressed. After a couple of days to try to get my frustration and anger under control, he obviously took note of my silences and seems to be working on taking care of it.

My anxiety is that I am not a natural nurturer and I never have been. That’s one reason we chose to be child-free. We would have been terrible parents. Now I’m looking at eldercare in my future with no long term care insurance for a man who I love dearly but he periodically decides that he knows better than doctors what is wrong with him, and he has a rare progressive muscle disease among many other serious health problems. I worry about my ability to care for him and the alterations we need to do to the house if he has to start using a wheelchair. So yeah, it might be time to go back to therapy. I just wish I could get him to go.

As far as my own health, I learned something important since coming back from vacation. I started taking ALL my meds in the morning. I’ve taken them at night for years because it’s easier for me to remember and I don’t eat anything until a few hours after I get up. And voilà! My restless legs disappeared. Boy, do I hope that this is the solution! It has been wonderful not to deal with this disruption to my sleep every night!

Now, back to travel writing.

coffee pot posts

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I see that it’s been nearly a month since I’ve posted. I was busy and anxious, then we went to Mexico for 11 days, and now I have the “back to real life” blues. I’m going to post the Mexico trip in about a dozen posts, postdating them as has been my practice for our travel in the past few years, but I have photo editing to do, and right now I want to do my coffee pot post instead.

I did post pretty faithfully to my personal Facebook account and a few photos went to Instagram and from there to the Slow Turn Studio Facebook account. I enjoy looking at my memories on Facebook, especially from May when we tend to travel the most, and the main reason I post about my travel here is because I enjoy looking back at it later. Also, when we disagree about a memory from a certain trip, I can look back and find the answer.

One thing I am grateful for here at home: I don’t have to worry about the safety of the water that comes out of the tap. At least, not yet. I usually filter our drinking and cooking water anyway.

I’m going to say this now instead of referring to it later in the travel posts: Sandy has got a lot of physical challenges when it comes to traveling. At least this time I was prepared for it, unlike the trip to Portugal which surprised both of us and scared me half to death. This trip was better because he is not in heart failure, but his polymyositis causes pain and weakness. This time I scheduled in lots of rest time and we called Ubers to take us uphill and then walked downhill with lots of breaks. I didn’t even consider any tours that involved walking. One afternoon he got on a bus and just rode around Saint Mike, as some ex-pats call it.

The art in Mexico, especially San Miguel de Allende, was so amazing and inspirational that one of the first things on my list, now that the laundry is done, is to clear off my studio table. Then I’m going to warp up the Mirrix and the other small metal frame loom for tapestries. I’ve got a tapestry workshop with MJ Lord in 10 days and the theme is Birds, Bugs, and Butterflies. Trust me when I say that I’ve got plenty of ideas!

But mainly I want to do collage and book binding again. I bought some wonderful sheets of amate paper. Also painting. Just before I left I ordered a couple of bottles of Golden High Flow Acrylic Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold, which is magic paint. I stopped putting it off because I learned that Golden’s supply of quinacridone has dried up – it has been bought by the auto industry. Once the supply out there is gone, it’s gone.

I’m sad about my garden. The pepper plants and one of the tomatoes never really recovered and their growth is probably too stunted to produce. Two died. Most of the wildflower seedlings have been eaten or died and few of the second round of planting have germinated. The lettuce didn’t germinate and a few carrots did. I do have sweet peas tumbling out of a couple of containers now. I don’t know why I bother sometimes. I spent a lot of money on those plants.

The cats are happy that we’re home and as usual they want to eat paper and plastic instead of their expensive dried prescription food or the canned Fancy Feast food. I have never had such picky cats. They won’t even eat Pill Pockets or treats any more but I can pill Diego quick as a wink if I catch him asleep. He looks at me very confused and then settles back down.

The art in Mexico, especially San Miguel de Allende, was so amazing and inspirational that one of the first things on my list, now that the laundry is done, is to clear off my studio table. Then I’m going to warp up the Mirrix and the other small metal frame loom for tapestries. I’ve got a tapestry workshop with MJ Lord in 10 days and the theme is Birds, Bugs, and Butterflies. Trust me when I say that I’ve got plenty of ideas!

But mainly I want to do collage and book binding again. Also painting. Just before I left I ordered a couple of bottles of Golden High Flow Acrylic Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold, which is magic paint. I stopped putting it off because I learned that Golden’s supply of quinacridone has dried up – it has been bought by the auto industry. Once the supply out there is gone, it’s gone.

I’ve got a massage scheduled this afternoon, and I need to grocery shop. It’s been at least two weeks since I have cooked anything.Reading: I finished “Here Be Dragons,” which I loved, and “Black Leopard, Red Wolf,” which I didn’t love, but I bought it for a Marlon James event here at UNCG. It was too gruesome for my taste in books. I can take some violence, but too many body fluids and bug/body infestations and demon possessions are not my thing at all. I am a wienie when it comes to that, and have been known to walk out of movies.

I haven’t had the focus to watch much TV or movies, but we did watch this incredibly long Mexican farce while in San Miguel de Allende that was pretty funny. I’m looking forward to getting back to Ted Lasso, finishing Picard, and a few others now that life has calmed down for a couple of months.

Okay, next I’ll be posting the trip, probably beginning early next week, but right now I need to catch up on ordinary life stuff.

art, Back Forty, book arts, coffee pot posts, collage, critters, Upcycling

Sunday Sweep – Collage and Life


^A book cover collage I made ten days ago at a craft event at Oden Brewing Company.

I’m starting to feel the relief that comes with the wind-down of the academic year. At this point, I am done with a lot of the major budget stuff. Handling the budget for large amounts of money is not something that I thought I’d ever do. Now I’ve calmed down enough to turn my mind toward some art-making.

Lately I’ve been using old book covers as substrates, sometimes with the cover intact, and sometimes with the covers stripped of the book cloth. You can get a lot of interesting colors and textures with the parts of a book cover and spine. Sometimes you find paper from an older book under the spine. The endbands and mesh holding the covers to the spine are nice elements. Flip over the pieces of the book cloth and papers underneath and the old glue sometimes has a scaly texture and occasionally a bit of sparkle.

The challenge I set for myself for these collages, using an old library copy of The Origins and Growth of the English Constitution, Part I, pub. 1897, was to use only the elements that were on the covers and the spine, which had split away from the textblock. I’m hanging on to the textblock for now since I’ve developed a passion for English history. From the library “card” it appears that it was never checked out, but it landed in a used book store at some point. I occasionally visit free and trash bins outside used book stores for collage fodder.

I didn’t use the back of the cloth in these two, but it has a very nice mottled light blue color. I have a few pieces to save for another. The first collage came together magically in only about an hour of moving elements around.


The second one I played with all day, taking photos, walking away, moving something as I walked by, walking away, and so forth. Here’s one of the drafts, showing the light blue back side of the book cloth. I kind of wish I had used it now, but it’s done.


And here’s the final piece:


Now wondering if I should spray it with something to protect it.

Here’s a skink couple for you, holding “hands” while sunbathing.

skink buddies

I’m pretty happy about this week. I actually got some yard work done, including getting our yard guy to come back to mow our “weeds”! Last Sunday we went to the plant sale at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, where I bought tomato and pepper plants. Naturally, the most expensive tomato plant that I bought, mainly to support the vendor who sold some unusual varieties, is not doing well at all. I think it is flea beetles. I just brushed all the plants with water and Dawn dishwashing liquid. The tomatoes and peppers this year are: (drum roll)

  • Cherokee Purple
  • Better Boy
  • Sungold
  • Roma
  • Black Plum
  • Sweet Banana (2)
  • Fish
  • Poblano
  • Red Bellfrontgarden041623

In the back, where I’ve nearly given up, I planted most of this packet of seeds in half of the womb garden. A couple of asparagus survived.


Reading: well, I’ve been slogging through Black Leopard, Red Wolf. At times it goes fast for me, at others, I lose interest. I’m reading “Here Be Dragons” at the same time, and I’m happier with that. The Marlon James book club and event is over and I haven’t even finished his first book, much less the second I was given. I have a lot of great books on tap.

Techie stuff: We switched from Spectrum Internet to T-Mobile Internet and got a higher speed for half the price with zero problems and a seamless, easy transition. Spectrum tried very hard to keep us with an almost matching offer, so if you’re not interested in leaving Spectrum, you might want to give them a call and threaten to leave. Be sure to have the information for a better offer on hand, though. T-Mobile had a 15 day free trial but we made our decision much earlier than that. And Sandy bought a new all-in-one computer yesterday. His computer was old and having problems, but he built it himself and it lasted for many years. This new one has the added value of taking up less space.

TV: I watched “Lucky Hank” for free and then bought the season. I love Bob Odenkirk in this role. It’s an academic comedy that I can relate to very much. As for the other shows, I don’t watch a lot of TV, but we both wept through “1883” and are watching “Ted Lasso” and the second season of “Picard.” I subscribed to HBO Max but so far I don’t think we’ve watched anything on it. There are a lot of good choices right now for us: the new season of “The Last Kingdom” (I think it has a different name, though), “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and I understand that the final season of “Better Call Saul” has finally popped up on one of our streaming services. I don’t have a long enough attention span for a movie right now, but I’m looking forward to watching “The Banshees of Inishiren.”

Okay, back to the outdoors for this pleasantly cool day to plant peas, carrots, and lettuce. Maybe I’ll get one of my small looms warped. Starting to think more about our San Miguel de Allende trip in a couple of weeks, which makes me a bit anxious.


art, critters, Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw Easter


From  a couple of weeks ago…1) one last photo of Bernie and Liz and the ducklings from Jerry. 2) In front of the Tipsy Toad Gallery at Cape Fear Winery, photo by Jerry. 3) Another photo by Jerry. I had to include this one because I was making a face in the first one. I cropped out my sister because she would not have liked this photo of her. 4) Peacock ain’t skeered, at Cape Fear Vineyards.

A couple of days before Easter weekend, we encouraged our friends Susan and Jerry to come down while the weather was still gorgeous. We enjoyed this outing with my sister to Cape Fear Winery for lunch and cocktails with Cape Fear Distillery liquors. I’m always fascinated with the art on the walls here…celebrity artists, photos, memorabilia, and master artists…everywhere. The owner owned a restaurant in Hollywood and had many celebrity friends. As a Joni Mitchell fan, I took this pic of a fairly recent addition to his collection.


But my real joy was seeing two paintings, with NO identification, by Donald Roller Wilson hanging in the gift shop. Not for sale, but on display. I fell in love with Donald Roller Wilson and his surreal Southern gothic stories and paintings in the 80s back in my bookselling days, when an artist book of his came through the store. I’ve seen his work in person one other time, in a Santa Fe gallery.


I bought some of Cape Fear’s really fine liquors, even though I’m not much of a liquor drinker. They are very good. Everybody was fond of a coconut cream rum mix called Beach Blast. The other night Sandy mixed it with almond milk and I thought it was tasty.

Whiteville, North Carolina, surprises me constantly. For most people it is maybe a stop on the way to the beach, and the county has some terrible politics. (I mean, they RE-ELECTED this guy.) But downtown Whiteville has some very good restaurants. My sister took me out for lunch at The Chef and The Frog, a French Asian fusion restaurant, on Tuesday, and then on Friday morning we went to Penn’s Grill for a great breakfast. We liked it so much that we went again for lunch on Saturday when our friends Robin and Don were there. Of course we went to Dale’s Seafood in Lake Waccamaw for lunch one day.

On the weekend the weather was rainy and cold and the mayflies were pretty awful. We are all game players so we played Ransom Notes and Quirkle Cubes for hours. The weather cleared on Sunday and a mayfly hitched a ride back with us to Greensboro. I named him Henry. Here’s a haiku about Henry.

My mayfly Henry
Abides on my fingertip
Time has no meaning
critters, Family, Lake Waccamaw

Catching Up


Here’s where I spent the last part of March and the first part of April – at Lake Waccamaw in Columbus County, North Carolina. I took a photo of this wonderful map from 1915 (Field of Operations, Soil Map) at Penn’s Grill in Whiteville, where we liked our breakfast so much, we went back for lunch the next day.

I went to Lake Waccamaw for my brother-in-law’s memorial party. My sister did a great job arranging it all, renting a large AirBNB home that accommodated most of the out-of-town guests, although this was mostly meant for the community of Lake Waccamaw. She had not meant to have a large event, but people kept asking about it. Tim was very, very loved.

She included some of the music that he requested for it, including Lucky Man by ELP. She told a lot of funny anecdotes about Tim, two of his best friends from different eras in his life spoke about him, and then Brooke, his daughter, read a poem about him. There was a ton of great food and a bar on the porch. I’m sure that he would have been pleased.


A few days before that, a poetry reading was held in his honor in Whiteville. Many people did not know about Tim’s love of poetry and support for other poets. One day I’d like to print a handmade book of his poetry.

I hung out with my sister and watched Bernie and Liz, her favorite duck couple that she raised from ducklings, bring their first brood of sixteen ducklings to her back yard! We got to see the babies on their first day out, then the next day we saw them take their first swim, close enough that we could see their little webbed feet paddle under the water. We knew that it was likely that not even half of them would survive with all the predators about, and a few nights later, five of them were dead or missing. Lisa thinks it was an owl.


Lisa and I were very laid back. We relaxed and read and played games and ate mostly leftovers from the party. The weather was gorgeous. One afternoon, on the ducklings’ first day, I sat in a chair outside reading and watching them. That’s when I think that I was eaten up by fire ants. I didn’t notice the bites until later, about two dozen! Fortunately, my sister has some good meds for them and so after a week I was not itching any more.

The lake has its beauty and its sadness – the circle of life took Bernie and Liz a couple of days after we left. They simply disappeared. We assume they were protecting their babies from one of these guys, since Liz hatched her babies across the street in the canal:


The good news is that the eleven ducklings were still alive as of yesterday, and one of the mallard drakes who can’t fly because of a wing injury seems to have taken over their protective care. Lisa is feeding them, as she does all the ducks that come to her yard.

More beauty – no one has mowed the back yard of our family house:


More in the next post.

Asheville, fiber art, Reading, tapestry, Tapestry Weavers South, weaving

Wednesday Waiting for Ted Lasso Post

I went to Asheville with my sister this past weekend to the Tapestry Weavers South get-together at the Folk Art Center exhibition of “Follow the Thread.” She drove from Lake Waccamaw, we had lunch at Sushi Republic, then she drove us to Asheville. That’s a lot of driving in one day! That evening we had dinner at the Red Rocker Inn in Black Mountain, a place that held fond memories for her as in past trips with Tim. After seeing it I’d like to stay there with Sandy one weekend. We really love Black Mountain and I would love to be able to live there one day if I don’t emigrate to another country.

We relaxed on Saturday morning before driving to downtown Asheville where we did a bit of shopping before eating lunch at Tupelo Honey. The shrimp and grits were delicious, and those biscuits…wow. That evening we had dinner at Rendezvous, a French restaurant in a converted church, with April and Don. We were still stuffed from eating lunch and goodies at the TWS reception so we ordered small plates. I had smoked duck breast with a blueberry compote and Lisa had a stuffed portobello mushroom. Both dishes were divine.

Here’s a better photo of “A Place You’ve Never Been” which was sold.


I forgot my phone so I don’t have photos, but Lisa took a lot of the exhibit. She was very impressed and we tried to recruit her into the tapestry weaving world but couldn’t lure her in. I broke my rule about buying new pottery at the Folk Art Center Southern Highland Craft Guild shop, which means I have to get rid of something, but come on, how was I supposed to resist this cup with Diego and Pablocito on it? Update: the artist is Ann Gleason of Tryon, NC.

I was asked about what I am working on now, and I realized for the first time in many years I do not have a work in progress on a loom. But I have ideas!

Rascal and Sissy

While we were gone, Sandy sold one of our reenactment tents so the purging continues.

I finished “Lessons in Chemistry” and started “Here Be Dragons” by Sharon Penman. I’m related to many characters in the book. Now I want to go to Wales. A large branch of my family tree immigrated here from Wales around the turn of the 18th century. However, I was just given a copy of “Moon Witch, Spider King” by Marlon James for a book club discussion on March 29. I didn’t realize it was the second in a trilogy so I downloaded “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” and will switch over to that right away.

We’re halfway into the second season of “Picard,” which is great, and Sandy started watching “1883,” which I intend to do but I can’t watch but so much TV at a time. I’d rather read. Now we are eagerly waiting for the second episode of this season’s “Ted Lasso.” I really like having to wait a week for a new episode. I’ve never particularly cared for binging. Part of the enjoyment is in the anticipation.

coffee pot posts, Downsizing, Reading

Sunday sweep

I can’t think of anything much I did this week that was very interesting, but Sandy and I have gotten some stuff out of here to various thrift stores and charities and sold some of our American Revolution reenactment stuff. This was the weekend of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse reenactment, and as it often happens, the second day was canceled because of weather. Sandy packed up a woven basket backpack and trooped out there yesterday afternoon hawking his wares, but everybody was taking down their camps at that point and getting on the road. He did sell a few items and then one person from in town came to our house this morning and bought some items.

I threw out a LOT of food and found some in the freezer that I would have eaten had it not gotten buried. I need to keep on top of this from now on. My anxiety tells me that I may need something one day. I need to tell my anxiety to relax and shut up.

It was too warm for the snow to stick this morning. I slept through it anyway. In my dreams I was back in classes, searching for the right art class for me. I also failed college algebra twice and finally passed it with a D. I shouted to a friend, “I never made a D in my life!” The funny thing was that I was rather proud of failing that class. It was like an opposite school anxiety dream.

We socialized this week. I went with a friend to Oden mid-week and had a couple of brews and food from a great taco truck. Then Sandy and I met some friends from way back at Potent Potables in Jamestown – I’m talking early 80s – and then ate seafood for the first time since the pandemic shutdown at our favorite oyster bar across the street.

I’ve been feeling very weird about all this back to the past stuff – “like a pigeon from hell” as the Pretenders put it. I was a very fucked up person at that time with substance abuse and undiagnosed mental illness, and I haven’t remained friends with hardly anyone from high school or college because of embarrassment. But friends from that time keep getting in touch so obviously it isn’t an issue for them. I keep reminding myself that if we are still alive and in touch, then we all have moved on and become better people. But the memories plague me.

Now I’m heading out for my monthly massage. When I get back, I’ll cook and probably watch some TV, since we just canceled Hulu and Peacock and substituted HBO Max and Paramount Plus for a while. I watched “Women Talking” the other night and was blown away. There are many good movies I have missed because of my difficulty in paying attention to videos. I’m looking forward to catching up on the Picard series and the whole Yellowstone thing as well.

Books: I finished “When Christ and His Saints Slept” and “Rules of Civility.” I shot through “Rules” like a bullet and then found “A Gentleman in Moscow” at the used bookstore. I also found “Here Be Dragons” by Sharon Penman, which is a Welsh saga and so I’m pretty happy about my reading future. Currently I am over halfway through “Lessons in Chemistry.” At first it was seriously upsetting me and I wondered if I was in the mood to read it right now. But the dog and the kid saved it for me and now that I’m past some of the most infuriating and sad parts I am enjoying it very much.

There are used tenor saxophones at the used book store that I am so tempted by but so far I have resisted. I used to play baritone sax in our high school jazz band. I wouldn’t even know how to play any more. We have a house full of unplayed, lonely musical instruments and I’m not inclined to add another. I’m not musically talented (believe me, I tried) and choices had to be made. I can’t do (or try) to do all the things I want to do. However, I have heard “Pick Up the Pieces” by the Average White Band in my head ever since I noticed the saxes for sale and my fingers itch. “Baker Street” was taunting me the other day.

Next weekend I’m heading to Asheville with my sister and a friend to see the tapestry exhibit at the Folk Art Center. There are lots of photos on the Tapestry Weavers South Facebook page.