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Friday, thank God!

Well. This was the longest week ever.

Following the lead of most other universities, UNCG announced that it would suspend classes for one week to give faculty and staff time to get ready and then all lecture and seminar classes would continue online in some form or another beginning March 23, indefinitely.

And while I am relieved that steps are being taken to slow the progress of the pandemic, my allergies and anxiety symptoms combined are mimicking the virus symptoms so I am in quite a tizzy emotionally. I get sick with this kind of thing every single March, but I don’t have a fever.

I’ve got no clue whether I should stay home or not so I’m isolating myself as much as possible. I’m an introvert and a contingency planner (INTJ) so this is good for me. Luckily I have my own office. But I am ready and able to work from home next week if necessary. I’m glad I bought that laptop!

Last night I finally sowed my first tray of seeds. A large variety of peppers, sweet and hot, lots of Roma tomatoes and a few Brandywines, calendula, arnica, and coreopsis. I am using a different kind of tray this year and will transplant the seedlings into bigger pots once they develop two sets of true leaves. I’ll go down to the UNCG community garden to sow some carrots and lettuce. I missed out on getting the garden club students to help me because I forgot about it with everything else going on.

One thing is for sure, I never lack for something to do at home.

The weather is beautiful and we are hanging out on the screened front porch again. I think that winter just might be behind us now.

augggghhhh, collage

Collage from this weekend

Collage from this weekend and chronicling…

I like that word – CHRONICLE. Especially for this pandemic time: “The Coronavirus Chronicles”

I think that I am done with the first collage. It’s called “The Choice.”

Still working on this next one, called “Illustrated Question Box.” They are related.

Then this one is at the beginning stages. I found a battered, nearly illegible voter registration card in the parking lot of the Chapel Hill Library. The graphic in the middle is from an 1886 political booklet, “Hood’s Political Points.” It interspersed advertisements for Hood’s Sarsaparilla with facts and figures about the candidates for president and vice-president in 1886 and a few other charts about congressional pay but most of it is really about the sarsaparilla, baby. This working title is “100 Doses, One Dollar.” I think it will be the beginning of the Coronavirus Chronicles. Thinking as I write now.

I have lots of 19th century magazines and maybe it is time to get them out of my mother’s cedar hope chest and do something interesting with them.

At work we are all scurrying about uploading files to the cloud and getting prepared in case we have to start working from home.

It’s pretty weird. I would be paralyzed with worry if it didn’t seem so surreal.

My friend’s husband’s condition hasn’t changed much. He is still in critical but stable condition. She’s still in quarantine.

I listen to what the local nurses say, and they say that it is here but not being tested. They have seen it in the ERs and tested for flu and it wasn’t flu. Hopefully testing will ratchet up soon and boy howdy then we’ll see the numbers go up.

The soup that was on order didn’t get here. I got an email on Sunday night saying that it was damaged in transit and I would get a refund. Of course, it is not available to reorder now. Guess I will make some chicken soup and freeze it in small containers. I still have a couple of cartons of chicken stock.

I guess I’m not surprised at this government’s response since the people in control think that everything is about business, and NOT preparation for disasters or long-term planning or helping sick people, but executive orders don’t mean shit to a virus.

Wondering whether we should go to the lake Easter weekend. My brother-in-law has a heart problem.

Maybe I should get a refill on my Xanax.

Too bad this coincides with major allergy season. Nobody knows what to think about their dry cough and sore throat. I get this every March.

Gah.

coffee pot posts, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I figure I will write until I am out of coffee, eat some oatmeal, then head to Chapel Hill for my monthly collage group meeting.

The coffee is a gift from my next-door neighbor, who will be a permanent resident soon. Right now he travels back and forth from Tanzania and Bangkok, where his wife teaches. The coffee is from Tanzania, grown on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. We think that they are going to be great neighbors.

Of course we are all starting to get sick…of the constant news about novel coronavirus. But it is important for us to be prepared, especially since I work at a university where a lot of students are coming back from spring break travel. I am an INTJ, which means my biggest talent is contingency planning. We had let our pantry supplies dwindle down as I was saving for Ireland, so we stocked up on a lot of soup and La Croix and V-8 and orange juice and chicken stock. I don’t consider this hoarding. We do this anyway – this was just a reminder that we had not replenished our stash. I still have lots of rice and pasta and canned and frozen food and tea so we will be fine in a quarantine. I gotta have my La Croix water. Will stock up the coffee this weekend, and I’ve decided not to buy beer for a while – try to lose some weight.

I have said that I am going to Ireland if I have to fucking swim there, and I am keeping that mindset because to lose this trip would be devastating to my mental health. I have travel insurance now. But it is happening. I am going to Ireland. Don’t tell me that I might not be able to go.

Our taxes are almost ready and we get the solar panel tax credit this year, which will go straight to the home equity loan. I’m going to focus on getting that paid off once all my travel expenses for the year are paid. I’ve paid for most of these in advance.

I haven’t been writing every day because this is the kind of stuff that I would write about. Boring and anxious crap. Repetitive noise in my head. I don’t want to write about politics because I am sick of it. I haven’t been doing art because I come home from work with a headache or depression and go to my bedroom and fall asleep early or read and play games on my Kindle. Not healthy, but it is what it is. Budget cuts loom at work, and the stock market is killing my retirement savings. I don’t want to think about it, but I knew all along that I probably would not be able to retire early.

Escapist reading: I laughed when I found a free copy of Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor, remembering my glee in reading it during my high school years, and the torrid book covers of the 70s and 80s with Fabio. I even suggested the name to one of my friends when she got pregnant and she named her baby Amber! This copy was from the 60s, and it was written in 1944, one of the first so-called bodice rippers. I promptly tore off the cover and glued it down for a substrate for collage. Then I started reading it out of curiosity and got hooked on it. It is a fun adventure in Restoration England, the sex scenes are hardly there at all despite my memory, and takes my mind off my present reality.

I have been switching back and forth between this and The Milagro Beanfield War. As I get closer to my trip, I think that I will pick up another Tana French mystery. I have been reading Yeats off and on, but I need something a bit lighter.

When I’ve been on the computer, I have been moving my photos from my big travel posts from Flickr to WordPress and updating the links. I am working on the ones from our 2017 trip to England now. Some of these posts had an enormous amount of photos and so I split them into thirds. They still have a lot of photos and probably take forever to download, but I am generally the only person who reads them anyway. The Ireland posts are finished and I am so glad for these memories!

Once that huge blog project is done, I’ll be making some gallery pages.

Okay, done with coffee. Time to move on with my day!

tapestry

Super Tuesday and a caterpillar

I started hemming the caterpillar tapestry on Sunday and noticed that it wasn’t laying flat and was ready to steam and block it when it occurred to me that it didn’t need to be and should not be flat and rectangular! I am so used to working in 2-D and in rectangular shapes that I had not considered otherwise. It does need to hang for this show (the non-juried small tapestry show at Convergence this summer) in a particular way, so I am stuffing it lightly in the middle and leaving it flat on each end. When I get it back I may take off the backing and stuff it more.

Spring break means that it is very quiet at work, giving my nerves a big break in spite of our offices still being open. I got outside for a little while yesterday and did a bit of yard clean-up. We still need to get some outside help with all the wood in the yard. I had hired our next-door neighbor to help and he volunteered to split wood. Said he loved doing it, then he smashed his finger and broke it. Somehow I need to deal with all this wood. Now I wish that I had let the tree guy take it all away. I was doing him a favor and instead he left it in chunks too big for us to handle…he turned out to be a real jerk. Corey split enough for us to use all winter and it burns very well in our wood stove. I am going to text the guy who dug my garden bed and hugelkultur bed and see if he wants it.

I panicked a bit this weekend when I heard that my friend’s husband is in critical condition with coronavirus. Her mother had pneumonia and was at a nursing home facility recovering, then her husband had pneumonia a few days later. Then he was tested and the whole thing was hitting the news and on Monday the Washington Post reported that one of the two people in critical condition had died. When it affects someone you know and love, shit suddenly gets real. I’ve tried not to pester her with texts but we are still playing Words with Friends and I’ve checked her daughter’s Facebook page and so he must not be any worse.

I realize that it is not nearly as important in the larger scheme of the world, but I can’t help but worry about how the pandemic will affect my Ireland trip, which is less than four months away. I bought travel insurance for the flight but not the art retreat, which was very expensive and I had to pay it in cash from my savings. So I don’t even have it on my credit card. It’s paid for, but what happens if I can’t get there and she doesn’t cancel it? I had it in my head that I had covered it with the travel insurance for the flight, but I didn’t. I’m waiting for my insurance agent to call me back with information. Oh, me.

We went to Oden Brewing last night and played rummy and then bingo. We have become such an old couple! It’s been nice to have it so close by. They are going to host an Irish music jam twice a month. Now if they would just brew another malty stout or porter that isn’t high alcohol, it would be perfect.

If you haven’t voted yet, please do so! Every vote does count, no matter what you’ve heard. Even if your candidate has dropped out, the numbers say something about how you would like for our government to work. And be nice to people who aren’t voting the way you are. Everybody is sick of the sniping.

coffee pot posts, collage

Saturday afternoon after voting post

I really struggled at the end on who to vote for in the presidential primary. The rest was pretty easy. I’ve been a Sanders Sister for years, even before he ever ran the first time. But I really really really like Elizabeth Warren. I could not decide right up to filling in the ballot, and then my pen automatically went to Bernie Sanders. So there my decision was made. I hope that Liz is his VP, or he is her VP.

Because of this heavy thinking on my part, I found it very hard to stomach all the vitriol aimed at Bernie’s supporters. Also because most of my friends were struggling with the very same decision. I haven’t seen any cult-like or ugly behavior in person, and it pisses me off to be lumped in with a few loud assholes on the Internet. (There are a few loud assholes in any given group, especially on the Internet.) My guess is that about half of my friends and family will vote for Sanders and the other half for Warren. And I am absolutely fine with any vote other than Twitler or Bloomberg, although if it came down to it in the general election, I would choose a sane person over an insane person instead of a third party or write-in or not voting at all.

I am not a Democrat any more and frankly, I despise both parties, but I vote Democrat because I am practical. I think that we need bold solutions fast but I don’t see how other parties or independents have a chance here in the states for the short time we have left to act. In fact, I think that our time is already up but that’s me being negative again. So for me, progressive politics is actually the middle ground.

Now that that is taken care of, I have a wild collage in progress on the work table. I wanted to play and push myself by starting with some colors that I don’t like. I may end up making this into a book cover – I think that would be fun.

I got rid of a bunch of books this week but brought home twice as many from a free pile outside of Pages Past used bookstore. Old books are an addiction, but in this case I was looking for old cloth covered battered ones that nobody wants that can be torn apart for collage. I will give about half of them to the collage group members. Of course, after I picked them out based on color and damage and material, I brought them home and got interested in them, like these…

Two books by the author of Beau Geste, Mary Renault, saucy political books from the 20s-40s. “The Nine Old Men” is about the Supreme Court.

A preachy patriarchal book published in 1914 about how to raise your children, “Life’s Golden Ladder from the Cradle to the Throne for The Young and the Old,” is a delight.

My other project this weekend is to set up the four foot wide grow light. I actually have it out of the box and a space set up for it, so it might really happen! I told the director of UNCG Gardens that I didn’t think that I would be physically able to handle cleaning up my plots to garden there again this year, and so the students in the garden club cleaned them up and put down new soil! She said that they loved the work and would help me more if I came out to direct them the Wednesday after spring break. That really did my heart good, so I’m starting seeds. Once it gets out of the 20s and low 30s at night I will move them out to the little greenhouse.

And I am doing better physically. I think this is the first February in a long time that I have not gotten sick, and my neck and elbow and shoulder is better. My major issue is anxiety right now, to the extent that I nearly had a panic attack for the first time in ages on Thursday. Fortunately, work stuff is about to slow down just a tad, and with Spring Break (shouldn’t they call it Late Winter Break?) next week it will be much quieter.