Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw in late fall


Here’s a coffee pot post from Lake Waccamaw. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been here in December. The first day I was here the high was 77 degrees! Now it is more seasonable in the fifties. A couple of weeks ago it was warm enough that the gators and turtles in the canal were sunning themselves. Forgive the poor quality – these shots were from far away and cropped.



The leaves have fallen and the sun shines at a low angle on the lake. There are always a few different varieties of birds that pass through as they migrate and as the climate warms more are staying. I haven’t heard any loons yet, but a pair of Baltimore orioles are living at my sister’s house. The other night when it was warm and the windows were open I could hear the American coots “purring” out on the lake. There are at least a couple of thousand of them. Sometimes they string out in a very long line. Eagles take dives at them. Here’s a small group of them taking off.



20221208_085518We were here for Thanksgiving and then a couple of weeks later I came back by myself to cat-sit while my sister and brother-in-law did medical stuff in Chapel Hill. I’m working on trimming and hemming a couple of tapestries. Yes, I finally got started on them! It’s a lot of dull work that I was procrastinating about. Believe me, it was much “furrier” when I began yesterday afternoon.




^^^It’s rare that I am awake at sunrise, but this is the view I had when I opened my eyes one morning from my sister’s porch.


This one shows the roots from a tree that used to be here before my time on earth.

augggghhhh, critters, Family, Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, North Carolina beaches, train trips

Sunday morning coffee pot post

I’ve had plenty of stuff to write about in the past month, but no motivation to do it.

I know what’s happening. As long as I keep my brain occupied by games of logic, I won’t think about what is happening to my brother-in-law, and by extension, my sister. He is suffering. She is suffering. It is a tough, tough situation right at the holiday season, so I feel less jolly than usual, thank you very much. But you can still tell me Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or whatever…kind words are always appreciated.

The thing is, I absolutely have to get these tapestries ready for the exhibition at the Folk Art Center and I’ve done hardly anything about it except to commit myself by sending in the paperwork.

I rejoined the print co-op in August, moved stuff back and forth, because I can’t make myself leave the house to go over there. There’s always something to do on the weekend and I don’t want to go after dark. I’ve been there a total of TWO times. I either need to use the space or leave. Is agoraphobia reentering my life? Could be. Most of my supplies are here after I picked up supplies for my book workshop in OCTOBER.


Pablocito is sitting in his spot behind my laptop under antique desk lamp. I like to think of it as his tanning salon. Diego becomes more needy and cuddly every day, which worries me a bit. Does he feel okay? He often has the hiccups and I give him a quarter of a famotidine tablet. I’ve been taking them too. Acid reflux has become a part of my life. Neither cat is happy with any kind of food I give them and I stopped feeding them canned food because they throw it up then leave it untouched in the bowl and cry. They both do better with the Purina Gastrointestinal Natural EN prescription food, and since that prescription renewal is coming up, I have to take Diego to the vet anyway. Pablocito hasn’t been in years. He has been very playful and fun. His latest game is “Magic Carpet Ride” when I pull a rug around on the hardwood floor while he lays on it and kicks it.

Since I last wrote here, Sandy turned seventy years old. We are both in shock about it, I think. I took him out to eat and a couple of our friends joined us as a surprise. We had a great time and the owner came by with a bottle of tequila, lemon slice, and salt shaker and offered him a shot for his birthday, but said he had to take it straight from the bottle and tell him when to stop with a thumbs up. He then poured it straight into Sandy’s upturned mouth and didn’t see Sandy’s thumbs up quickly so Sandy got a double shot. Of course we filmed it and posted it to Facebook and everybody knows what a badass Sandy is now.

The weekend after his birthday we took Amtrak to Charlotte. I don’t know exactly what kind of deal we got because I phoned it in, but it only cost $68 for us both round-trip. We would have spent more on gas and parking. Sandy had gout that weekend but it wasn’t so severe that it was a wasted trip. We got up Saturday, walked to the uptown farmers’ market, went to the Bechler Museum, brunched at Mariposa, then explored the Mint Museum. (I’m going to make a separate post with photos about this part of the trip.) After that, the day was pretty shot for us in a physical and financial sense, so we went to the Whole Foods Market close to our hotel and had dinner and appetizers and soup in our room while watching TV. The next morning he hurt badly enough that I changed our tickets to the 10:30 train and we headed back. Then something really weird happened.

About 30 minutes away from Greensboro, Sandy decided to get up and find the dining car to get some water. I had drunk a bottle of water and we had snacks from the night before. He headed up to the front of the car, and there was a jolt and he stumbled. I remember thinking this is like turbulence on a plane. It wasn’t that bad though. He almost opened the door and then decided the car must be behind us and turned around. That is when the train decoupled and the rest of the train moved ahead of us and our part of the train came to a halt.

Sandy was so close to stepping through that door when the train decoupled. In this photo it is open to give us ventilation on the train, and the front half of the train is up ahead.


Somehow, a piece of tree trunk was on the tracks. It must have been between the rails. It ripped out the cables and hoses under the cars. I have to applaud the conductors. They got up under the train and repaired it enough that we were able to reattach and move on about an hour and a half later. In the meantime, my bladder had to hold on to that water because they didn’t want us to use the bathrooms, although if it was an emergency we could have. We were near a railroad crossing so some people who were getting off at High Point called people to pick them up and got off the train.


I have to wonder if some sick puppy put that tree trunk on the track. And I’m further pissed off, after seeing those railroad workers on the job in this situation, knowing that private corporations do not respect them enough to give them sick leave. Anyway, we didn’t derail, Sandy didn’t step out into space and get run over by a train, and I made it to the Greensboro depot bathroom.

Then on Wednesday, we went to Lake Waccamaw for Thanksgiving with my sister, brother-in-law, niece, and grand-nephew. (Post with LW photos later.) The food was great, as usual, and I didn’t cook a thing for it. It was all my sister. We had a good time until my b-i-l ate a bit too much solid food and got sick. This week he went in for draining the fluid that the tumors cause out of his abdomen, and a test to see if he could have surgery for a bypass on his upper intestine. Well, he got sick again, but they scheduled surgery for this week. He can hardly eat anything at all and it is devastating to see him basically starving to death. Our hope is that he can at least be able to eat again with this surgery, but he might not survive it. As it is, he can’t survive the way it’s going and he is miserable and suffering, so it is a little bit of hope we didn’t have before. No one would do this surgery at first. This kind of cancer is rare and doesn’t respond to any kind of treatment, so he is no longer on chemo.


On Saturday afternoon while they were resting, Sandy and I drove to Holden Beach, which is about 40 minutes away, in search of sea biscuits and shark’s teeth. I had intel from a shelling group on Facebook that dredging early in 2022 had uprooted a huge fossil bed and hundreds of thousands of sea biscuits. We found no teeth, and there were many fossil hunters and shellers on the beach, and we were not there at the prime time to find anything, but I did find a couple of whole sea biscuits, other fossils, olives (the shells, not the fruit), and several broken sea biscuits. It was fun and a bit of good exercise, and the weather was pleasant. It was a better haul that I expected. I might do it again.

Sea biscuits are a type of sea urchin and look like the related sand dollar, but they are rounded with a flat bottom. I was told that these fossils are between 65 and 145 million years old. There’s a good list of shells that can be found in the area here.

So now. We did our holiday socializing this week, with a bit of drinking at Old Town with some faculty and at a new place, The Abbey Tavern, with some graduate students, on Thursday night, then at our department Christmas party on Saturday night.

Now I’m waiting to hear if my sister needs me to go cat-sit at Lake Waccamaw while my b-i-l is in the hospital this week. The traveling back and forth is exhausting them, and the cats at the lake don’t really get along with the cat and dog in Chapel Hill (my niece lives there), although they do usually travel with them back and forth. I can work online from the lake. The wifi is good and I’d be able to birdwatch from my sister’s glassed in porch. If this happens, I might use our lake house as a studio and work on my tapestries over there. Get ’em done. I have to get ’em done and ready to hang!

And I have to make some kind of decision about the print studio at the Arts Center. Move out or use it, but I have to figure out my storage capabilities here, Again, purging is in order, but mostly I just need to clean up the big pile of crap that has accumulated on my work table.




art, fiber art, tapestry, weaving

Weaving update

Finally cut two tapestries off their looms.

First up, the “O” postcard tapestry for the Tapestry Weavers South collaborative project for the “Follow The Thread” exhibition, scheduled in January 2023 at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC.


Secondly, I finally, reluctantly, cut a dog off the loom so that I could set “Mr. Blue Sky” free. I feel better now that I’ve done it.


Here’s the dog. I’m going to recycle the yarn if I can stand unweaving it for very long. I think this would have been a good weaving, but it was clear that I wasn’t going to finish it.


Now, I have to trim the backs, hem them, and design the “H” tapestry.

GTFO, whatever

Regarding Social Media

This subject has played an outsized claim on my attention this past week. At work, we are constantly pressured to promote our “brand” on all kinds of social media. I’m fairly proficient at Facebook, less so on Instagram and Twitter, and here on WordPress I sort of fumble along. With all the news of the Spacechild Billionaire acquiring Twitter and his ego and job cutting leading to a mass exodus of Twitter users, I took note of where many of the journalists I follow were setting up new digs – a mysterious new world named Mastodon. Part of the Fediverse. Don’t ask me to explain much. The most I can tell you is that it is a international network of many computer servers, run by volunteers. Some communities are very small, some are bursting at the seams and their servers are having problems with the huge Twitter Migration. There aren’t any ads. There are many different features.

So I spent a bit too much time exploring it last night and this morning. I set up an initial account at and searched hashtags to find a few interesting people to follow, and on the way found some of the journalists that I follow on Twitter. Then I realized that there were art “instances” (communities) that would be a better fit, so I set up another account at The addresses are really confusing. I downloaded two different apps to my phone, Mastodon and Tusky. So far I like Tusky better.

I really need to understand Instagram better instead of diving into a completely new platform with a steep learning curve, because we’re talking about creating a work Instagram account. But, here I am.

During the past few months, I have probably spent more time on Twitter than anywhere else. It’s come to be the place that I go for breaking news and to follow some really great journalists. When I first created an account there, it was to follow Steve Martin. Really, that was about it. I even said that in my profile at first. “I’m just here to follow @SteveMartinToGo.” I follow a lot more comedians and actors there now, and I don’t think that Steve Martin tweets much any more.

While I do have a Twitter account, I don’t tweet much. I retweet others. I rarely have any real interaction with others, and that’s okay. I have a lot of that on Facebook and Instagram, and I’m not on Twitter for socialization.

In that way, Mastodon is very different. It could be that so many new people are searching for others to follow. It could be that it has, at this point, a much smaller pool of users for “tooters” to choose from. So far, so good. I’m keeping my Twitter account, but if it crashes or goes mostly right wing, I have a new place to land where I can follow political posts in a well moderated system.

coffee pot posts

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I’ve spent a lot of time looking at leaves this week, as have many people, I know. What surprises me is all the people who take them for granted. My young next door neighbor is experiencing autumn for the first time, after spending the last few years in Thailand during this season. He is learning what deciduous means. We got to see his Halloween costume. A character from Minecraft, and like most costumes these days, I don’t have a clue who it represents. I don’t have kids or grandchildren, and I’m not a fan of superhero movies or comics, so I am out of touch with a lot of popular culture. You don’t want me on your trivia team unless there’s a category for leaf identification. Anyway, it’s nice to have a young’un on the block again.

My plan was to do some leaf printing on paper again this weekend, but I realized that time is slipping away and if I’m going to get this other woven postcard done in time for the show in January I need to focus on that this weekend. I still have to finish the back and hem Cathedral and get it ready for display, which is always the worst part of making art for me and it’s one of the few things that I really procrastinate about.

Sandy and I voted yesterday.

We got a lot of the old newspaper and junk mail and phone books that were sitting near the woodstove waiting to be burned either recycled or burned in the fire pit outside. I saw a meteor that night. We “joked” that it might be a Russian missile. I saved a big phone book for a pad to drill into. I cleaned the wood stove and all the cast iron on it and the fan that runs on heat. I used an old toothbrush and baking soda and vinegar to clean some of the tough to reach places on the fan and the electric stove. Little by little we will get it cleaner in here. Next step is cleaning all the knickknacks and books on the mantel and shelving around the fireplace. Lots of dust and cobwebs so I’ll need some allergy meds.

My neck and shoulders were getting stiff so I had my first massage from a therapist at Kneaded Energy on Tuesday morning. I have signed up for monthly massages now, and she was good, but I really really really miss the therapist that I saw for years at A to Zen. She left massage during the pandemic, and she needed to for physical reasons too – she had carpal tunnel pretty bad.

We also got the solar outdoor lights up two years after I bought them. There’s a reason my spirit animal is the snail. Nothing gets done in a hurry around here, especially when it has to be done by two depressed people.

So I’m feeling pretty good right now. Sandy just made blueberry waffles and we are going to a used book sale.  I’ll try to write again tomorrow.

coffee pot posts, Reading

Sunday morning coffee pot post

It was a busy week and yesterday I was pretty much a slug. Or my spirit animal, the snail.

After taking Monday off to drive back from the beach (reminder to self – don’t take I-40 again. Just don’t), I had much to do at work. We had a Zoom meeting with grad students to try to keep them informed about the coming budget cuts. There’s a lot of anxiety because the new funding model that the UNC Board of Governors (appointed by the state legislature) established for next year cuts graduate funding in favor of undergraduate enrollment. However, we know little about what may actually happen. I’ve been down this road before, and even though each budget cut looks horrendous on the horizon, there’s always been a lot of wolf-crying. I keep trying to keep this in mind. And it is scheduling and advising time, and students are taking PhD qualifying exams and language proficiency exams. Now it is time for me to work on the department newsletter, which is usually a pleasure.

There. I’ve been doing the mandated annual security training online, and it tells me to never complain or talk about work on social media. Well, that ship sailed quite some time ago.

Friday night I drove over to Beck’s house and we spent a pleasant evening. I spent the night because I had been drinking some but mainly because I was spooked about driving at night by myself. Does this mean that I am old now? Anyway, Beck and I always have meaningful and fun conversations. We laugh a lot but we also dig in. There was, however, no dancing this time.

Today I will weave again. I mainly want to pick an area in the house to clean thoroughly. I believe that it will be around the wood stove. There are cobwebs and many, many dusty knickknacks, and boxes filled with stuff to be taken to Goodwill or the used bookstores or the little free libraries. After seeing Beck’s beautiful clean house it makes me want that more than ever. It’s just hard with pets and physical disabilities.

I cooked this week and we finished watching The Last Kingdom series. WAH! I already miss Uhtred son of Uhtred, and Aelswith, Alfred’s Queen. I really loved her character. I reread My Side of the Mountain, which was my favorite book in my pre-teen years. I spent a lot of time in the woods by myself during that time. Now I’ve picked up Night Train to Lisbon. If it gets too heavy for me at times, I have Jenny Lawson and David Sedaris books as antidotes.

North Carolina, North Carolina beaches, Topsail Beach

Topsail Beach Photos

When I went to Topsail Beach for a three night weekend (could it have been LAST weekend?), I stayed at the Breezeway Motel this time. It was in walking distance of Leslie’s home, and I didn’t drive anywhere the whole weekend. The Breezeway’s history goes back to the forties, but the current structure was built in 1972. In other words, it ain’t fancy but it was clean and comfortable. I asked for a room with a good view and I got it. The sunsets over the sound side were spectacular.


Here’s what it looked like in the morning.


I spent most of Saturday and Sunday in Leslie Marsh’s “Riveted by Nature” class. On Friday and Sunday nights I ate dinner at the Breezeway Restaurant. Fried shrimp the first time (Dale’s beats them by a mile, but it was still good) and bacon wrapped sea scallops the second time (YUM!). Saturday evening, my friends Barbara and Lou and I had cocktails in my room to watch the vibrant colors of this sunset, then went to Beach Shop Grill, which sounds like a burger joint, but is one of the most expensive restaurants on the island. We had a great time and the food was delicious. I ordered raw oysters and roasted brussels sprouts.



I walked on the beach on Sunday evening as the tide was coming in, with awareness of those back muscles I strained picking up limbs after Hurricane Ian! Topsail is such a great place to beachcomb that it was hard to stop. The next morning I slept late then headed back to the beach as it approached low tide. There were very few people on the beach and it was exquisitely isolated and full of the kind of stuff that I adore and most everyone else ignores, like fossils. The dunes are being replenished with sea oats, and there were many wildflowers and Monarch butterflies in the established dunes.


I picked up lots of sandstone with holes in them. My main focus when I beachcomb is worn shells with holes – in other words, natural beads. This time I also picked up some wood and coral, but I was drawn to texture. I felt close to my mother during this time, remembering the last time we walked on the beach and she pointed out shells for me to pick up and photos to take. It was one of the most enjoyable times I ever spent with her. She was in her late 80s then.


art, art retreats, dyeing, fiber art, tapestry, Tapestry Weavers South, weaving

Tapestry Weavers South Retreat 2022

Playing a bit of catch-up here. I was in Elkin, NC at the Yadkin Valley Fiber Center for the 2022 Tapestry Weavers South retreat a couple of weekends ago. I drove up there on Saturday morning, stayed in a hotel, and left on Sunday afternoon after a very relaxing, fun time.


^Beverly Walker’s work in progress

We welcomed a new member, Beverly Walker, whose tapestry includes mixed media. (She’s a teacher, also.) Betty and Terri shared some of what they learned in Fiona Hutchinson’s pulled warp workshop at Convergence. We all had little looms or projects to work on or show and tell.


^Betty Hilton-Nash’s work.

On Saturday, lunch was from the Barking Coyote Kitchen, and I HIGHLY recommend their sandwiches. That night several of us went to Southern on Main even though we knew we were going there for brunch the next morning, because there are never too many times that you can go to Southern on Main. It is that good.

That afternoon, Leslie brought out the indigo buckets and we had a great time dyeing yarn, fabric, paper, and bamboo socks that Betty brought to share with us. I mostly overdyed some cotton yarns which I have way too much of but don’t particularly care for the colors. I also dipped some papers and found out which ones won’t stand up to dip dyeing (hint, it was the recycled ones that I had pulped in a blender).


On Sunday morning we socialized, worked on our projects, then had a great brunch on the patio of Southern on Main. That afternoon we had our annual business meeting, but there was really very little business, mostly enjoying each other’s company.

Here’s my O postcard for the collaborative postcard tapestry project we are doing for our upcoming exhibition at the Folk Arts Center in January. I’ve almost finished it now and I’ve been given the letter H to weave.


art, art retreats, book arts, dyeing, Nature printing, North Carolina beaches, Topsail Beach

Riveted by Nature on Topsail Island

Friday morning I set off on my own to drive to south Topsail Island, near Wilmington, North Carolina. I’ve been there a few times before, and the last few times I’ve been there to take a class from Leslie Marsh. This class was similar to one I’ve taken from her before, but this time we riveted a leather spine onto the soldered, stamped metal covers. We leaf printed the inside pages in a nature dye vat for the inside signatures, and bound them with a variation of longstitch.

Molten metal scares the crap out of me, otherwise I would fully embrace this technique! I enrolled in Leslie’s wearable metal book class during the pandemic, and I have all the supplies, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it without someone knowledgeable standing by. My first go on these covers were kind of pitiful, and I almost settled for them, but after I saw the other covers in the class, I went back to the soldering station and I resoldered and stamped the covers on my own, so, yay me!. I plan to find a cool bead or shell or other natural object to attach to the top of the spine. I liked this cabochon that Leslie provided because it reminded me of the little turtle I rescued earlier this month.


If I ever do this again with the rivets, I will not solder or stamp with a lot of texture on the sides next to the spine or anywhere else that the rivets go. That presented a problem for me in drilling and inserting the rivets. My drill kept slipping and my holes got wonky and I messed up the leather in places. I also dyed all my pages instead of inserting white pages in the signatures, which I think made the other text blocks pop after I saw them. Still, I’m quite happy with the result.

I didn’t follow directions very well this time either. I placed the cabochon at the top, so my leather binding had to be shaped differently. Plus I was ready to bind before everyone else so I did my binding a different way. HA. If you’d like to see the other books from the class, you can see them on Leslie Marsh’s Instagram page

The pages and the felt bag were dyed in Leslie’s dyepots by rolling them onto copper pipes with leaves and tightly binding the bundles to the pipes. One of my discoveries in this round was redbud leaves. Also, the leaves from my eucalyptus tree didn’t give the reddish oranges that the silver dollar eucalyptus leaves do. I wish I had used more of them. I didn’t get good definition on my wool felt so I’m going to embellish it with embroidery, and next time I am not going to bundle paper with it on the same pipe.




If you are interested in taking any of Leslie Marsh’s classes or buying her fabulous work (she is a multi-talented artist!), her website is  I must warn you that her classes sell out very quickly!

I’ll make another post for my other photos from Topsail Beach.

coffee pot posts

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Turn on the volume for a one-section purr concert from Diego.

It’s a two-fer day, although I’m not sure how long I can sit here blogging. It’s been a hell of a mixed week. As I said in the previous post, I strained my back picking up branches at Lake Waccamaw after Ian sailed through. I wasn’t sure that I could sit on the ride home on Sunday even, but that old Volvo has amazing seat adjustments. We love that car.

I tried walking to work on Monday morning, but by 10 a.m. I was phoning Sandy to come get me. I was hurting bad. He doesn’t answer his phone, doesn’t text, doesn’t check his voice mail. This time he actually had his phone turned off. GRRRRR. Anyway, I slept and dozed most of the day and night on Monday, which proved to me that my body was saying, “let me heal,” because I usually cannot sleep that much. Then on Tuesday, I had a lot of work to do, but I found a position on our big arm chair in the front room where I could be comfortable, so I was able to work on my laptop.

On Wednesday, I had a consult appointment with the gastrointestinal practice to schedule my colonoscopy. Because of my family history, I am supposed to get one every five years, so I started when I was 40. Well, it got coded as diagnostic, and my insurance was treating it as elective, and even after the insurance staff member changed the code they STILL wouldn’t pay because they said that I should get one every ten years. Ah, the U.S. health system, where the insurance companies decide what care is best for you. So I canceled it. All four of my colonoscopies have been completely healthy, and I was a bit late on this one anyway, so I decided to wait 3.5 years until I am on Medicare. If I have symptoms, I’ll schedule it, but I’m not paying thousands of dollars for a procedure that was free last time.

Thursday I went to my chiropractor, who I adore and I don’t know why I have put off going to him, other than mental illness, I guess. He did the electric stimulation thang, massaged me from head to foot manually and with a machine, then adjusted my back, hips, and neck. I knew that he couldn’t do much for an acute strained muscle, but he really cracked my neck, which is a chronic issue for me and was much in need of care. I hope that this will reduce my headaches. This guy is so different from other practices. He doesn’t process insurance claims, he handles all the appointments and admin himself, and he spends an hour concentrating on you, for $85. He doesn’t try to sell you packages or tell you to come back for multiple visits if he thinks he can fix you on one visit. He is not an anti-vaxxer. His office is within a massage therapy business, so while I was there I bought a monthly program for a hour massage.

The big news is that I have made a decision to put off retirement until May-Julyish 2024. I was very serious about retiring on June 1, 2023, and had started looking at my options for temp and part-time jobs and remote jobs. But I was given some options from my department that I had asked for months ago and had accepted that I would never get. I won’t go into the details, but let’s just say that I’m quite happy about it. I realize that for the first time in my life, I am getting what I asked for in my job. I’ve always taken what I was offered – never negotiated for a salary – never asked for promotion although I have been offered them – and in most cases, before I landed here, I was seen as expendable. Now I truly feel valued and I think that I can definitely stick it out for almost two years. There is no downside to this. If my position gets cut in budget cuts, and that is a real possibility, I was planning to leave anyway and I’d probably get some kind of severance or service time deal.

Yesterday we both got the newest Covid variant booster and we went to a friend’s 80th birthday party. We met some very interesting people and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

Today, I don’t know how much sitting I can do, but I’m going to try to weave this postcard tapestry  and finish reading Telegraph Avenue. I’m baffled at its relatively low score on GoodReads. I think that it is a solid 4. I guess some people can’t deal with unsympathetic characters, but life is full of them.

I anticipate hearing some bad news today, but I am in a good place mentally and emotionally.