I’ve been neglectful of the blog, as usual, but my mental health bogged down for a few weeks. I feel better now.
I threw a soiree for Sandy’s 65th birthday at Cafe Europa on Nov. 16 that went well. My sister and brother-in-law came to it, which made us both very happy. I don’t have any good photos because it was a little too dark for my camera. We haven’t had a party since Sandy’s 50th birthday, mainly because of my overwhelming anxiety about throwing parties. That one was fun but definitely had its problems. We had just moved into our house and didn’t have as much stuff so there was more room for people. Nowadays, it would be a real squeeze. We don’t have the back deck any more and I can’t even figure out how to make room for a Christmas tree.
The following week we went to Lake Waccamaw, as has become the tradition. As usual, the photos begged to be taken. There are different birds at Lake Waccamaw in fall and winter, and that’s a nice change from the usual mallards. There were flocks of American coots and we identified a pair of buffleheads one day. Photos at the end of the post.
The big surprise was when we went to lunch at Cape Fear Vineyards near White Lake in Bladen County. Seriously in the middle of nowhere, and as a former resident of Robeson County, I know about nowhere. Delicious food at decent prices, beautiful grounds, horses, miniature horses, llamas, and an art collection worth millions of dollars. There were at least a couple of hundred autographed celebrity photos and paintings, prints and memorabilia from movie and rock stars, including every member of the Beatles. But also, many signed prints and lithographs from Dali, Picasso, Chagall, even a Renoir. Shepard Fairey prints in the freakin’ bathroom. I was stunned. The owner moved back home after years of owning a restaurant in L.A., and he was friends with a lot of famous people. The question remains, why would anybody rich want to move back to inland eastern North Carolina? Amazing.
After that we took a little two-car ferry across the Cape Fear River and back just for fun.
And here are my annual November Lake Waccamaw shots. We stayed at Fred’s (now Weezer’s and our family’s) house again. The first time we’ve stayed there since it has central heat.
American coots on the lake and on the canal:
Big Bird came by at some point that morning (great blue heron).
Did I catch a flying saucer in this photo?
My love/hate relationship with Daylight Saving Time continues. Even though I love that extra hour of sleep in the morning I do not love the earlier darkness at the end of the day. Then spring is so hard to adjust back! I have always had a very regulated body clock. My husband does not and can stay up all night and sleep most of the day on the weekend then switch back to an 8-5 weekday schedule. I envy that and his ability to fall asleep in less than 60 seconds, but I also believe that it affects his health negatively.
My spirits are better this week although it seemed like time dragged. Last Sunday I made myself go to the studio and then made myself sit down at my sewing machine just to play with tshirt scraps. I ended up with a block I liked and will do more in this vein.
Friday night Sandy and I took his little bongo drums to the drum circle that meets in Center City Park on First Friday nights. (They won’t meet again until March or April.) That was fun but I think I’d like to get a bodhran, which is an Irish drum. The vibration on my fingers is a little too much. Then we went to Little Brother Brewing, a new micro brewpub on South Elm, and listened to feminist poetry. An Asheville-like evening in downtown Greensboro.
I’ve been purging collage materials from my studios, trying to get ready to consolidate them if necessary. When I get blocked, I reorganize. I have a lot of pure junk paper that I am recycling, but I also have a lot of old dictionaries, textbooks, natural history books, music sheets, maps, and atlases. My plan is to make collage variety packs to sell at a very low cost because I know there are artists who would love them. I’ll include painted and handmade papers as well. I’ll probably get this going around Christmas when I have time off and sell them through here, my Facebook page, and Paypal.
I think that I’ll make paper and fabric garlands and prayer flags too.
Now, going to work on “First, the Seed” and “Flow” books for the Triangle Book Arts show if I can get my worktable cleared off!
Whoa, stayed up way too late last night, reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. This is not an endorsement of this book. Rather it is the desire to finish it and move on to an author that I like better. He does hook me enough that I can’t simply not finish the book though. I read 1Q84 and I really wish I had those weeks of my life back. I tried this one on a recommendation because I’m usually willing to give a writer another chance.
To lighten my reading up I went back to the Poldark series by Winston Graham, which is so fluffy it is a huge relief and I can pick it up after weeks and not be lost. With Murakami I find myself searching backwards constantly for clues I remember but can’t find. This must be satisfying to his multitudes of fans but it drives me crazy.
This weekend I have been petsitting for my neighbors, which is a pretty big undertaking. They have three geriatric dogs, two cats, and a parrot. In exchange for our brief periods of care, they have taken care of our cats for our long and more frequent vacations. It works out well, since our cats are extremely low maintenance these days. I am reminded of how much I am intolerant of the smell of unwashed dog, and how much I love the smell of my cats’ fur. Although when Squirt went through renal failure he smelled awful. The parrot and I are wary of each other after we scared each other the last time, but this weekend he talked to me and I tried not to jump when he took his fruits and veggies from my hand. I am not a pet bird person at all.
These dogs don’t seem to like being outside, which baffles me. They have a great fenced in backyard.
I’ve been thinking a lot about feminism with the #MeToo movement that happened this week, and its connection to fighting sexual assault and harassment. I like to think of myself as radical and far left, but I get a bit fed up with radical feminism sometimes. One of the posters that the organizers of the Women’s March handed out proclaimed “Women are Perfect.” WTF, really? Some of the worse sexists and bigots I ever met were women. Then a bunch of feminists got all pissed off because Bernie was invited to speak at a women’s rights conference. We’ll all be better off when we a) acknowledge that women need to also take responsibility for their own bad behavior, including Hillary, and b) stop lumping all men together as deplorables, and accept that they sometimes make mistakes as young men and can change with guidance. And yes, accusations of sexual harassment can sometimes be used as a weapon. I’ve seen it happen to a friend, and a woman was complicit.
I say this from my own experience as someone who has been sexually assaulted twice and sexually harassed more times than I can count. All of our experiences are unique and they should all be taken seriously and listened to as separate experiences. But if you don’t know yet that there are some women in this world who are fucking evil, you are not paying attention.
Speak up if you can (I didn’t and still can’t), get help (I didn’t), and know that nearly every woman shares your experience. Don’t blame yourself, but do realize that when you’re young and alcohol is involved, bad judgement can happen on both sides. Consider that if violence or coercion was not involved, that the other person’s judgement may have been just as impaired as yours. In one of my experiences, the guy was wrong, but we were both hammered and I can’t hate him for reading the situation wrong, although I do wonder how attractive a young woman who had just thrown up and passed out really could have been. That was on my 20th birthday. In the other, which happened when I was 18, I’d put him in prison if I could, lock him up, and throw away the key. But at the time, all I could think about was not putting my parents through that pain of knowing, and that I was stupid for not getting out of the car and running. And yes, worried that they would not support me.
Above all, be kind to yourself.
The election of a sexual predator to “lead” our country has done more to unravel my psychological health and bring up terrible memories than anything in my whole life up until today. The worst of these experiences happened in the late 70s and early 80s when I honestly did not know what to do and blamed myself for letting myself get in the situation or didn’t want to “rock the boat” at work because it was so hard to find a job. Some of my first serious run-ins with sexism came from women.
Now that these sexual predators are empowered and in charge, at least they are being exposed and we are bonding together in fighting them. They have always been there, and like the white supremacists they are scurrying around like cockroaches in the light. Don’t forget the female traitors who uplift them. They are just as bad.
Yeah, it’s pretty likely that I’ll come back and delete this post.
Last night, for the first time since surgery, I could turn over in bed without my insides feeling like they are rolling around! Sometimes the absence of a thing feels like a real thing. So I’m pretty happy this morning. Haven’t even taken a Tylenol yet, although I will.
I think I’ll go to the Greensboro Farmer’s Curb Market and buy broccoli and some combo of locally raised beef and pork and chicken. They have wonderful lean brats and
sausages there too. I always see a lot of great people there. Back when I was agoraphobic it was one of the first places where I felt comfortable as I was healing.
My field peas are about done but my butterbeans are having a big end of season run. I picked twice this week and shelled, blanched, and froze them. My tomatoes are about done too and I’m going to dehydrate my last batch this weekend.
The California fires are nightmares and my heart hurts so much for the terror and trauma and loss of the people there. Fire is a particular dread of mine and I’ve lost some loved ones to it.
I went to two Art-is-You retreats in Petaluma and one of my classes with Roxanne Stout went to beautiful Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma to sketch and take photos. I hope they survive this. What beautiful country it is there. It’s little wonder so many people have moved there to retire. It seems from the news reports that many of the elderly residents could not escape in time. So horrible.
I’ve been fantasizing about moving west again despite all this. I keep thinking about a co-housing community near Forest Grove, Oregon. We met one of the residents at a bluegrass jam in a tiny brewery there, and he asked us out to a cookout there the day we were leaving. Even offered to pick us up. Unfortunately it was 100 degrees that day and Susanne had to get on down the road to Eugene to meet her boyfriend and turn in the rental car, so we couldn’t go. I looked it up online yesterday. I would really love to live in that area. I think Sandy would like it too.
I picked the glue out of my belly button and I’m so glad about that. It was driving me crazy. The little things, you know. Also, I never thought I’d be typing that sentence.
Also on my mind: if given the opportunity to sell my part of my cousin’s lake house, will I do it? Anyone who has read this blog for long or knows me well knows of my intense attachment to it. I don’t consider it partly mine because my cousin’s wife has lifetime rights but she can’t tear down the house or sell the property, so apparently it IS partly mine. I don’t pay a cent in taxes or expenses for it but she encourages me to go down there and stay as much as I want. I hear that she is considering making us an offer, which I’m sure means that the house will come down. The lot is what is valuable.
I could use the money for retirement, or buy a nice camper and go where I please.
Ay yi yi. Probably won’t happen but it set my brain in motion. And I’m still smarting over selling my mother’s house.
Okay, better get to the farmer’s market. Time has run away from me. I’ve signed up to do this, which I pretty much do all the time anyway.