Tapestry Weavers South

Tapestry Weaver South Retreat 2021

This past weekend was spent in Elkin, North Carolina, a sweet little town in the Appalachian foothills, mostly at the Yadkin Valley Fiber Center where Tapestry Weavers South held their annual retreat and member exhibition. This also was a celebration of Tapestry Weavers South’s 25th anniversary.

The Yadkin Valley Fiber Center relocated along with the Foothills Art Center to the old Chatham Mill building at 321 East Main St. It is a lovely historic space that is a work in progress. Leslie Fesperman’s fiber arts center is a light-filled, spacious room on the second floor, full of looms and sewing machines and resources for all kinds of fiber arts. She hosts workshops by leading artist/teachers in this welcoming space all year long.

After establishing that everyone present was vaccinated and unanimously felt comfortable without masks, we joyously shucked them and were treated to each other’s smiling faces. There was plenty of room to spread out in the YVFC.

On both Saturday and Sunday, we had an open studio and show and tell. Members bought books, equipment, and yarn to sell and donate. The opening for our “New Works by Tapestry Weavers South” exhibit was at 4 p.m. on Saturday in the gift shop on the first floor, and several tapestries were sold. After the opening, Tommye Scanlin signed copies of and talked about her recently published book The Nature of Things: Essays of a Tapestry Weaver and her upcoming Tapestry Design Basics and Beyond: Planning and Weaving with Confidence.

On Sunday, we had a delicious brunch that was included in the retreat, and an informal members’ meeting in which we discussed our goals and challenges moving forward as a guild.

Two classes were scheduled before and after the retreat: “Tapestry for Beginners” taught by Betty Hilton-Nash, and “Designing with Tapestry in Mind” taught by Tommye Scanlin. The guild plans to continue having an annual exhibit and classes for both beginning weavers and more advanced weavers in the future.

After our scheduled activities, members and their partners enjoyed meals and libations at several restaurants and brewpubs within walking distance of the center. It was good to see our creative friends in person again!

(Cross-posted with photos at Tapestry Weavers South.)

coffee pot posts, Reading

A cool Sunday in the front room

20210530_124641Our house is 99 years old this year.

Sandy has rearranged the front “living” room, which is a long narrow room stretching across the whole front of the house. In other Craftsman bungalows this room is divided into two small rooms. It’s always been hard to decide how to arrange this room, with the wood stove on one side and the cable connections on the other. It is 11 feet wide on this end and about 13 feet wide on the fireplace side, and I’m guessing about 30 feet long. There used to be French doors leading into the “dining room.” We have usually tended to divide it up like two spaces. For a while I put room dividers of books and art supplies and made this part my studio, but it was always too dark and crowded. I like it right now – cozy with the big sofa and big chair, art books beside me, ottoman to put my feet up, cat tree between the sofa and chair, soft lighting. My mother’s little reading floor lamp is in the corner, with a watercolor paper shade that she punched and snipped a design into. Yes, the plaster needs repair!

And that front door – oof. One day.

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When we first moved in here, we were so used to living in a tiny space and so intimidated about what to do with this room that we left it empty for months.

Anyway, I am happy about the change and I suspect it will get me out of the bedroom more often, although I prefer it without the TV on.

One thing that I regret is that there are no photos of any rooms from my childhood home other than the living room, where we seldom spent any time, or a few dining room shots that only show the counter with food on it. So I’m trying to resolve that with this home. One thing that I love about the digital age is that you can take lots of photos and not worrying about the expense of wasting film!

I figure that if we ever get around to remodeling the bedrooms and Sandy’s man cave, and boy, do they need it, we can sleep in this spot. The floor and ceiling and sliding closet doors and walls need to be redone in the small bedroom where I sleep. The old ceiling tiles in there are stained and bulging from old roof leaks and the wallpaper is the only thing holding the cracked plaster in the walls together. The sliding closet doors are metal and difficult and noisy to open and close. The whole house tilts to the south. We did fix the foundation years ago, at least.

When we go into our neighbors’ houses, it is always interesting to see how they have dealt with this similar layout. Most of them knocked out the wall that made this room two rooms. One has a tiny foyer because they put in stairs and built a second story.

These things will have to wait, but luckily I am not the sort who has to have everything just right. However, I did always think that I would have these repairs done long before now, and we can’t just let the house fall apart. We have spent a lot of money on this house on the more basic stuff – electrical repair, new HVAC system, roof, new chimneys. I admit that the solar panels were a bit over the top – they will never pay themselves off, probably, because Duke Energy is going to keep raising their fee to connect them to the net metering system unless politicians have the will to stop them. (The unfairness of this kept me awake a couple of nights this week, until I convinced myself not to worry about something that I have no control over.) I do like that I am producing renewable energy on my rooftop. I probably should have spent the money on something else, though, in hindsight. I never regret spending money on travel.

I have been reading a book that surprised me – The Master, by Colm Toibin, a fictional biography of the author Henry James. I picked it up a couple of times and gave up after the first chapter. I was disappointed because I had picked it because I am focused on Irish writers and this was not about Ireland. Once I managed to get into it, though, I was entranced with the complexity of the characters and I felt as though I had met a twin soul, as far as his introversion and inner turmoil. In particular, the women caught my heart. It made realize that I had never read Henry James, or seen the movies based on his books. So I downloaded “The Portrait of a Lady” and I am watching it on Amazon Prime right now.

I took my last prednisolone this morning and I am looking forward to Sandy being off of his steroid doses, as his are much stronger and more frequent that mine were. It suppresses your immune system so it has made me more anxious about catching a variant of Covid-19. My heel is somewhat better but I haven’t really put it to the test yet. I will be on meloxicam for another three weeks, so I stopped drinking. I haven’t forgotten what strong anti-inflammatories did to my gut years ago. The fridge has lots of good ales in it, and I haven’t touched one in a week. It is very tempting, but I will try to save them to take to the lake in a couple of weeks.

Now there is beef stew in the crock pot. A few carrot tops that had sprouted were planted in one of the containers at the front. I haven’t done this before so we will see if they take root or if they become snacks for the squirrels. I hear our neighbor across the street playing cornhole with his grandkids. We are about to go out and do some shopping (with our masks on) and later if the light and temperature is good on the porch, I’ll weave a little bit on the lake tapestry. That will be for tomorrow’s post.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts

Saturday on the front porch

20210529_115738I haven’t done much lately, trying to heal this heel. Heal, heel! I puttered around the garden this morning, but my Achilles tendon doesn’t care much for squatting, so here I am back on the front porch. Fortunately the heat lifted with the rain last night and it is expected to be cool tomorrow in the upper 60s!

Sandy is in the back, burning pieces of an old rotten pallet in the fire pit. It was once part of a compost heap that is long gone. Porfirio says that he might be able to come back to work in the yard on Tuesday. If he can’t, I will look for someone else to hire. We both reached the point where we agree that help is needed.

I haven’t planted anything new in the Back Forty this year, so far. Everything has gone into the front garden, mostly into pots. The feverfew is just beginning to flower and the evening primrose will be bursting into blooms very soon. The fig tree is huge and will have to be cut down by at least two-thirds this winter.

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In the front, we have green tomatoes, a few peppers, and coreopsis providing a welcome burst of yellow.

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The foxgloves are winding down. The azalea blossoms have turned brown. Every year I am tempted to remove these white azaleas. I didn’t plant them and I don’t particularly like them.  Note a calla lily that is emerging in the center of the photo below. It was given to me as a potted plant twenty years ago and I planted it just to see what would happen. I always forget about it until it surprises me each year. Hopefully I will get a bloom this year.

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One of the best things about the front porch and how we are so close to the street is the interaction with our neighbors and people who are walking, often with their dogs. There is a certain corner of our yard that I have dubbed the Dogs Community Board because every dog stops to sniff it. This morning I heard again that our yard is a green oasis on their daily walk. That makes me feel good. Consider that when we bought this house, this was just a small patch of grass and the white azaleas, with many electrical lines crossing above.

This is how I repurposed the original bird cage that Bernie and Liz lived in. Squirrels loved to dig in this plant box. Usually I grow lettuce here but this summer I am growing basil.

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coffee pot posts

Wednesday afternoon

I went to the podiatrist on Monday afternoon, and they x-rayed my right foot and found a bone spur right where my achilles tendon attaches to the back of my heel. So it turns out that it was achilles tendinitis after all, but caused by this bone spur. That is not easily resolved, but the doctor gave me a steroid shot in the heel, which surprisingly did not hurt at all, and put me on meloxicam and a prednisolone pack. The goal is to get me walking and hiking again this summer, lose some weight, and be ready to walk in Ireland and Portugal come September. I am happy to take the meds because it should also help me with the tendinitis that has reemerged in my left wrist, just in time for the tapestry retreat and workshop in less than two weeks from now.

The plan in September is to fly to Ireland and stay in Dublin a few days, take a side trip to Lisbon for four days, then fly back to Dublin and take the train to Westport, where we will stay in an AirBNB in a little beach town near Achill Island (just noticed that name – ha!) called Mulranny for a week and chill. It is next to the Great Western Greenway for walking and biking. The current plan is that I will take an art class next door and use her studio for a couple of days to learn and play with encaustic mixed media. We’ll take some side trips, but I think that after that first busy week, we’ll need the downtime.

Except for Dublin, I found really cheap housing for this trip by booking early this year, and choosing only places that let me cancel without financial penalty up to a week before our trip. I have reserved a room in the same B&B where we stayed in Howth, Dublin, which is inexpensive in a lovely area, but I am toying with spending the money to stay in central Dublin instead, where it will be easy and quick to take the DART train and taxis where we would like to go. I was warned by several locals NOT to take the DART on the north side of Dublin, because it apparently goes through some rough areas. In 2012, we took the bus from the airport to Dublin, then got off at the wrong stop. We ended up walking a long way with our luggage. The next time we took a long meandering bus ride to the Sutton DART stop and then the DART from Sutton to Howth, but I am still uncomfortable with using the bus system, simply because everyone seems to be in a hurry and I feel like I am holding things up by asking basic questions that everyone else knows. So, in a nutshell, I feel dumb and anxious on a bus. And it would be so easy to take the DART all the way from Howth to Dublin. Maybe this time I’ll be able to understand it a little better. Or maybe I’ll just take a fecking cab and be done with it.

The AirBNB I found in Lisbon is cute as a button and near the waterfront in an arty district near the museums. Supposedly it is noisy there, but considering that here I hear fireworks, gunshots, and racing motorcycles and cars late at night more and more in the past couple of years, that is not likely to bother either of us much.

This past Sunday, we hung around outside in the Oden Brewing beer garden and listened to open mic night. I was just up there to buy delicious bulgogi cheesesteaks from the Urban Street Grill food truck, when I spotted a friend, Lisa Woods, who I was just beginning to get acquainted with before the pandemic shutdown. She was played washboard with Michael Blind-Dog Gatewood. We sat at a picnic table with them and their friends/partners and enjoyed the music. I really love the old blues and music from the early 20th century. Now that we are friends with so many musicians, I guess that there will be a lot of live music in our future.

I feel like both of us are embracing the future more positively now, and more realistically.  Things can turn on a dime – for example, one of my favorite family members is not doing well right now and this summer could end up being rough. But I feel like I have the strength to handle changes right now, good and bad. Aging happens, along with all the stuff that comes along with it, and you know, it’s ride or die. I guess we are ready to ride.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters, depression/anxiety, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

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^Statue on the corner of Walker and Elam Avenues, Greensboro, NC

It’s still comfortably cool on the front porch, but according to the weather forecast it will be turning to summer temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s soon. Dry, too, with some drought concerns beginning to pop up. When I was at the lake last time, the water was already pretty low.

Both of us have been in better spirits this week. Sandy is going to the Aquatic Center for water exercise classes and swimming laps, and he started the steroids on Thursday. He will be on them for a month and then the doctor switches him to something else.

I’m kind of craving a steroid shot in my wrist again since of course I have overdone it with the yard work and otherwise usually holding a book, Kindle, or phone in my hand until my Dequervain’s tendinitis in my left wrist has flared up and my carpal tunnel has flared up in my right wrist. So I’m typing this with two different kinds of wrist braces on, and will try to hold back on the gardening and weeding this weekend. However, this pain is old news to me and even though it is distressing (I had surgery on the left wrist 8 years ago) I don’t struggle with it as much mentally as I used to.

I bought some more tomato and pepper plants at Deep Roots Market on Sunday afternoon and planted them into the pots: Pink Brandywine tomatoes, hot banana peppers, and jalapenos. Then when we popped into the Bestway for a couple of things I noticed that they had a small pot of sweet basil with lots of seedlings crammed into it for $2.99. They are not particularly happy now that I’ve pulled them apart and planted them, but I didn’t really expect them to be. If I get two healthy ones out of the dozen or so that are in there, I win.

We both had massages Monday night and the therapist, who teaches it at the local community college so knows her stuff, basically said that I needed more work that one hour could handle. Ha.

Late Tuesday afternoon I saw my therapist for the first time since November, 2018, when the election results helped calm me down for a while. I told her that I was seeing her on my best day in at least two years and I couldn’t make the appointment to get help earlier because I was too depressed to do it. Such a vicious cycle, depression and agoraphobia. I really like her and was happy that I started it up again. There was also a nice surprise – my insurance doesn’t even charge a co-pay now. I don’t know how long that lasts, but yay.

Anyway, the point is that Sandy and I are both busy getting our shit together and back to living the best life possible. I have a podiatrist appointment on Monday, too, so new shoes will probably be in my future. We both need to do a bit of clothes shopping.

We are planning our summer – in two weeks we go up the road to Elkin, NC, for my Tapestry Weavers South retreat. I’ll be taking a tapestry design course from Tommye Scanlin on that Monday and Tuesday.

Speaking of Tommye, I set up a Bookshop of my own and right now I am featuring tapestry design books. I get a small commission, and a book wholesaler, Ingram, hosts the sites. It’s a way to support local bookstores and publishers online without going through Amazon. You can buy Tommye’s book “The Nature of Things: Essays by a Tapestry Weaver” or pre-order her upcoming book “Tapestry Design Basics and Beyond” there. The link is on my sidebar and also here: Slow Turn Books. I ordered “The Nature of Things” from my shop and it arrived within a week – what a lovely book! I have ordered from Boomerang Bookshop as well, and the entire Bookshop website is fun to search.  You can order from many independent bookstores there.

I will be adding more book lists as the summer goes on – probably focused on the fiber art/mixed media/collage artists who I’ve taken courses from and love the most. I’m not trying to compete with any bookstores or make any money off this – just promote the books and art that I love and have some fun. I miss my bookstore days, but I don’t miss the poverty wages.

Here’s a wildlife shot: The mighty cougar stalks his prey.

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Back Forty, Coronavirus Chronicles

Monday morning

20210506_184420Writing on the front porch, working from home still. Soon, that too will be a memory. This is the climbing rose that is technically on my neighbor’s property. I saved it from the landscapers that plowed up everything else because they think that two foot strip is on our side of the property line. We are going to see if we can root some of it and plant some in the back forty. It has a lovely smell. And of course, there’s the daisy fleabane that I let grow each year as a backdrop.

Like most people, I have mixed feelings about the new CDC guidance on wearing masks. On the one hand, I am happy about it and tend to trust the scientists. On the other hand, there is no way to tell if an unmasked person is vaccinated or is being a maskhole, so I’ll continue to be cautious and wear a mask in inside spaces and in crowded situations, but mainly, I’ll avoid crowds and inside spaces the same way that I did before. Plus, I am not yet sure what we will need to do about masks with Sandy’s medical situation, although the doctor did say it should be fine to go to Europe in September.

However, Sandy and I did eat dinner inside the Green Valley Grill at the bar last night for our anniversary. I knew that they were a safe space, and they had spaced out their tables and put clear plastic dividers every 2-3 seats at the bar. I had the pecan crusted trout – I always have the pecan crusted trout, I should try something else but it is so good – and Sandy had the Athens pasta.

We toasted my friend and colleague, Karl Schleunes, a retired historian of the Holocaust who passed away yesterday. I already miss Karl. He was a kind and funny man, a good friend. When I first began at UNCG, he was the associate head and I was his admin, then he was interim head the next year and his admin was on maternity leave, so I had a great working relationship with him as well. I never, ever was made to feel that I was anything but his equal, and that was rare in professors of his generation. Since his retirement, he stopped by our offices to visit often, and took “the history girls” out to lunch once or twice a year. I miss his smile and deep soft voice and chuckle.

Yesterday I mainly rested my feet, but we went to Deep Roots for groceries and Sandy rearranged the “living room” to a cozier, less cluttered space. Well, it will be less cluttered. We are still working on that part. It is embarrassing for us to have anybody come inside.

Sandy is starting to sound enthusiastic about going to Europe so I think that our situation will turn out okay as long as Europe lets us in by September. If not, I’ll cancel everything and we’ll figure out something else.

On Saturday afternoon I did a lot of weeding and filling containers with potting soil and adding a big bag of raised bed soil that Sandy had bought last year to the new hugelkultur bed. I’m still not sure what I will plant there, considering I watched four little groundhogs playing in and out of the holes in that cement block wall in the background this morning. One climbed a tree. Maybe basil. I planted pink Brandywine tomatoes, hot banana peppers, and jalapeno peppers in the remaining containers. There is still a whole lot to do, including killing a healthy stand of poison ivy growing around the maple stump.

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Uncategorized

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I’m just starting to get the hang of this block editor, but I still haven’t figured out how to add the categories, which I have used since my first day of WordPress, and added to the old posts that I transferred over. I hope to add these to my newer posts one day since I find them very useful.

Dragged kicking and screaming into any new technological change, that’s me! I wouldn’t even use an answering machine for years, and I was one of the last people I know to get a cell phone that I actually used. You’d think that we’d be different in the O’Neill household, given our IT pasts, but my husband is even more of a Luddite with his phone. I never have liked the constantly connected culture, and I pretty much hate talking on the phone. From what I’ve read, that is common among introverts.

And the answering machine came in handy the week that an insane husband of a friend left threatening messages for me in the middle of the night. That little tape is still in a drawer somewhere. It stopped the phone calls when we informed his wife of its existence.

So anyway, I uploaded photos from the last week yesterday, and if you aren’t interested in our personal lives or my brain dump, you can stop right here and go back a post.

Our week began with Sandy again calling and calling the surgeon’s office to get them to send the lab results from his muscle biopsy to the rheumatologist’s office. Finally a staff member from the rheumatologist’s office got involved and got the results just in time for his appointment on Thursday. His biopsy was APRIL 1st. The results have been back for weeks. I never want to have any surgery from Central Carolina Surgery after this.

Anyway, it was not good news, but I didn’t expect good news, having done a lot of research on what the doctor suspected. The diagnosis is polymyositis, a rare auto-immune muscle inflammatory disease where the immune system attacks healthy muscle tissue and destroys it. Part of the reason it might be rare is that it is hard to diagnose without this muscle biopsy. It mimicked some symptoms of shingles so much that Sandy was absolutely convinced that all of his problems were from long term shingles. His GP diagnosed shingles as soon as she saw the rash. I’m still confused whether he actually had shingles or if the shingles was in addition to the polymyositis. The doctor did say he was sorry, that he knew that Sandy thought that it was shingles, and he asked him where the rash had appeared. Apparently a rash can be one of the symptoms of polymyositis.

Since Sandy is doing much better as far as his muscle weakness, they took some more blood to see what dosage of steroids he should be on. After about a month of steroids, his meds will be shifted to what they call steroid-sparing, because you can’t be on those good-feeling steroids for long.

I really want to have a one-on-one talk with his rheumatologist. Fortunately, they let me sit in on the appointment, because Sandy was an abused kid and his way of dealing with stress and bad news is to zone out and go into denial. He misses a lot of details. For instance, he thought that he wouldn’t be starting his medication until after his next appointment in June. He needs to start this asap.

I asked the doctor whether we could still take a trip to Europe in September, and he said that by then, Sandy should be able to do it. So that’s the good news! I’m so glad that we were both able to get vaccinated before he goes on immuno-suppressant drugs.

Also, this is the kind of disease that comes and goes into remission, and even though it is incurable, the meds should keep him in remission. Thank God for modern medicine.

Sandy started taking water aerobics classes at the Greensboro Aquatic Center a week ago, and this has been a very good thing. His instructor is also a massage therapist and he scheduled massages for both of us late Monday afternoon. That’s a nice thing to look forward to on a Monday, especially since I plan to do a lot of yard work this weekend. The weather is gorgeous.

In the meantime, I decided that it is time for me to get my shit in gear and re-enter the world. For an agoraphobic, this is more complicated than you would think. Agoraphobia is not what the general public thinks it is, which is why I had my own problems getting a diagnosis. I know the red flags when it is coming back, and my red flags started waving about a year ago. It is hard work staying ahead of this mental illness, but I don’t intend to get housebound again. I have even been avoiding the front porch, where I am sitting and writing this post right now.

I went to my GP and got my own lab work done, which I have been avoiding, and talked to her about my problems with my feet. She said that she was referring me to a podiatrist but I haven’t heard anything about that. If I need surgery for this cyst on my foot, I want it in time that I am over it before traveling to Europe. If not, it will have to wait until late October. It is far enough under my high arch that it isn’t painful. I also have Achilles tendinitis which makes me pretty hard for me to walk and disrupts my sleep. I think that will be more easily solved and it is the main issue. My lab work was about the same – high cholesterol but otherwise normal. I gained five pounds, no surprise. I need to get in better shape if I want to do a lot of walking in Ireland and Lisbon.

After Sandy’s appointment on Thursday, we went out to lunch at Kiasco on their patio, and when I mentioned how good he will feel on steroids, he said that he didn’t want to take any more drugs. This is a huge warning sign and once I got home I curled up in a little ball in my bedroom for a few hours. Sandy can be extremely stubborn and self-destructive if he makes up his mind about something, and won’t veer off that course even if he sees that he was wrong. I decided to give him a few days of space to get used to the idea, and have only mentioned the steroids and how much better he will feel a couple of times.

I can see that this is going to be a rough road for both of us emotionally and for me, mentally. So I made an appointment with my therapist for Tuesday afternoon. I’m actually feeling better than I did a year or so ago, or I wouldn’t have been able to make the appointment. I want to stay ahead of what my brain might mistakenly instruct me to do. And then, depending on what happens, I may ask him to go with me.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll write about my upcoming travel plans and the progress with the Back Forty, if any!

Uncategorized

Friday Afternoon

I thought I’d post a few of the photos from this week before I go on to my Saturday post tomorrow.

Here are Frida and Bernie in the big cage together. They were pretty stressed at first. Frida was adjusting to her new space and Bernie was thrilled to have a new playmate and wouldn’t leave her alone. Now they seem to be fine, although I notice that Frida closes her eyes a lot, as if she is tired.

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Last Saturday afternoon we went to the department get-together at Oden Brewing, where there was a good band playing called Who I Are and a Korean bbq food truck with an amazing bulgogi cheesesteak. Yum, yum. Maybe the best food truck food I ever had – certainly the best cheesesteak sub. I loved the James Brown doll in front of the stage, and the new ESB at Oden is excellent.

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I did get out the string trimmer (or weed whacker, as I prefer to call it) and cut most of the yard, at least until I ran out of electric cord. I worked on the new hugelkultur bed by shoveling in the dirt, potatoes, and one garden snake out of the whiskey barrel planter that was falling apart. I moved a lot of rocks around since I took this photo and made hugelkultur bed look less like a shallow grave. My niece won the comment of the day on Facebook when she said, “Where’s Uncle Sandy? Don’t say out in the garden!”

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See that cement block wall in the background? I was over there taking a photo of the may pops and a little groundhog came out of the burrow on the other side to check me out. It rushed back in and is just out of the photo’s sight although I could still see it. My neighbor across the street has been feeding the groundhogs so there is not any hope of me getting rid of them. All the neighbors think that they are cute. I scream at them. Oh well. There is a red fox family around too. I think that I heard one bark the other night, and Sandy saw it in the same area. So nature might take care of the problem.20210508_14043620210508_140350

Leaving you with a foxglove and a snapdragon – the volunteers are many this year. Tomorrow I’ll probably have a lot to say, given our medical news this week and my travel plans evolving.

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Uncategorized

Saturday morning coffee pot post

My neighbor is mowing his front yard and I feel envious. We don’t have a working mower at the moment, and even though I actually enjoy mowing and weed-whacking, it sets off my tendinitis. I’m considering getting the weed-whacker out anyway. The yard guy that I was so thrilled about came by when I was at the office on Thursday to mow and clean up the yard, but he couldn’t find a parking place so he left. So frustrating! The Back Forty is looking like a prairie, which I wouldn’t mind if it didn’t breed tiger mosquitoes.

There’s something about clearing paths and breaking trails that lights up my brain when I mow. Mowing was my job growing up, and I liked it so much that I would mow neighbor’s yards, the sides of the road, and the community building lot too. Now that I have hindsight, I guess that was one way that I coped with my anxiety.

This week was the last of the semester, and things should calm down for a while, but you never know these days. We used to go on vacation in May for this reason. This year our best-laid plan is to go to Ireland with a side trip to Lisbon, Portugal in September. Hopefully the EU will be open for us by then – it sounds like it is moving in that direction. I have good deals on AirBNB apartments in western Ireland (for a week!) and in downtown Lisbon, near the museums and the river in one of the arty neighborhoods. Both can be cancelled up to a week before the rental begins. I hope that my sister and brother-in-law will join us, but that’s beginning to look doubtful. In the meantime, we’ll probably go back to the lake once or twice in the next few months.

Beautiful weather today. Sunshine and breezes, high around 70. I’m glad that I can enjoy it because I had my second shingles vaccination late Thursday afternoon and it kicked my butt yesterday. I barely felt the shot, but afterward I barely slept and had a headache for about 24 hours, not to mention an extremely sore arm. Last night I finally fell asleep with an ice pack, slept for 12 hours, and awoke feeling good. Later we will go to a get-together for our department at Oden Brewing, which has a nice outside beer garden just around the corner from my house.

We moved Frida into the cage with Bernie yesterday. After trying to catch her (we never have handled her) we finally held her cage up to Bernie’s cage and opened the two doors between them. She flew into Bernie’s cage. It was that simple. They are both exhibiting stress behaviors and Bernie has been chasing Frida around more than she’d like, but otherwise they are getting along and were kissy-kissy this morning.

I have so much that I’d like to get done this weekend. I didn’t get any weaving done because I stabbed myself in the finger with a knife on Sunday! It didn’t hurt much, amazingly, but boy, did it bleed and I thought that I might have to get stitches because it was deep. Of course my vaso vagel syncope popped out and I had to lay on the kitchen floor for about 30 minutes. Sandy stayed with me and helped me. We did pretty good first aid because it has closed up nicely and hasn’t hurt much, but working in the yard and washing dishes and weaving were out for this week.  Hopefully I will have a few photos by tomorrow evening.