augggghhhh, coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety

An anxiety interlude

I skipped a day blogging. Every day brings its own set of hellish news, but yesterday’s news struck very close to home. For the first time, I am really nervous about losing my job to budget cuts. I am worried about MANY people I know losing their jobs and (because we’re “‘Murica!”) health insurance to budget cuts. In a PANDEMIC that is rocketing.

PW Exclusive: UNC System Exploring Worst Case Scenario Budget Cuts of Up to 50%

The hit to our economy from these budget cuts would be massive at 25%.

Yesterday morning my main concern was when my work laptop would be available because my personal one is so rickety slow, and whether I would be able to avoid the bathrooms when I go back to work.

Late yesterday I sent a form to HR with permission for us to hire a staff member to teach a class for us. He has done it before and I see this form as a big waste of time but, whatever. He waited a few weeks to send it to me. HR sent me an email last night that there is a personnel hiring freeze. There wasn’t one three weeks ago. His online class is full, and we accounted for it in our budget.

Ominous.

My reaction to anything since Twitler was elected has been pretty numb. Yes, I’ve been to protests and spoken up, and contacted my congressional reps (knowing that it was pointless). But the atrocity waves of 2020 are wearing me down. The main reason I am at the lake is to get my mental health back to a more functional place. I cannot shut down.

From now on I will save the rest of my vacation days in case I lose my job. If I can manage to keep my job until Feb. 17, 2021, I believe that I can retire with my pension at 85% and hopefully keep my health benefits. The health insurance is key. Thank God Sandy is on Social Security and Medicare.

Of course, who know what might happen with all that, with an increasingly authoritarian government who gets away with doing almost anything they want, and voter suppression active and in the open.

Down here at Lake Waccamaw, where people held a 100 boat flotilla parade flying Twitler/Putz flags on July 4 on a STATE PARK lake, where few people wear masks inside the local grocery store, I am for the first time more afraid of these fanatics than I am of the natural predators. I backed in my car so that my Bernie bumper stickers can’t be seen from the road. This is why I could never live down here in rural eastern NC again.

augggghhhh, Back Forty, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

It hasn’t sunk in yet, else I might be curled up in the bed with a panic attack. It occurred to me that I’d best ration out my Xanax for the much tougher times to come. We are probably prepared more than many people but both of us, Sandy especially, are at risk and his way of coping tends toward denial. Neither of us are particularly nurturing types either. He came from a childhood of neglect and when he gets sick he hides away. Since that is how he handles his own sickness, he assumes that when I am sick or hurt I want to be left alone. I am more nurturing than that since I was cared for as a child and I have the background to know what to do for someone, but I am selfish with my energy. We might have to do better for each other.

My posts will probably not be very entertaining and more than likely be quite whiny for some time while I adjust to the new reality. I will continue to make most of them public anyway.

Wednesday I got the email saying that the art retreat in Ireland has been rescheduled for next June, at the same time as the Focus on Book Arts Conference. So there has been no offer of a refund. I understand that it is wrecking small businesses everywhere, but I don’t know what to do. One of my Irish friends sent me a link to an Irish government web site that plainly says that I am entitled to a refund, but I will wait a little longer before deciding whether to ask for one. My travel insurance will not cover the expense.

I haven’t canceled any of my hotel rooms or my flight. Boy, I hate to give up that good deal on the flight – $541 RT to Dublin. It seems probable that I won’t have a choice since it is predicted now to go on for months instead of weeks.

There is also the matter of the Handweavers Guild of America conference in late July. I have paid for that in advance and have two workshops booked. I have reservations but not prepaid for the hotel.

The other two workshops are with Leslie Marsh at her studio in Topsail Beach, one in mid May and one at the beginning of August. They would be small groups, but I could see good reasons for Leslie to cancel. Some beaches are closing to non-residents too – it is easy for N.C. islands to restrict cars because most have to be reached by bridge or ferry.

The toughest part of this has been that I have obsessively focused on these trips, especially to Ireland, place of my heart, in order to cope with the election year and climate change and heartless actions of our government. Now most of that is stripped away and I am vulnerable to some massive hurting.

I am definitely trying to focus on the positive aspects of where I live and how Sandy and I are prepared. It is helping a lot. For example, I am sitting on my screened front porch with my cats, listening to the birds sing and the Yoshina cherry trees are in full bloom. My neighbors are the kind that help each other and I am watching them do so across the street as I type. We are close to good hospitals, although they are already getting overwhelmed. My new next door neighbor, Datus, is here and his wife Katie and their child are flying back from Bangkok today where she has been working. I was worried about them all getting back here. This is a wonderful street to live on.

Yesterday I planted lettuce, carrots, radishes, and parsley since my parsley is on its second year. There is too much mint growing, of course, but I am stocked for tea! Feverfew is self-seeding and there are a couple of asparagus spears coming up. I meant to plant more this winter, oh well. The raspberry cane is looking healthy. Roma and Brandywine tomato seedlings are poking up their heads under the grow light, and so is bright calendula. Other seeds planted under the grow light are arnica, coreopsis, and a huge variety of peppers. Enough to share. My eucalyptus tree made it through the winter this time. I am well set for herbs and medicinal plants. I have walking onions from last year and a few more leeks.

The tough part is that my garden space is a restaurant for critters. I haven’t seen the groundhog family yet, but that doesn’t mean they are not around. A big rabbit who probably has a family is here, whoa, there he goes as I type this, but in my experience they prefer to eat the violets in the yard. I have the little greenhouse for the heat loving plants and will see what I can do for critter protection with wire fencing cages and hoops.

Yesterday I pulled up eight big leeks and one big green elephant garlic, washed and sliced them, cooked them, and put them in small containers in the freezer. Earlier this week I cooked rice, chicken, onion, garlic, beef, carrots, and potatoes in a variety of combinations and put those in small containers in the freezer. The idea is that we can make quick soups or other concoctions in the microwave if neither of us feels well, and it won’t be the same thing every time.

To think that I almost recycled all those Talenti containers that I saved! For once my hoarding was a good thing. (However, they are NOT microwavable.)

They are still hosting food trucks at Oden Brewing across the railroad tracks so we got dinner from the Succotash Durham truck (SHRIMP PLATES, y’all) and take-out beer from the outside window. Expensive, but we are supporting local businesses while we can and the “crowlers” are 19.2 oz. each.

Chewy shipped another bag of prescription cat food to us yesterday. I figure that Diego will still have his dental surgery on Tuesday, unless we hear otherwise. Sandy is rightly concerned about the cat litter situation but I think that we have enough for two weeks if he scoops it out and doesn’t dump it all out. He stocked up on bird seed earlier this week. I don’t want him to go to the stores right now, although I can’t stop him if he is stubborn about it.

Fortunately he bought a large pack of sanitizer wipes for his CPAP machine and I had stocked up on rubbing alcohol a while back. We have healthy aloe plants.

I am grateful we do not have children or grandchildren or parents to care for. I’m not sure that I could do it. Thank God Sandy is on social security and Medicare now.

I do have to work in the middle of all this. But I am so lucky that I will have a job and that I can do it in isolation from home. I have never been so thankful for having a good job as I am now. It will give me something beyond survival to focus on.

I am glad I wrote all this. I feel better now. I really am where I need to be.

There is a plethora of free art workshops to do online now. I hope that somewhere in the middle of preparing my garden and working from home I will have something arty to share tomorrow and next week.

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.

augggghhhh, Back Forty, coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina

Saturday morning coffee pot post

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Because we all need cute kitty photos right now.

Hey y’all. I fully intend to work on finishing the travelogue during the next few days. I need to do it because many of my memory cells for details left with my estrogen a few years ago, and that’s one of the reasons I love to document my trips – to revisit them later.

Right now, I am, as most women are in this nation, gobsmacked over the proceedings in Washington, D.C. This one hit so much more personally than other sexual assault or harassment accounts because of the age of Dr. Ford and most of all, the fear factor. I’m repeatedly revisiting an episode in my life that I do not want to think about at all. So many of us are.

The other MAJOR thing that shell-shocked my sister and me this week was somewhat expected, but it is a little like when you have an elderly loved one that has arthritis and other health issues but has powered through many difficulties, and then that loved one meets with an accident and dies. My sister’s home and the house that my grandfather built at Lake Waccamaw are going to be demolished due to the flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Therefore, I am processing grief about my sister and brother-in-law’s loss and I am processing grief about losing the place where I go to process grief. I don’t know yet whether houses will be rebuilt on the sites. My sister had good flood insurance and the FEMA agent was very encouraging about them recovering their financial loss. The other house has never had insurance. We are all reeling.

I haven’t heard from my brother in Lumberton. I haven’t heard from Weezer. I’m not sure that I can talk about it with her yet now that my tears have started. I have always been a place person. I’m not even over selling Mama’s house yet. I will write further about Lake Waccamaw later when I have more information. I, I, I. Yes, I’m aware of all the I’s I am using. I’m aware of the other suffering in the world that is greater than mine.

In addition, there is hypocrisy and drama and devious game playing at my workplace again, despite the efforts of some to bring a unified consensus about who might be our next department head. I’m just praying that it won’t be the same kind of shitshow that happened almost four years ago. My workplace used to have a really great collegial atmosphere except for the usual couple of irredeemable curmudgeons found in every organization, but I have seen a side of people that makes me disgusted and puzzled and exhausted and unsure of what people think of me. I don’t have any faith in the higher administrators. Thank God I can close my office door, play some music and get my work done, and dream about retirement.

So there you have it. My venting is done.

There is a pumpkin in the Back Forty that I’m going to go cut off the vine and bring in. Pablocito is purring on this table – he would be directly behind the laptop if my sewing machine wasn’t there. Diego showed some spunk this morning and raced back and forth through the house and out to the porch and back. There are butterbeans to be shelled and tomatoes to be cooked into sauce.

I’m going to research small RVs and RV camping for beginners. I was planning to buy a cheap camper van from a neighbor when I got back from our big trip but I don’t think that I will now.

Solar panel installation financing has been approved but I have to find some paperwork and it may take longer to get done that I anticipated. There will have to be some rewiring in the attic, and I hope to get this done at the same time.

Next weekend I am going to the Talk Story retreat in Stamford, Connecticut to take a 2-day class with Sharon Payne Bolton and that will be a very welcome stress reliever! I took a class with her several years ago in California and it was a wonderful experience. If you ever have a chance to go to one of these events, I highly recommend it. It is a great choice for a first art retreat, although it may addict you. (This retreat was known as Art is You, but they are reorganizing and renaming it.)

Back to the travelogue, which I will backdate once I finish the series.

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augggghhhh, Back Forty, coffee pot posts, critters, depression/anxiety

Sunday morning coffee pot post

This is how it happens. I think this is why it happens. My mind says, “You have to do this! You should do this! You’re a terrible person if you don’t do this!”

I start to do it and my body says, “Yeah, baby, I’m shutting this down right now since you didn’t listen to my advice when I suggested that you stop.”

So not only did I miss the march yesterday, I ended up with a headache that prevented me from doing any artwork, which was part of the reason WHY I didn’t want to go to the march. The rest of the reason is that sometimes I just have to have a day with solitude. No music, no talking, no noise, no expectations. My energy reserve ran out when I went to Deep Roots for the Taste Fair, and I came home and went to bed.

Of course, the simplest reason is spring allergies. So I took an Allegra and drank elderberry tea with honey, washed out my sinuses with a neti pot. Then I sat on the sofa and did some simple stitching.

All night long I woke up with numb hands. ARGH.

Really, at this point, what the hell? So I’ll set up this free-standing frame I purchased back when my hands were really bad to hold my fabric when I stitch. I have a new chiropractor who I’ll see on April 17, and will try to get a massage appointment with Tonya, who fixed me before but made me cry.

The other bad news came this morning. I stepped out back to take another before photo of the Back Forty. As I turned to come inside, I saw him run across the yard and under that white building. When I looked at the photo and expanded it, there he is, on the left near the back.

Yup. It’s back. Now I know who pooped in the pea bed.

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woodchuck

Now the friggin’ church bells across the street are playing “The Old Rugged Cross” which always reminds me of my mother. They play hymns twice a day during the week and more on Sundays.

I’m in a dark place right now so I’d appreciate any positive vibes sent my way. As long as they are not “thoughts and prayers.”