Blather, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles

Sunday noon coffee pot post

This time I’m posting at noon not because I slept late (although I did go back to bed for a little while) but because I’ve been trying to get laundry done. Because the plumbing is backed up again, I have to monitor the outflow and when the pipe fills divert the washing machine hose to some buckets that I have next to the washer. Then I dump the buckets outside. We have a lot of laundry right now.

Better than having to haul laundry down to the river or use a washboard in the tub, I guess. Actually I thought I might be prepared because I bought an antique washing machine, basically a tub on wheels with a wringer, for papermaking several years ago, and at first the plan was to use it if the power went out, and so I thought that I’d just dump the water in there. Not so fast, though, the drain stopper is missing and the corks I tried to substitute keep popping out. Who ever knew that a washing machine used so much water!!!

The next time, I am buying a cheap mechanical washing machine. No more of these computerized Samsungs. I want something that I can control.

I was drying our clothes on clothes racks, but I found that using the dryer helps a lot as far as getting the cat hair out. So we’ve gone back to that again. I would love to move everything out of this house, clean it from floor to ceiling, clean the HVAC ducts, clean all the furniture and stuff, and then move half of it back in and give the rest away. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!!!

Just fed the man a bowl of hot oatmeal with brown sugar and blueberries. He is in bed again, this time with a headache. He wants to walk outside and have me come pick him up in the car at a certain point. I convinced him to walk around the house a few times to get some sunshine and have me with him in case he falls.

Yesterday we ordered delivery from our local pizzeria, Slices by Tony, which does a lot more than pizza, and I guess that was worth paying the Door Dash fee, although I don’t like doing that. Sandy had a chicken philly sub and a connolli and I had a veggie calzone, and it was enough for two meals. I couldn’t eat last night so I still have 2/3 of a calzone and leftover lasagna for tonight.

I am about ready for some good Chinese or Vietnamese or Japanese food. I love Italian and Mediterranean but I’m tired of it. If I can get it together I will make a big stir-fry tonight.

I didn’t get any weaving or the chores (such as laundry) done yesterday because I had a migraine mid- afternoon. But I’m going to try again today. Vacuuming and laundry take precedence right now. I’ve been in bed too much because it is the place where I feel comforted.

The nice things that happened: I got on a Zoom meeting with the Women Over 50 Moving to Portugal Friendship Facebook group and was able to see the faces and listen to these women I have been chatting with online for the last several months. They are a good group – all the nasty attitudes and anti-maskers and Co-vid deniers get weeded out fast. You don’t get to act ugly or sarcastic to someone in the group more than once, generally. You are called out and removed by three able admins who live in Portugal. They have great advice and infinite patience, although if you search this group out, I advise you to search through the posts to see if your questions have been addressed. There are almost daily posts about bringing pets to Portugal, luggage and shipping recommendations, and D-7 Visa processes. Also lots of jokes and memes and NSFW language.

I talked for a long time to my friend JQ who now lives in New York state on Friday night and to Susanne yesterday. It helped to confide in my friends and let them know what is going on. It was so good to hear their voices! Susanne and I are going to try to get together to walk in a couple of weeks.

I feel like I could handle this a lot better if I was not so depressed and on the verge of agoraphobia.
This really is a “Coronavirus Chronicles” post because if we weren’t in a pandemic, Sandy might have been given a proper medical screening in December, I would have gotten a shingles vaccine this weekend with no problems, and we would have had a plumber in here months ago.

Once we can get vaccinated and Sandy is not so sick, I am going to the lake.

Blather, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, whatever

Looking ahead in 2021

Well, this is certainly a crap shoot, isn’t it? But I will take a stab at it. I can at least visualize what I hope for.

I actually started writing this post several days ago just in case I got a case of the blues and couldn’t do it. But I woke up fairly bright and sassy this morning, after a shower, under clean sheets, with clean leggings and shirt on, which is a step up in my world! I made coffee and oatmeal, and put on earrings. I haven’t worn earrings in months, and my ear holes were starting to close up. So in went my beautiful earrings that I bought in Santa Fe at the market in the plaza. We will eat some field peas and collards at some point today for luck in money.

Tapestry Weavers South plans to have a retreat and exhibition at the same time as the Blue Ridge Fiber Fest. Tapestry Weavers South has its “headquarters” at Yadkin Valley Fiber Arts Center in Elkin, NC, and the Blue Ridge Fiber Fest takes place in Sparta, NC, about a thirty minute drive from Elkin. The plan is early June. All this is within a couple of hours’ drive for me.

Whether I’ll have a tapestry to exhibit remains to be seen. I’d like to finish the lake rain tapestry that I started with my naturally dyed silk threads.

We hope to visit Portugal for two weeks in September, with a stopover in Dublin on the way for a couple of days, since we will fly through there anyway and my sister wants to see Dublin. Some of this may depend on our health. My husband’s health is particularly troubling right now, but we all have issues of some kind. I booked my one plane ticket to get my refund from Orbitz so I’ll be flying on my own and will meet the others in Dublin. I also reserved a couple of rooms in the B&B in Howth where we stayed before, just to make me feel good.

This means that I definitely won’t be doing the art retreat in western Ireland next summer, and maybe not at all.

I anticipate that I will be working from home except for Fridays again through the spring semester depending on how the vaccine gets distributed. I’m not sure how I am going to adjust to going back to work in the office full time. It will be tough, considering how this feeds my agoraphobia, and how my sleep pattern has changed, and how my physical pain has been better working from home.

Yesterday, the state government changed the vaccine schedule so that I am actually in phase 1b group 2, and my family members with serious health risks are in phase 2! This is due to me being educational support staff. I assume that universities are included. If not, I’ll be heading to the back of the line again. I was not particularly happy about this change, due to my intense worry about my family, and that I can actually do my job well from home, but as Sandy said, they can’t really micromanage this to that level. Teachers are essential frontline workers, and so are the housekeepers and other support staff that can’t do their jobs from home.

Hopefully I won’t have to attend any protests, although the state government is probably in worse shape than it was pre-election. Thank God we have Democrats for governor and attorney general, at least.

My main focus is probably going to be downsizing, and getting some house repairs and improvements done once it is safer to let people in the house. However, my expectations are lower about actually being able to move away from here. For one thing, I see how much rent is in places in the US where I’d like to live. Good God. We can’t afford that. It is more than our house payments were! Portugal is still my hope but I’m not sure that I will be able to get the house sold and packed up if Sandy’s health issues do not get resolved or worsen. (And Sandy needs to raise the rent on his condo for sure!)

I’m not going to waste effort on food gardening. Other people can feed the groundhogs.

I’d like to get back to weaving strips of cloth since that seems to be the most relaxing and satisfying thing that I could do. Make some books and use up a lot of my supplies. Get my Etsy shop up and running again. Sell collage packs. I wonder if I can sell old copies of Handwoven and Cloth Paper Scissors and Quilting Arts magazines on Etsy? I’ll have to check. If not, maybe on Ebay.

I hope that Leslie Marsh will do some more workshops at her home/studio at Topsail Beach. I bought her online class for making a tiny book necklace with metal covers, but I have a hard time following through on online classes. I ordered some supplies for soldering. I’m nervous about this one because of my klutziness, but it will be a good skill to master. The book that I made in Leslie’s in person class is one of the nicest books I ever made.

Maybe Kevin will invite me to participate in his home studio show next year. He likes my collage work.

Most of all, I desperately want to get over my artist’s block. To have all this time at home and feel so frozen is incredibly frustrating. I made a couple more masks yesterday, and I’m going to finish up the others today so that I can move on to something else. I have so many online classes on deck that it is crazy. I don’t even remember how many, so I am working on a list. I will need to add one more…after watching MaryBeth Shaw do a live Facebook art journaling session last night, I bought another one called 21 Secrets. And then I remembered that I bought an online class from MaryBeth this summer that I never finished! This is getting out of control.

Back Forty, Blather, Coronavirus Chronicles, Reading

A cold rainy day

Here it is Wednesday, with icy cold rain falling outside. Fortunately the ice is not sticking here, but it has rained a LOT and that means water flowing through the Back Forty from two directions, which culminates in a pond in my next door neighbor’s back yard. This, despite an effort to redirect the water to a large burrow under that garden bed. It’s not a big problem for us any more, but I feel sorry for the next door neighbors. They are not there right now, though.

In the middle of a big rain, that curving path looks like a stream. I have considered the idea of digging a trench and filling it with lovely river rocks to make a rain garden and help with the drainage, but since we plan to sell the house in a couple of years, I won’t do it. I used to mulch this path and others throughout the Back Forty with wood chips, only to find them all deposited at the side of the house after a hard rain.

I am now working on 2016 – finished the big train trip to Glacier and Oregon. That was a marvelous memory to relive. That also means I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for the Flickr project!

The continuing uncertainty about travel and the vaccine is making me cranky. I miss my art retreats. They truly are sanity savers, and doing them online is just not the same.

Work was busy and frustrating yesterday and this morning. It shouldn’t be this hectic in mid-December. I’ve transferred my ranting about work to a private post, but it was good to get it out of my system.

I am now totally committed to reading How Green Was My Valley and stayed up way too late last night because I lost track of time. Also, I had forgotten what a witty and well-written book Harriet the Spy was! Thoroughly enjoyable adult re-read. Started The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix and I am trying not to binge it.

My life feels so boring right now. I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way. But it is better for it to be boring than being in the middle of a civil war or dealing with serious illness, so I’ll try to keep that in mind.

Blather, bloggy stuff, Studio talk

Update – I’m still here

January was a busy month and February will be too, so you’re unlikely to see a lot from me. As far as this blog goes, I am, perhaps unduly, concerned about hosting my photos on Flickr. For one thing, they doubled their price since selling it, and for the other, their automation sends me erroneous billing messages which annoys me. I’m a curmudgeon, it’s true, but I am thoroughly sick and tired of software taking the place of human contact. I should become a hermit, I guess. Anyway, it has led me to spend some time transferring some of my most important photos to WordPress. It wouldn’t be a problem but I have to go into EACH POST and change the link to Flickr! OY.

The Italy trip is done now and in 2020 I will concentrate on one big travel series at a time, then the posts in between. Then I will set up some gallery pages for my art. When January 2021 rolls around again I will consider dropping my Flickr Pro account if I have finished up the link changes, but considering that I have been hosting my photos and linking to them on Flickr here since 2006, I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes me two years to accomplish this without wrecking my blog. I feel like I am being held hostage to Flickr.

I finally ordered a refurbished laptop from Dell.com only to find that it came with Windows 10 in Spanish only and could not be changed to English. So I returned that after a lot of phone time and confusing emails and ordered a Lenovo off eBay. I won’t be doing business with Dell again. I just received it, it seems to work fine, and it will be easier for me to post once I finish setting it up. I also have the Tapestry Weavers South website to update, and that will move to the front burner now that I have a laptop at home.

My other tech update will be when I either have my phone repaired or buy a new one. Then I will get back to taking a lot of photos, which will make me quite happy!

We moved my studio space to the room that I suppose should be the dining room and the (parlor/TV room/family room/den/living room ???? what to call this room?) TV, sofa, etc. to the front room where it is dark and cozy. The studio room has much better light. This meant that I purged a lot more stuff in January – looms, yarns, books, knick-knacks – about twelve boxes worth! In return we have some actual space in both rooms, and the cats are delighted with the new racetrack from the front room to the back, complete with throw rugs to slide across on the studio and the kitchen hardwood floors.

I completed the caterpillar four selvedge tapestry, but the top and bottom selvedges bother me and the choice of those little areas of kelly green appall me. What was I thinking? It is still a good piece so I am going to hem it heavily at top and bottom and take care of both of those things.

Oh, and I paid off my last installment on this art retreat on the west coast of Ireland. Ireland, my love. And an increasing interest in collage and book arts.

Back Forty, Blather, bloggy stuff, whatever

just ramblin’

Next week I’m taking a staycation and I have a lot of projects in mind and a couple of events to attend, including seeing Gordon Lightfoot in concert at the Carolina Theater in Greensboro – a great venue for a great artist.

Today, I’m considering my priorities in what I want to accomplish and what I need to get done. I’m taking a small weaving workshop on sakiori (Japanese rag weaving technique) that is not far away, so first on the list is to assemble and warp my new-to-me Beka rigid heddle loom, and cut/tear half-inch strips of rags for this workshop next Saturday. This is mainly an exercise in creativity and fun, and usually no matter what the subject is, I learn something from a new teacher.

Secondly, I am going to spend some time catching up on the online courses I signed up for LAST YEAR and this year, with the priority being to warp up my new-to-me Mirrix loom in the four-selvedge technique I’ve learned in Rebecca Mezoff and Sarah Swett’s “Fringeless” online course. I hope that this will lead to me weaving small tapestries for book covers and even pages. Making a tapestry book has long been a goal for me.

Other priorities are preparing “puzzle piece” squares for Jude Hill’s current online course as a traveling project. I’d like to do some more cloth strip weaving and make some bags like the ones I made in India Flint’s “Bagstories” course last year.

Another prep project is to make the components for several books, covers and pages, to have them ready to bind. I want to bind at least one book with some of the signatures I made in Leighanna’s workshop at FOBA, and it is mostly ready.

Also, I just finished the first season of “Stranger Things.” As usual, I am behind on popular shows and normally I can’t handle horror shows or flicks – I tend to have nightmares – but this struck me more as a combination of “Freaks and Geeks” and Stephen King. I will probably finish watching the series next week.

I will need to get my battery replaced in the car. We jumped it off after some difficulty after it sat for a while and I drove it to the mechanic’s shop, then made the unwise decision to drive it back home and see if it cranked in the morning. Now it won’t even click when we try to jump it. If we can get it charged again, I will leave it at the mechanic’s shop and let them replace the battery and check out the rest of the electrical system. Fortunately I walk to work and we can get by with one car most of the time, but it limits what I can do during weekdays when Sandy is working unless I get up at 6:30 and drive him to work and pick him up at 4 p.m. I don’t really want to do that.

Once the heat wave settles down, which according to the forecast should happen around Tuesday, I am going to fire up the electric dehydrator and dry a bunch of cherry tomatoes, which are beginning to produce a lot more than we can eat. The UNCG garden is producing plenty of lemon cucumbers, which I have mostly given away, some zephyr squash, and the Roma tomatoes are beginning to ripen. The pole lima beans are now healthy looking after a Japanese beetle attack, but it has been so hot that they have not blossomed, so I hope for a fall harvest. I’ve harvested and eaten onions – the first onions I’ve ever grown from seed. The garlic bulbs did not separate into cloves so I’ll have to figure out what went wrong. We have had a few peppers of various kinds, mainly Italian frying peppers.

Other than that, I am daydreaming about my plans to go to Ireland next June, probably by myself!!! and Sandy has applied for Social Security, so he can retire at any point he wants to now. Since we can’t retire to Ireland, I want to try to come up with ways to go there fairly often. I have an app on my phone called Hopper that is good at alerting you to price drops and rises in airfare on certain routes and days, and I’ve found quite a few AirBNBs that are very inexpensive. If you reserve way ahead of time, you can usually find good prices. Also, I learned on the recent trip to Oregon that I do just fine with a loaf of good bread, sharp cheese, fresh fruit, and nuts for my meals. I’ll be at an art retreat for a week but I want to spend another week walking on the coast.

Yes, I am trying to maintain my mental health during a time of political horror in my own country. At least the racism is out in the open now, but these fascists are scary. My father fought in World War II. What would he say if he were alive? It’s hard to imagine that we are in this place of meltdown, and I will probably end up writing about my helpless feelings about the fall of our civilization at some point. What do you do when people refuse to believe the truth? It is beyond my comprehension.

Honestly, “Stranger Things” is much less scary and a whole lot more believable.

I will add a statement on the sidebar about the appearance of ads on my blog beginning July 28. It is part of my expense cutting to push my money toward retirement, travel, and art expenses. I won’t see them or have any control over them, but I’m not spending any more money on this blog, and that is when my bill is due to prevent ads. Please, just ignore them. Don’t click on them. I hate advertisements and I do not choose the content.