Back Forty, bloggy stuff, political activism

A little talk about the past and present

I’ve distracted myself from the distress of the U.S. Election by spending a lot of time updating my blog from years ago – going through each post quickly to find photos that are hosted on Flickr, downloading them, and uploading them to WordPress and changing the link. This is going to work. I worried that I might not have enough room for all my photos on WordPress, so I began with the big travel blog posts and then started at the beginning.

This week has been 2007-2008, a particularly emotionally volatile time in my life. I was severely depressed in 2007, lost several friends, a cat that I handfed as a feral baby, Squirt, and his mother and sister, Mama Kitty and Miss Peanut. My husband’s work situation was awful. And I managed to squeak out finishing my M.A. in Liberal Studies in the midst of it. There are clues to my misery in the posts that I transferred over from when I hosted this blog on GoDaddy, but I noticed that I left out dozens of posts that I wrote. They are gone forever now. I can’t say that I am sorry that I made that choice, but I am glad that I left the clues.

I am amazed at the photos of the Back Forty. WOW. It was beautiful. I worked SO HARD on it. There was a lot of food produced, pre-groundhog days. I mean, LOOK>

Also, my God, the energy I had! I complained a lot about the same old physical stuff, but I got shit done. I was involved in the community. I finished a degree and started back on the Studio Art BA degree that I had abandoned in the late 80s.

2008 was also an election year and I suspect that I left out a lot of political posts as well. I was happy that Obama won, then disappointed in his food policy, which was my big focus at the time. I would leave the Democratic Party soon after.

What a difference 12 years later when Obama seems like a dream President, witty and intelligent. I have been a Bernie girl since long before he ran for President in 2016, but I have come to believe that this country needs a centrist president. My personal political opinions skew much farther left, but I am a realist above all else. We can’t waste time trying for the impossible when we can at least get the direction pointed away from total disaster.

I have hope for getting the pandemic under control and progress on reducing the effects of climate change, although, again, I am a realist. That point tipped several years ago. There is no reverse.

So yes, I am happy about Biden and Harris, and I hope that we get to Inauguration Day without a civil war and white domestic terrorism unleashed. I am not yet, nor likely to be, filled with glee. My main concern, getting an insane criminal out of the White House, seems likely to be accomplished. That is enough for right now.

bloggy stuff, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Well, lookathere, it’s now Saturday afternoon. Time has been all whacked out during the pandemic. You would think that it would go more slowly, being mostly stuck at home, but instead it races.

I’ve been avoiding politics as much as I can make myself do it, and since hospitalizations are at a high with not many (or any) ICU beds available it has become time to really hunker down again. When I went to work yesterday I mostly closed my office door and had little contact with anybody, even at a masked distance. I plan to keep it that way for a while. I don’t think that we are going to do Thanksgiving, even. My brother-in-law is having heart surgery soon, and they need to be extra careful. I am still considering going down to the lake house but Sandy doesn’t want to go.

Twitler and Mikie and the Ratlickers have been hitting North Carolina hard this week and last, bringing more Covid to our state. North Carolina has always been a purple state. It’s been gerrymandered badly during the past decade so it has been a tough slog at the state level. We have a Dem governor and attorney general and a deeply red state legislature. The GOP is not even embarrassed at what they do to suppress the vote and get their people into power by any means necessary any more. So I am looking forward to getting my Social Security and getting the hell out of Dodge at age 62. Hopefully we can wait that long, and we will survive in good health that long. I spend a lot of time on ex-pat Portugal Facebook pages these days. It’s doable, but it’s gonna be rough on my anxiety and the cats.

On Election Night I am doing a Zoom meeting with some artist friends connected through Leighanna Light’s Facebook page, where we will all have some kind of creative work that we are individually doing and some emotional support. I expect that unless it is a landslide we will not know who won that night. Certainly it was a devastating surprise in the 2016 election the following day.

Anyway, another hurricane remnant came through this week: Tropical Storm Zeta. This one was fast and strong and blew out a lot of power in central/western NC. We had no problems. We seldom lose power in this house.

The other thing that happened was that I did an online chat with an Orbitz rep to ask some questions about my Aer Lingus credit, and it was good that I did, because they told me that it expired at the end of June and was surprised that someone from Orbitz told me differently. Fortunately I had enough misgivings that I had not booked our flight. Now it has been passed up another level and I might get a refund since I have documentation of the Orbitz rep saying that I had until Nov. 30.

That would be splendid if I get the money back.

On the tax refund front, however, we are still stuck with nobody to help. I think that when Kathy Manning gets elected to Congress and we actually have a Rep who might help us we will call her office. I highly doubt that Tea Party Ted could be bothered to help out a Dem/Independent couple. I would at least like to know if we should re-submit our tax return.

Still working on moving the Flickr photos over to WordPress and changing the links in my blog posts. That is a pretty tough job considering this blog has moved three times and I’ve been posting since 2005. However, on the second move I lost a LOT of posts because it was so boogered up on GoDaddy that I moved a lot of it manually, and in doing so I skipped a lot of the more mundane entries. I lost the links to a lot of my photos too. In the noughts I wrote a lot, often daily. I have been working on this project for a little more than a year, and plan to not pay Flickr anything come 2021. They became too expensive and I’d rather pay WordPress to host my photos. Then I ended up dealing with moving the Tapestry Weavers South mess of a web site and I lost a lot of time. At least it is on WordPress.com now where I can deal with both of them in much the same way.

Sandy has been doing a lot of handyman work around the house and it has been a very good thing. I got some more of the front porch painted but it was stormy this week and I have dealt with my mental health by spending a lot of time in bed, unfortunately.

Okay. Back to cleaning and a bit of art work. I finished The Good Lord Bird this week and it is a great book. Amazing that the subject of John Brown could be made so entertaining and funny. I want to read more James McBride. Right now I am sticking with mid-19th century U.S. historical fiction and starting Lincoln in the Bardo.

bloggy stuff, collage, Coronavirus Chronicles, Obsession, Reading

Rainy Sunday Afternoon

I start out every blog post I write with a rant about the new WordPress block format, and how tired I am of having to learn new tech and software when the way I did it before was perfectly fine. Sometimes I mess around until I find a way to go back to something similar that they had before, but I never know how to find that way again. Then I usually delete the paragraph. So THIS TIME, I have figured it out and I’m documenting it. I saved the draft of this post, then when I opened all posts to work on it again, when you hover over the name of the post, links appear beneath it and one of them is “classic editor.” Whew!

Last weekend I had a lot of fun in Leighanna Light’s “Layered Faces” Zoom class. It is definitely not my style but it was a lot of fun and got me out of my head. Here are the photos from my piece after day one and at the end. I got a wild feline feel from the face as it was developing so I went with that. Sandy was all blah about it until I finished and then he was saying “Don’t do another thing to it! It’s perfect!” LOL. I won one of Leighanna’s faces in a random drawing on the second day, so my luck was with me this week.

I’ve mainly been concentrating on work, cleaning up the garden, cooking, and today, cleaning house, so I don’t have anything exciting to report. I voted in person on Wednesday with a friend, and I didn’t have to wait long. No funny business going on. Paper ballots, but no straight ticket options. I painted another section of the front porch yesterday, but a cold front came in last night and it is about 25 degrees chillier and rainy today.

Some fall shots from my yard and my walk around the block:

Reading: I finished “The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi. At first it was a bit of a slog only because it is dystopian and my emotions are on edge. It ended up being very good with a complex plot and several different points of view. Now I am reading “The Good Lord Bird,” and had I known that it would be this funny (I mean, it’s about John Brown, what a surprise!) I would have started it long ago.

My fixation on traveling to Portugal with the idea of scouting out places to live is back, and I almost booked tickets to go in June, but the fricking searches were confusing, and then I figured out that to get my Aer Lingus travel credit I have to go through Orbitz, who is charging $100 more per ticket than going straight through Aer Lingus. I got disgusted and decided to start over again this coming week. I have until the end of November to book Aer Lingus tickets to get my credit for my cancelled flight this past June, and their prices went way up.

This year my sister and brother-in-law are going to travel with us. This should be interesting to see if we get sick of each other. We have not traveled together before – just stayed in one familiar place like the beach or the lake. Of the four of us, only Sandy has a lot of patience, so he will be fine. I have been looking forward to traveling with my sister for a long time but they haven’t been able to do it for eldercare and other family reasons. All four of us are interested in emigrating to Portugal, although that’s might change after the election. I’m ready to go regardless, but for financial reasons I need to either wait 2.5 years or get permission to work remotely from there.

We’ll spend a couple of days in Dublin since they haven’t been to Ireland before. It’s cheaper to fly to Dublin from Raleigh and then catch TAP or Ryanair to Lisbon from there.

This also means that I will not be going to the art retreat in west Ireland or FOBA this summer. I hate like hell to miss these, but this is more than just a vacation – it is also a scouting trip. It’s important to do it soon, and I promised Sandy that we would go in 2021 before we knew that my trips would be canceled this year. We need to spend enough time in Portugal to explore different areas to see where might be the best fit for us. I am reading a lot of ex-pat advice.

Of course, all bets are off if there isn’t a vaccine by then.

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.