augggghhhh, cloth weaving, coffee pot posts

Sunday afternoon coffee pot post

At this point, I really should switch to herbal tea. In fact, I have been drinking hot herbal tea in the late afternoon and evening lately. I guess it was all that reading about life in Wales that made me want hot tea. Last night I drank real tea and I was awake until 2:30, but part of that is that I can’t turn my brain off. In the morning, I sleep like the dead. If I am left to sleep on my own schedule, I sleep for 9-10 hours.

The first thing I did was to move over the photos from Jan. 2018, and I remembered why I suddenly loaded so many photos to Flickr again in 2018. I discovered a setting where my photos would automatically save to Flickr, and went crazy with it. In a way, I’m glad. Even though it is making more work for me now, I enjoy seeing the photos again and if that encouraged me to blog more, it is worth it. I’ll get it done before the end of the year. It took me 45 minutes just to do January 2018!

Looking at the photos of my cloth weaving makes me want to return to it. I wore a sewing machine slam out doing the denim blanket, but I also enjoy hand sewing the small squares and as long as I don’t get obsessive over it it is a nice portable project. I took out the panels that I sewed for Sandy’s shirt/trouser blanket and I think that this is a UFO that needs to be finished over Christmas break.

One of the things that kept me awake last night was that I think that I figured out at least one of my foot issues – Leddenhose Disease, a type of plantar fibromatosis. When I was diagnosed with Dupuytren contracture in my hand in 2012, the surgeon asked me at that time had I noticed any nodules in my feet. Apparently the two often happen together. I had a nodule appear on the bottom of my foot below my big toe under my arch about the size of a pea this summer. Now it is the size of a marble, but it is far enough under my arch that it doesn’t hurt when I walk. So my other pain issues may stem from this. Dupuytren contracture runs in my family – both of my parents had it and my sister has it. I had surgery on mine only because I was already having surgery for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis in the same wrist. It didn’t hurt but eventually it would have made my fingers curl up. It looked more ropelike than a round nodule like this one so I didn’t make the connection. I figured that it was some kind of ganglion cyst.

I found some more Futuro arch supports that I like online and they have helped with my nighttime pain a lot. I can wear them with and without shoes, so I don’t have to wear shoes in the house now. Here is a link to the Amazon page. Walgreen’s stopped carrying them, so I had to go with Amazon.

Obviously I will need to see a podiatrist at some point but not now. It can wait.

My artist neighbor across the street just knocked on the door and left a framed collage of his and a bottle of wine on our porch! He is a successful artist with an established art clientele, although his main business is faux finish painting interiors. We talked again about doing an art studio sale together when the pandemic calms down, which is very exciting. He has been very encouraging about my collage work. This gave me quite a lift. I do love my neighbors here.

Update: Just dusted the molding and walls over the closet door and door and transom window in my bedroom. Those places you don’t see the dust collecting until it is choking you. Wow. It was bad. Those are the kind of tasks that I am concentrating on – the places you don’t notice any more.

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

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Again, I stayed up way too late and got up early to feed the little monsters, then went back to bed and slept way too long. My dreams were vivid and not necessarily good, but I still wanted to remain within them rather than join reality today. I was brutally honest on a Facebook post yesterday: “I am a bitter, angry person.”

However, last night I was up because I was caught up in reading “The Last Days of Dogtown” by Anita Diamant. It is a thin volume and I had been warned off by the words “not as good as The Red Tent” but I am enjoying it immensely.

Orbitz finally responded to my third follow-up email in which I said that if I didn’t get a response by Nov. 30, the original date of my flight credit’s expiration, I would go higher and go to social media. I hate having to threaten to go to social media, even when I do it nicely, but it seems to be effective. They granted me the same credit that they had in August, with the same conditions, but I have to book before Dec. 31 now.

I immediately went into some kind of frantic angry brain-fogged research and decided that the airfares were now too high for the credit to be worth flying on Aer Lingus again. I filled out a customer service survey that I now regret. Somebody, please, help me get control of my brain back.

Because when I calmed down and thought about it, I looked at my Southwest account and found a lot of miles had been refunded from that trip. Which reminded me that on the original trip, I used those miles to fly to Boston, and booked Aer Lingus through Orbitz from Boston-Dublin-Boston. Well, that is an entirely different scenario. Flights are much, much cheaper to Ireland from Boston. So the current plan is to fly by myself the same way that I planned to this past summer, and the other three in our vacation party can fly together from Raleigh on United. We’ll meet up in Dublin. I don’t mind flying by myself. The only issue left is dates.

Vaccination against Co-vid 19 is naturally the key. If it becomes available as expected, I will not be in the first groups to get it. I’ll turn 60 in February and fortunately in pretty good health. The other three are over 65 and will likely be able to get it in time for summer travel. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see, but as an INTJ, contingency planning is “my thing” and this much uncertainty is driving me a bit bonkers, considering that my planning (with wasted money on travel insurance) didn’t mean much this year.

I remember pronouncing, “I’m going to Ireland even if I have to swim there!” HA! I’m not that strong a swimmer.

Anyway, I am bitter and angry, mostly about politics, but also circumstances that I won’t mention here. Let’s just say that I am very disappointed in a few people and leave it at that. I should store that up for the Airing of the Grievances on Festivus. And I am SO TIRED of all the cheery gratitude and sappy Christmas songs and I’m gonna stop here before I regret that too.

I talked to my sister for about an hour on the phone on Thanksgiving Day. Usually we spend this holiday together, and it is the only holiday that I actually celebrate and enjoy any more. Our personalities have a lot in common, even though our personal styles could not be more different. I love and miss her deeply, but I’m not sure that we could live together without making each other crazy. We have talked about doing that as we get older, and maybe we will both move to Portugal. It could happen, but she will be doing all the interior design and decorating, and I will just try not to embarrass her with my total lack of care about fashion and style trends. She would probably be good for me, but I’m not sure that I’d be good for her.

Just looked at my last few posts and realized that I am obsessing and repeating myself. But whatever. At least there has been progress.

The turkey dinner from Deep Roots was pretty good. The only thing we really did not like was the brussels sprouts – they were tough. But the cornbread dressing was delicious, as was the bacon/swiss quiche and cherry pie. It’s been really nice to have plenty for turkey sandwiches and leftovers. I think that I’ll make turkey tetrazinni today or tomorrow.

I haven’t sewed up my masks yet. I found that 2013 was a very photo-heavy year for me on this blog, in part because I took up a visual journal project. So I got obsessed with trying to get this blog/photo project done and it is taking up a LOT of time. It is also dredging up some unhappy memories and I expect that is part of my current malaise.

The man is up and about, complaining about it being too hot in there and turning off the heat. It’s really funny because we have switched in this respect. Now he is the one who is always too hot, and I get spells where I am so cold I wrap up in blankets and shiver. He used to be the cold one, always wearing sweaters and wrapping up while I was getting ice packs out of the freezer and turning off the heat. We keep the thermostat at 68 F and that hasn’t changed.

Time to finish up 2013 and begin 2014, which was a very, very tough year and I’d like to get that one over with.

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.