Back Forty, Blather, coffee pot posts

Thursday lunch post

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I just edited a whole bunch of photos and wrote a post about going to Dunleath Porchfest on June 12, because my work ethic is to get the easy quick projects out of the way first. It works for me.

Today is such a light workday. It is so refreshing to have these days after the work crunch of spring semester, and such a shock when the world returns to semi-normal in August. I’ve only had one visitor to the office, and one phone call. One faculty member is here in her office. All the classes are online. I caught up on everything that built up during my vacation on Tuesday.

The front and back gardens are looking lovely – but the other parts of the yard are getting grown up with pokeweed and English ivy and poison ivy and ground ivy. I posted a recommendation request on the Next Door app and got loads of messages back. So I knuckled down and made the phone calls. I hate making phone calls worse than almost anything in the world. I like public speaking better. I like eating liver better. I like listening to Garth Brooks better. The responses are beginning to come in.

This is the pretty part:

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I got shit done yesterday and today though. I went to Leon’s Beauty School and had half of my hair whacked off. I did a couple of loads of laundry and got completely frustrated with the plumbing situation, so a plumber was called and is coming tomorrow afternoon. I have managed to put this off for at least a year. Sandy and I went to lunch at Lindley Filling Station and I ordered a healthy salad. We got one car inspected. I filled out the form to make an eye appointment in mid-July – I had hoped for sooner, so we’ll see whether I stick with them. I ordered a few colors of Golden paint that I’ve been wanting.

And I spent money. I bought plane tickets for Dublin to Lisbon. I don’t feel very secure about it, and not only because of Covid concerns. TAP, the Portuguese airline, was really the best choice as far as the length of the trip (2 hr 45 min) and the time of departure because we needed a morning flight. It was the best price for a flight that allowed checked baggage. But their website was a nightmare and had conflicting/confusing information about whether we could get a voucher or refund if the flight was cancelled. So I called a couple of times and I couldn’t get anyone to answer after listening to hold music for way too long. Then I checked out their Facebook page AFTER I booked the flight (I do have 24 hours to cancel, I know that) and saw many complaints with very unsatisfactory responses from TAP. This morning I took another look at my choices and I am sticking with TAP and hoping for the best. Hoo boy.

The fact is, I feel compelled to move forward with this trip. I had to tweak our plans. For one thing, my sister and brother-in-law are definitely not coming with us. They want to wait, and I can’t blame them for that. My sister says that she knows someone with an auto-immune disease who found out that she had no antibodies after she was vaccinated. We’ll buy a couple of antibody tests at Walgreens and see. Maybe Sandy will need a more robust mask to wear.

We also realized that there was a logistical problem with spending the weekend in Dublin. We have to have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of getting on the plane to Portugal. We could probably get a fast test in Dublin, but, we’d have to do that right away and we’ll be tired.  By the time we land in Lisbon, we will have been on planes or in airports for over 24 hours. We are going to be exhausted so Friday night in Lisbon will probably be a waste while we rest. And I can tell you from the past long wait in Dublin airport that it is not a comfy place to hang out. But the TAP flight after a six hour layover in Dublin was the only nonstop flight that left in a reasonable time frame. If all goes well, we’ll be in Lisbon early Friday afternoon, after leaving Raleigh on Thursday morning.

But hey! It gives us more time in Portugal! Winning! I changed our AirBNB apartment to a smaller one that costs about the same for the longer amount of time – good reviews, super cheap, and right next to the big Lisbon flea market, which will thrill both of us. Close to the main historic part of Lisbon and most importantly, a short walk to the train station. Flea market and exploring Lisbon on Saturday, then we plan to take at least a couple of day trips on the train or bus tours to other parts of Portugal, then another day or two in Lisbon.

Sandy really wanted to spend the whole trip in Portugal, and I considered that. We are seriously talking about emigrating there when I retire, and we need to check it out. But I really want to take that art class with Lora Murphy and chill out on the western beaches of Ireland, so the compromise was made. He will be happy in Ireland too.

Okay, back to work.

 

coffee pot posts

Wednesday morning coffee pot post

This is a brain dump.

Considering that the left and southwest part of the country is under a massive heat wave, the temperature is pretty amazing here – the high is supposed to be 77 F. I’m working on the front porch this morning. Soon I will be back in the office every day, so I’m enjoying the privilege of being able to do this most days until July 6. Last week and Monday we were at the lake, and I took vacation days this time. I needed a break from email and the computer, although it didn’t stop me from posting on Facebook and playing games on my Kindle. I have so many photos to edit and blog posts to write, but this morning while Sandy is at his water exercise class, I’m taking advantage of a light work day and the quiet to write a little catch-up.

There has been a loss – my friend Jess Usher, who got his MA and PhD in history at UNCG. He was working in south Georgia, so our friendship was virtual for the past few years. He was one of the only people who regularly whipped my ass at Words with Friends and now I am sad every time I open it. We played one or two turns a day, and when he missed a day, I worried. This time my worry was valid. He was a warrior for justice, especially for Latinx immigrants, and had a wicked sense of humor.

My anxiety level was sky high the week that I went to Elkin for the tapestry retreat, to the point that I was embarrassed. I thought I might have to go back on the anxiety meds. But after three days at the lake, I calmed down quite a bit.

Mainly I’m thinking about our trip to Ireland and Portugal. A misunderstanding caused me to suggest to Sandy that we spend the whole trip in Portugal, which he is eager to do. Now that the misunderstanding has been cleared up, I want to go back to the plan of leaving for Lisbon as soon as we land in Dublin, flying back to Dublin after a week, taking the train to Westport in western Ireland, then spending the remainder of our trip in an AirBNB apartment in Mulranny, a beach town near Achill Island. I know, based on how we both feel now, that we will be exhausted after a week in Portugal.

I haven’t gotten much exercise yet. I spent the week at the lake mostly sitting on my butt on the back porch. I did a little swimming one day. I decided to stop taking the meloxicam while I was there so I could be freer with my food and alcohol intake. Turned out that I didn’t drink much at all, but I did eat some good food. And some junk food. My appetite is pretty low these days, for some reason. Too lazy to fix food? I need to start walking every day. Yesterday I walked to work and boy, did my hips ache.

I have so many things that I need to do today/soon. Car inspection. Get someone to clean up our yard. Call a plumber. Go to the drugstore. Go to the grocery store. Laundry. Call for an eye appointment. I definitely have to do that because my eyesight is interfering with finishing the lake tapestry. Get my hair cut, because someone mistook me for a person who I dislike pretty intensely at Dunleath Porchfest a couple of weeks ago. As much as I wanted to deny it, the mirror told me that there was a resemblance. Weight loss and a change of wardrobe is required as well. It’s time for a change anyway.

The garden is lovely right now and the tomatoes are ripening, although the first couple of bigger ones had blossom end rot. I’ll need to add some epsom salts to the pots.

I will have a lake post and hopefully a post backdated to the Elkin retreat with lots of photos, but I just don’t have time to do the photo editing right now. There are about 200 photos to go through. Maybe tomorrow.

Greensboro North Carolina

Dunleath Porchfest

We missed the last Dunleath Porchfest but trust me, if I am in town, I will not miss it again. If you are a fan of Americana, old time, and bluegrass, it was especially rewarding, although there were a few other styles. It was difficult to choose which musicians to see since there were so many playing in the same time slots. We chose some of our personal friends.

Joel Landau, who I know from many years of managing Deep Roots Market and being one of the few good guys on the board when the board went rogue and nearly ruined DRM by changing the mission. In addition to being a crucial rescuer of Deep Roots Market, he plays Beatles covers.

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Then we walked several blocks to the other end of the neighborhood and split our time between Michael Blind-Dog Gatewood and Jamie Anderson. “Blind-Dog” plays gritty Nawlins style blues and is a new friend – I am rapidly becoming a huge fan since I love early 20th century jazz and blues. Jamie is a songwriter/singer who is a good friend and former boss (currently he is a professor of Asian history at UNCG), and he started playing music in the Seattle and Boston areas with new wave/punk bands. I’m so glad that he started playing again in Greensboro.

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Then we backtracked to the street where we began, where our friends and former neighbors, members of the Dellwoods, played old-time music on the porch of our good friends, the Wongs. Every person on that porch has now been a guest at the Lake Waccamaw house at some point, so I’m scheming to get them all there at one time so we can have a hootenanny.

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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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