Uncategorized

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I guess it is the view of the lake that makes this living room more comfortable than our living room at home, but that can’t be all of it. I should try to figure this out.

I’m giving the WordPress app on my phone a whirl. I don’t think I have enough space left in my brain to learn many new platforms.

Yesterday we had a quiet morning before we went to Dale’s and ate lunch on their screened porch. It was chilly but not too bad. I had a vegetable plate with double fried yellow squash, field peas, and collards. Sandy had country style steak, Tim had catfish bites, Brooke had fried shrimp, and Lisa basically had the same as me. Sister unity.

That was a late lunch then it was naptime and I did some prep for my dishes tonight. We ate leftovers from Thanksgiving.

We are really so fortunate.

Milo was pretty chill yesterday but he did play with Rascal. Rascal and Sissy have had enough of Milo and Sissy spent most of her time “hidden” under the cover on the daybed.

There were buffleheads out on the lake this morning. Now there is a large mat of coots floating out there.

The house is comfortable with two small electric heaters. I need to take a walk because my hips are groaning. It’s hard to make myself leave this room!

Uncategorized

Happy Buy Nothing Day!

IMG_20211125_171742_585

Now I remember why I bought a Bluetooth keyboard to go with this Kindle. At the time I was trying to avoid buying a new laptop. The space that the on screen keyboard takes up is annoying. I will have to remember to take that keyboard with me when I travel.

Anyway, we are at Lake Waccamaw (which autocorrect always wanted to change to “Saddam” before I added it to the dictionary. I’m not sure how you get from one word to the other on that one). Thanksgiving dinner was awesome, thanks to my sister who cooked ALL of it. We got here mid-afternoon and found out that the big meal would indeed be on the actual holiday, since my brother declined the invitation to come on Saturday and my niece is departing this morning. So I will be cooking my asparagus casserole and butterbeans and deviled eggs today or tomorrow to go with Lisa’s wonderful leftovers.

Tim is doing really well. We spent some time around the firepit before dinner. The kitten that they rescued from a local parking lot came to visit with my niece. It turns out that Milo is a Bengal cat and his nickname is CujoCat, because he will bite. He is already huge for his age and although he was subdued yesterday usually he is constantly running around. He finally let me pet him but you have to be vigilant. He bit Sandy but it was a play bite. He still has those needle kitten teeth. A beautiful cat!

IMG_20211125_163227_387

The heat is broken here in our house, and waiting on a part. However it hasn’t been a problem because Lisa and Tim brought over several electric space heaters, including an electric fireplace, which is a nice touch. We were both actually too warm last night. Tonight will be the test when the temperature dips below freezing.

We brought art supplies but I doubt we will use them. If I do anything it will be to paint this base, which will have many layers and components if it goes as planned.20211121_160616

Last Sunday I had some good studio time by myself. I completed this collage from three of the painted papers I made earlier this month.20211121_16012120211121_16025620211121_160241

I also worked this one a bit more. It needed more contrast. I might put some embossing powders on it too. IMG_20211121_184724_341

Finishing my coffee now and about to head back to my sister’s. Even though it is cold now, November is a beautiful time at the lake, with different birds passing through. Yesterday as we sat on the beach we could hear the coots making purring noises out on the lake somewhere. Apparently they do this in a group as a comforting sound. Seems like there is something different here every time I come here, and I’ve been coming here for sixty years. 

art, butterbeans, coffee pot posts, collage, consumerism, Coronavirus Chronicles, Mixed media art, Reading, voluntary simplicity

Sunday morning coffee pot post

And, OH! This coffee is so good. I put a big scoop of Trader Joe’s salted caramel hot cocoa mix in it. Divine. I’d really like to go back to Trader Joe’s today and buy more of this and a bunch of frozen dinners to take to work, but I considered what it would be like to go to TJ’s on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I think I’ll wait on that. I’m pretty new to Trader Joe’s since my first grocery shops were always the farmers’ market then Deep Roots then a local grocery. We listened to a story about Trader Joe’s on NPR and were fished in…it was a lovely experience. It’s good that it is on the other side of town.

The other place we shopped heavily during the pandemic was Costco, and we had a lot delivered. Once vaccines became widely available I stopped doing grocery delivery, realizing that between the mark-up on the products and the tip that I gave the shopper, I wasn’t saving any money. Sandy and I are – gasp, I’ll say it – hoarders and we got ahead on groceries at some point several years ago and our closets are generally full enough that we can get by for a few months if needed. I also have water stored in sterilized glass apple juice bottles. At first it was prepping in case of civil war or some other calamity. Little did we know how useful this would become so soon. I have to remember to rotate out the food, though. I donated some to the graduate student food drive for the food pantry this week.

20211114_195253

I have most of my grocery shopping for Thanksgiving already done so I’ll go to Deep Roots for my coffee, bread, yogurt, etc. today. My sister provides the turkey and cornbread dressing and dessert and lots of casseroles since she is the primo chef in the family, and retired, and enjoys it. I’ll bring my asparagus/mushroom/almond casserole and marinated goat cheese from Goat Lady Dairy and butterbeans from Smith Farms. We have our assignments and that has always been mine. Usually I grow the butterbeans, but I let that go this year.

One thing that we WON’T do is go shopping. I’ve celebrated Buy Nothing Day for years now, which is the Friday after Thanksgiving. It blows my mind that anybody actually enjoys that frenzy. We stopped giving physical Christmas gifts a long time ago. We still give each other presents, but they are not tied to any one day or obligation. It happens by whim when we see something that we know that someone would enjoy. I strongly believe that is the way gift giving should work.

Frugality is much on my mind, as I spin toward the goal of early retirement. I never thought that there was a chance that I might be able to do it, until my financial advisor at work told me that if I could live on 11% less, I could. Well, I have cut out a lot of fat during the past twenty years, but there is still 11% that I can cut. One thing that I did was I started putting a lot more in my retirement account. So now I know that I can live on what’s left.

I just don’t know how people can rent these days. We are so lucky (and smart) that we bought our house in a decent neighborhood at a good price and paid the mortgage off. Sandy rented his condo out so much more cheaply than the surrounding apartments. He said that he always remembered that when we first moved to this street the landlord said that he wanted to provide young people with an affordable place to live. I really liked that guy and it sounded really noble but we also had leaks and a hole in the bathroom floor. It wasn’t totally altruistic – he didn’t want to fix the problems. Then he sold us the house really cheap! Still, rents are insane these days and I don’t think that I could afford to rent an apartment on my salary if I had to do it.

Yesterday I broke down and decided that I had to take some allergy meds. I had stopped them when I realized that they were triggering my restless leg syndrome. It has been rough. Sleep was weird for the past 24 hours. I slept well on Friday night and late on Saturday, took the 24 hour Allegra-D, then Sandy and I went out for lunch and checked out Jerry’s Artarama. I came back and sat down on the sofa looking at my Kindle, and each cat settled down on each side of me and purred. I was so content and relaxed, I didn’t have a headache, and I could breathe! Then out of the blue I got really sleepy and took a three hour nap. The kind where you lay your head down and don’t move for three hours. These two things totally screwed up my sleep last night, so I spent from 1-4 a.m. stretching my feet and legs and back and cracking my toes and knuckles. At some point I turned on the light and started reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and wow. That was hard to put down. So it was another late sleep this morning. I’ll try to make it through the day without meds and a nap until bedtime tonight.

Jerry’s Artarama, which I didn’t even know was in Greensboro, y’all. It’s in a part of town where I never go any more. I need a source of inexpensive framing supplies for my artwork that I plan to sell, so I joined it. I bought a cool little device that you pour acrylic paint into and it has a marker tip – I chose the inch wide one. I hope that it will work well with stencils. I also bought a cheap stand-up easel for Sandy, black gesso, and a clip on glass panel for a matted print that we had bought from Ireland back in 2012.

One thing that I learned from this trip and the Dick Blick catalog, is that I need to get away from the 8×8″ size work. I bought a lot of wood panels in that size and I can make those hang-able, but there isn’t much choice in pre-made mats or frames in that size. When I make my prints this winter, I’m going to pay attention and cut my papers to standard sizes before I print them. I want to mat or frame my collages and prints and paintings for sale, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money on it. I’ll use a local frame shop for the ones that I want to keep or put in a show.

I spent in the wee hours of the morning thinking about what I’m going to do with this…thing…I made last weekend. And, as often happens, my inspiration took off when thinking about Lake Waccamaw. This is going to be the base for a real mixed media piece, with painting and leaf printed cloth and driftwood and maybe bones?

20211114_192318

I worked on this collage some last week and I like it. It will probably be part of a book, though.

20211114_192415

tapestry

Thursday deferred

I wrote this post on Thursday evening, but somehow it wasn’t published so there will be a two-fer today.

My mind these days is becoming more focused on getting my WIPs done and planning for my retirement, both at home and at work.

The biggest WIP for six years has been “Cathedral,” the tapestry based on gazing up into the bald cypress tree at the lake on a sunny day. I made some progress on it last week, enough that I feel like I might actually get it finished and off the loom soon. By finished, I mean that I have decided to finish it smaller than I originally planned. The tension all over this loom is horrible and I don’t know how long than I can keep weaving. However, I think that the design will be fine if I don’t go on for another 12 inches. Here’s a turned photo so you can see it as it will hang. I’ve been weaving it sideways.

So now it will be longer than it is wide.  That’s okay, if I can block the tension issues once I get it off the loom. I’ll try to weave another two inches and a hem of about an inch.

20211114_110202[1]

Then I will have to decide whether to tie the remaining warp to the bottom and weave another tapestry, this time with much bigger yarns and a simpler design, and sell this Shannock loom, or just go ahead and sell it. Either way, I want to sell it. I need more space in my studio, and my body prefers weaving on small looms.

20211112_122630[1]

I love the details of this tapestry. The ePic yarns are a dream for combining colors for a painterly approach to tapestry. Eventually I will wind off a lot of these yarns and sell them through my Etsy store and this blog, because I have so much of it that I will never use half of it. I just have to figure that part out, but when the time comes, I’ll set up a payment process and announce it all over the place.

When I do the yarn purge, I will also go through my huge stash of old dictionaries and books and maps and make collage packets for sale.

Gotta get rid of this stuff before we move to Portugal! That’s still in the aspirational stage, but with this much stuff it’s better to start early so that the only problem we’ll have to deal with at the end is Sandy’s hoard. He is hard to move toward that goal.

At work it means that I’ve put a lot of paper in the shredder box, and I’m also deleting files that are no longer useful or out-dated. Considering that I’m heading for my 18th year in this job, I figured I’d better start now. By the time I retire, I will have worked for the state of North Carolina twenty years.

We finally have a state budget after three years of unreasonable GOP demands and Democrat governor vetoes. This means that I will get a small raise over the next two years and a bonus this year. The bonus will probably go toward repair on the 2008 Honda, since it has some deferred maintenance problems. We are lucky that we can get by with only one car these days, since I walk to work. But there may come a time, especially with my foot issue, that I may need to drive to work. Or travel on my own and so Sandy will need a car. He might have to get used to the idea of using Lyft or Uber or a taxi. That makes sense to me, financially. I’d be willing to do that for trips around town rather than put money into another car, especially if we decide to move to Portugal.

My feelings about the budget are very mixed. It has a lot of really bad stuff in it, including more dilution of the governor’s power. But the state of public education on all levels in NC is really awful. Employees needs raises, schools need repairs, broadband needs to be improved and accessible. So I guess I’m somewhat happy about it.

art, coffee pot posts, collage, Printmaking

Sunday morning coffee pot post

I’ll head to the studio after lunch, but in the meantime, I’ll do a catch-up post from this week. Which ain’t much, but this is my journal written to my future self to read.

Last Sunday afternoon when I went to the studio I decided to do much of the same thing – gelli plate printing – but on dictionary pages and with leaves that I found tucked into the dictionary. Thank you, past Laurie. It didn’t go as well as I expected, but the idea here is that I’m going to go to the studio at least weekly and do something, no matter what. Then I spilled a bottle of Golden raw sienna paint and so I spent the rest of my time painting everything in reach with raw sienna because I can’t stand to waste paint, especially Golden paint!

I pretty much ruined a lot of what I had done, but I picked up this monoprint from the mess on bookboard from an old book I had stripped down for parts and it reminds me of a weaver. There was one sheet with leaf prints that was pretty good.

20211107_160950[1]20211107_161005[1]20211107_170005[1]

I’ve pronounced this collage finished before but since its inspiration began with a song and then the death of our parakeet Liz, I started feeling like Liz would not actually enjoy eating bugs in heaven and had the bright idea of gluing down pearled barley over the bugs at the bottom. Well, that did not work out at all. So I scratched off the pearled barley and painted acrylic glass bead gel over the bugs to blur them out with something sparkly. I’m happy with it and I’m leaving it alone now.

20211114_110321[1]

Man, my brain and body this week – hoo boy. It’s hard for me to even write this post. I typed it’s when I meant its previously and that is one of my biggest grammar annoyances. I hope that I continue to catch them all. Yesterday when I went to the studio I had a persistent headache just bad enough to keep me from thinking clearly so I spent a couple of hours just painting bookboard and wooden panels for later use. I’m not sure what I’ll do later today.

I came home on Wednesday afternoon so exhausted that I lay down and took a three hour nap, got up for three hours, and then slept hard for another eight hours. When I got up for work I was STILL fatigued so I called in sick and got a covid test that afternoon. It was negative, as I expected because I am pretty feckin careful, but my co-workers encouraged me to get it. These allergies are getting to me and I know that I should go get a blood panel done soon. However, it’s not that unusual for me for my battery to suddenly run out of juice and have to recharge for a day or so. I have to get a new doctor soon because my doctor is retiring and I dread that. So far I feel fine today and I have definitely had enough sleep for once.

We went to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market yesterday morning for the first time in a long time. I was able to snag a jar of marinated goat cheese from Goat Lady Dairy, which is usually one of my contributions to Thanksgiving weekend if I can get it. I bought some bath salts from Carol at Mimi’s Soaps because it is cool enough for me to enjoy my old clawfoot tub again, and I bought shelled butterbeans and zucchini from Smith Farms, and a pound of jumbo shrimp from whats-his-name – damn, I cannot remember. Then I went to Deep Roots twice because I forgot all I needed the first time. We had our favorite dish last night – shrimp with broccoli and onions and garlic and basil with a light cream/feta/parmesan sauce over fettucine. We have bought a ton of food in the past two weeks so I hope that we are stocked for a while.

I was talking to Jim (another artist in the print co-op) about my past local food activism yesterday and it reminded me that even though in the two big local battles I was on the winning side, I am very glad to let that go and concentrate on art now. It is interesting watching the global food supply bottlenecks – which prove the point that local foodies were trying to make all along. We need to strengthen our local food systems here and all over the world instead of relying on global trade for products that we could make here. (I just wish we could produce coffee here.)

It’s noon, time to quit writing, although I have more to say later.

coffee pot posts, collage, Mixed media art, Printmaking

Sunday morning coffee pot post

I stayed up way too late last night. In my defense, I discovered that you can borrow e-books from Internet Archive for one hour at a time. I’m not talking about just public domain books – library books from all over. Every now and then I shoot them a few dollars as a donation because what they do is incredibly valuable for the planet.

After I blogged yesterday I went to the print studio and played with printing on old book pages on the gelli plate. The best paper was from a 1954 paperback on how to sight read music. After I had starting printing on it, I realized that it was a really good reference for learning (re-learning) to read music, and I regretted tearing it apart a little. It’s astounding how little I retained about reading music from all my younger years of piano and percussion and saxophone lessons, but honestly, I never had a knack for it. Can’t say that I didn’t try, though! I saved a page on identifying the notes on the page and kept on printing. We have an electric piano among the many unused musical instruments in our house that my husband has collected.

I took photos at the end of my session, which wasn’t very long because I had other things to do, such as jumping off the dead battery in the Honda and a trip to Costco, which was kind of a nightmare. I have only been there once during the pandemic, and the number of people who whipped off their masks or wore them under their noses or on their chins was shocking to me. You could see the smirk on the young guy’s face in front of me in line. He had on a t-shirt with an upside down flag declaring his love for God, country, family, and freedom and a cross around his neck. It was more offensive than I am describing. I tried to stay back from him, although the woman with him was masked and friendly. It was crowded. We bought a lot of food for the pantry and the freezer, as we finally worked through the last bit of hoarded food from last year.

They had a good deal on socks so I bought two packs and I’m taking some down to the Interactive Resource Center.  Since I have become more frugal than usual these days, although not to the point where I’m shopping at Dollar General or Dollar Tree for food, I’ve been thinking about the needs of women who are really poor.  Spartan Pantry is right around the corner and it serves the students and staff of UNCG. (Isn’t it sad that UNCG staff is included in this distribution center? You’d like to think that we would all earn a living wage.)  So new underwear, socks, deodorant, baby wipes, menstrual supplies…I’m trying to think of things that people need but they have a hard time finding at donation centers. Sandy and I were talking about how we didn’t know how people made it with rents being so high. Our house payments were less than most people’s rent these days.

Anyway, here are photos of the monoprints I made yesterday.  I will keep a couple as is and use the others for backgrounds or collage fodder. I like the “Gospel Pearls” page and a couple more of the music pages. The one that is smaller and looks solid is a page from a 1894 book on agriculture. It was interesting to see how differently it took the paint than the others. It was more fragile, too.

Most of the stencils I used were bought from Mary Beth Shaw at Stencil Girl. Her stencils are high quality and she provides so many free videos on You Tube for instruction and inspiration. She is also a delight, seriously.

20211106_15045420211106_14482120211106_15043120211106_150349

I also have a few little collages on hand down there to work on as the inspiration hits. I didn’t like these much so they are works in progress. As some point I plan to use Seth Apter’s embossing powders on them, but since this studio doesn’t have a ventilation system or windows that will open I will bring them back home for that. I think that I’m done with the one on the top right.

20211106_150314

coffee pot posts

Saturday morning coffee pot post

This is my second post this morning, and I am just putting off going to the studio until after my coffee and maybe lunch here, maybe a cup of soup at Cafe Europa, which is in the same building. I miss going to the farmers’ market on Saturday mornings, but I crave my relaxed sleeping late Saturday mornings more. Sometimes it seems like this obsession over sleep is taking over my life. This afternoon and/or tomorrow afternoon I think that I’m going to play with monoprinting and stencils on my gelli plate. Just something to get me going that is fun and not intimidating. I’ll try to remember to take photos at the studio.

Work has been dull but the stress has been down. My depression/anxiety has been better. We still haven’t heard about where the university budget cuts will be and the state legislature has not passed a budget yet. The Democrat governor and the GOP legislature are haggling over state employee and teacher raises, which is infuriating considering that we haven’t had a raise in three years and the last one was small. It would be nice, since there is a budget SURPLUS, if they chose a raise that keeps up with inflation instead of tax cuts, but that is unlikely. I honestly would support a strike if that happened. It’s amazing that anyone chooses to be a teacher in North Carolina any more.

I’m pretty disgusted with both major parties, as usual. At least Biden is attempting to do the right thing with vaccination mandates.

It’s funny that I had an ugly comment a while back – which you won’t see because I deleted it immediately because I won’t be insulted or lectured about what I write about on my own blog – that criticized my “love for Biden” and my political rants. Boy, if I wrote even one tenth of the rants that are in my head on this blog nobody from either party would ever read it again! I like Obama’s and Biden’s personalities, and some of their policies, but I left the Democrats during their administration. As for the part about me being a Dudeist priestess: Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. LOL

Greensboro lost a friend to many this week with the passing of Brooke Neal. She was a “character” and an artist and lived an incredible life. I knew her mainly on Facebook. We had mutual friends and I last talked to her at our artist group gathering a couple of months ago. Whatever got her worked fast. I didn’t even know she was in hospice. Her final comment to me on Facebook was “Retire.” Her friends said that she seemed at peace with dying.

The way things are going I’ve been thinking a lot more about retiring to Portugal, and our trip to see it in May. As the planning stands now, everything but getting to Boston and back is arranged and mostly paid for. We’d need to pay for train and bus tickets and meals and any tours and admission fees, but that is mostly it, and I can save up for that. The itinerary is Boston-Dublin-Lisbon-Porto-Evora-Tavira-Sevilla-Tavira-Lisbon-Dublin-Boston. (Dublin is just a stopover both ways, and Sevilla, Spain is a side trip for one night.) We have to leave from Boston because my original tickets were Southwest to Boston, then Aer Lingus to Dublin in June, 2020. This trip has gone through several changes since then! Hopefully I can use all the voucher points from my Southwest canceled flights to cover the flight from RDU to Boston and back, but the way they have been canceling flights lately it makes me a bit anxious.

Anyway, the green tomatoes and the peppers and basil have been picked, and winter is coming at last. I can’t say that I’m sorry. Daylight Savings Time ends tomorrow, and I wish that it would never come back. My body never adjusted from the change in spring! Here’s an article about its history and present.

critters

Wildlife week

Last Saturday we drove to Elkin where I picked up the beautiful little tapestry by Joan Griffin that I bought in June at the Tapestry Weavers South show. Our neighbors here in Greensboro bought an vacation place in an RV resort about thirty minutes away close to Stone Mountain, so we met them for lunch at Southern on Main, a really great little restaurant, then followed them to see their place. It is an RV park model, so it is firmly in place with a big porch and deck and storage building, very much a tiny house rather than an RV. We were impressed but agreed that we would not like to live quite so far out. They are there about half the time now so they really love it.20210605_162646

On the way back the road was blocked by the biggest rafter of wild turkeys I’ve ever seen, about twenty. (Yes, I looked up the correct name for a group of turkeys. It can also be “flock,” but I like “rafter.”) Once they moved off the road we pulled over and I got a photo. If I had had a gun instead of a camera we could have easily had turkey dinner that night. They were pretty complacent about any potential danger. Later, our neighbor told us that Traphill, the little community we were near, was named for the traps that were set out for wild turkeys.

20211030_163633

Then later this week, I awoke to hear what sounded like a little yappy dog running by my bedroom window and into our back yard, but it sounded a bit off and there was no human running around trying to catch it. I did a bit of research and confirmed that it was the bark of a red fox. I would not mind if these foxes took up residence in my back yard at all, although I feel a bit sorry for the rabbits who have almost been tame companions back there all these years. Maybe the foxes will take care of the groundhog population explosion.

Then, one afternoon just before our first frost, as I was crossing the church parking lot on my way home, the pastor was standing there with a couple of people and I saw that he was standing guard over a black racer that was crossing over to the bushes. I hope this snake got hibernated in a cozy hole soon after this. It was so long and elegant.

20211101_171801

Last night I heard the hoo-hooing of a barred owl.

You’d never guess that I live in a neighborhood next to downtown Greensboro.

Studio talk

A new studio space!

We’re going to Elkin tomorrow for the day, where I’ll pick up the little Joan Griffin tapestry that I bought this summer from the Foothills Art Center gallery there. Our neighbors bought a small resort home near Stone Mountain State Park and they are up there about half the time these days. We are going to meet them for lunch at Southern on Main and maybe check out their place, depending on how we feel tomorrow. It should be a nice day and I’m looking forward to it.

I briefly considered renting studio space at the Chatham Mill Arts Center up on the floor where the Yadkin Valley Fiber Art Center is, but I quickly came to earth because I knew that whatever the perks, I would not drive a little over an hour to Elkin and back often enough to make the expense worth it.

However, since then, a new opportunity only a mile away in downtown Greensboro presented itself, and I took it. Our 50+ Artists Community group had a small get-together at the Piedmont Print Co-op at the Cultural Arts Center, which I did not even know existed. Jim Weaver talked about his printmaking and demonstrated how he prints a monograph with a rolling press there. I asked him about the co-op and how many people were in it, and it was just him! I guess when the pandemic shut the building down, the other members found other places to go.

So I looked up the information about the co-op, and it is only $40 per month to be a member. Hell, it’s worth $10 a week for me to have access to a big work table by itself, but there are other tables, two presses and a station for rolling out ink, a darkroom space (which is being used for storage right now), sinks, and storage for supplies. I signed up right away, and I have been shuttling over a few supplies every day after work. This wasn’t a great week to begin because I have a lot to do, but I got excited. Hopefully I will be able to use the space mostly on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. One other person has signed up this week as well.

I’m not going to use this studio just for printmaking – it is going to be my book arts and collage space and I might bring over the big upcycled shirt blanket I had almost finished before my last studio space was sold. Having a big table to piece the rest of the panels together will help a lot to get it done. I have no place to do that at home, but I can sew it at home. I’ve considered making another t-shirt quilt also, because that was a lot of fun and we have SO MANY t-shirts! Any fabric or fiber projects like that I will be moving back and forth from home, though – I just need to use that big table and display wall for those.

My woodcut and Speedy-cut blocks and carving tools have been moved over there, and I have ideas for my next steps. That’s really important, because lately my mind has not been able to focus in one direction.

We’ll see how this goes. I won’t move all my supplies over there, although Jim has encouraged me to. He doesn’t realize how much I have! If I use it at least once a week, I’ll keep doing it. If not, it’s on a monthly basis and I can stop. It will be nice to divide my studios and have more space in the weaving studio at home. I just have to make sure that I don’t fill it up with more stuff.

art, coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, pinhole photography, Reading

Sunday morning coffee pot post

20211009_154154

^^^Wouldn’t this make an interesting tapestry?

Finally, fall temperatures. We sat on the front porch yesterday morning, barefoot in t-shirts and shorts. This morning is a delicious 51 degrees F.

Last Saturday, Sandy and I went to the West Point on the Eno Park in Durham to take a pinhole camera workshop given by Durham Parks & Recreation. This is something that we plan to keep up and we need to get the supplies and set up a darkroom. Here they are hanging to dry and my best print.

20211009_15395120211010_103427

I am afraid of jinxing this, but I will go ahead and say it. My depression has lifted. My hope always is that it will be for good, but let’s just say that I hope it lasts a long long time. It is such a wonder the few times this has happened in my life that I am flabbergasted. This is how normal feels? I like it very much.

My therapist and I think that it could be due to the large amounts of Vitamin D that I started taking every day in mid-August. When I went to the orthopedic clinic for the injured bones in my foot, they put me on 5,000 mg per day, and said that I could stay on that dose with no worries. I had been taking 1,000 mg per day. So if you are struggling and you are already trying other things without success, you might try upping your Vitamin D. I hope that it is this simple for me. She had suggested transcranial magnetic stimulation because my depression was so chronic, but I started feeling so much better right around the time that she suggested it that I never pursued it. I am not quitting my anti-depressant though.

And if I could only sleep when my body needs sleep, my physical and mental health would be much, much better. During the week, I still struggle. On the weekend when I can get up when my body says it’s time, I feel like a champ. This is the main reason I look forward to retirement.

20211010_170240

I had the energy last Sunday and yesterday to really go after the mess that we live in. Sandy and I cleaned floors. SO. MUCH. CAT. HAIR. It amazes me that we have a mouse problem. We cleaned up the stack of boxes and old mail meant to be burned next to the woodstove that you got an eyeful of when you stepped in the front door, and burned the mail outside in the fire pit. There is still some work to be done in that area. There is lots of dust and since I have stopped taking anti-histamines and Sandy’s cough is so bad we really have to do better for our health’s sake. This house will be 100 years old next year and it generates its own dirt.

20211017_093034

Yesterday, I started seriously deep cleaning the kitchen, beyond washing dishes and wiping counters. I’m getting rid of a few items, and reorganizing some. For example I cleaned my coffee/tea/bar corner thoroughly, washed everything there, reappointed the vintage metal bread bin that I used to keep art supplies in to holding all the teas that we’ve gathered and been given, and filled the wooden shelves that my Daddy made for me with most of our small pottery cup collection instead of the tea. I also cleaned the shelves where the rest of the pottery plates and bowls and glasses and tumblers are. It felt so good to get all this cleaned up. I’m going to tackle the fridge, microwave, other counters, and food shelves today.

Daddy had just taken up woodworking before he got terminally ill with colon cancer. He made this shelf for me to display my glass paperweight collection. If I ever have to choose just a few things to take with me out of this house, this will always be one of them.

Hopefully this energy will transfer over to my art and garden at some point. One thing I regret is that in my cleaning frenzy I forgot to take my weavings to the frame shop.

Sandy and I finished watching The Kominsky Method and we loved it. I stretched it out as long as I could because I’m not a binger. When I enjoy something, I want it to last! Last night we watched Nomadland in absolute awe of its strange beauty and poignancy. I want to read that book now.

Speaking of books, I finished Elantris by Brandon Sanderson this week, and liked it a lot although I found it to be a little too frantic in action. The world and characters he created were fascinating. I plan to check out more of his books. Then I began Broken by Jenny Lawson, which is this great combination of hilarity and high speed nuttiness and anger and serious talk about her mental health and compassion.

My achilles tendinitis is back, so I bought a soft foot splint that I wore to bed last night. It was pretty comfortable, and once I get used to it and stop waking up to wonder what is on my foot it should help. I want to put off getting another steroid shot as long as possible. I learned with my wrist tendinitis that the doctors will only do the steroid shots a few times. The shot that he gave me in my heel did not hurt at all, which surprised me.

I also finally replaced my bras. After going so long hardly wearing a bra at all, it was tough to wear those worn out bras again, but I hate bra shopping almost as much as swimsuit shopping. I ordered them online through Kohls so I wouldn’t have to go in the store, and the shipment circled around between Charlotte and Virginia for over two weeks. Finally the routing was straightened out and I found them at my door early this morning. On a Sunday. Shipping is so weird these days. I also treated myself to a tunic and beret from Gudrun Sjoden and three more basic shirts. I have not bought any new clothing in so long, and I need to get rid of a lot of what I have that is worn out and stained. When you have a rack like mine it tends to catch a lot of drips.

Good news: we finally got our tax refund from 2019. It took a year and a half from the time we mailed it. We will never mail another tax return if we can at all help it. I immediately called the credit union for the payoff on the home equity loan and paid off the solar panels. Most of the refund was the tax credit we had been waiting on. I am totally debt-free at the moment!