coffee pot posts, critters

Labor Day morning – the porch

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The snail is my souvenir from the gift shop at Trerice from our trip to Cornwall in 2017.

Pablocito being allowed to occupy the top bunk on the cat tree is a new development. Just the other day there was fur flying on the porch over it, and he did not seem to be winning.

I’ve had a good weekend, and almost finished painting the framework on the porch. According to my Facebook memories, I began this on Labor Day last year so today is a good day to finish it up. Sandy and I worked on purging and cleaning the laundry/junk/catbox room yesterday. I hope to fill up the garbage can to put on the curb on Thursday.

There’s petrichor in the air.

I used tomatoes and peppers from the container garden in my spaghetti sauce last night.

I didn’t wake up with a headache this morning.

I got a good solid night’s sleep last night.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I’ve been dealing with headaches every freaking morning this week, and today was no exception. I’m glad today was a day off because I don’t know if I would have made it to work. Wednesday morning I stayed home sick, but the other mornings I’ve managed to push through. When I get there, I am double masked except in my office with the door shut, which is where I stay 99% of the time. Not a great way to live and work, but it’s doable. It’s pure hell on my depression, though. I’m pretty sure that the headaches are my normal seasonal allergies, although stress and anxiety and depression probably contribute a lot.

Let’s see…news from this week. Work has been busy with spring semester schedule prep and entry. Hurricane Ida brought us some breezes and spittle and only one good rain storm, of  which we actually need more. It surprise pounded the northeast after traveling overland and the flooding and death toll is shocking. We took advantage of the cooling weather and ate on the patio at Cafe Europa on Tuesday evening. I’m worried that they are not going to make it. There was hardly anybody there. On Thursday evening we went over to Oden and ate mediocre food from the food truck while listening to great jazz from the music students at UNCG in their outside beer garden. So I have been out.

Last night, though, I was so depressed that I couldn’t eat or do anything. I just can’t get up the energy or motivation for anything. I spent some time on the porch reading the local paper from the past few days, played some games on my Kindle, then laid in bed trying to go to sleep. When that failed, I picked up the book “Elantris” and began it, then wandered out to the living room where Sandy was watching the old show “Stargate.” He was shocked that I hadn’t seen the movie so we watched half of that. I have to say that the young James Spader is awfully cute in that movie.

Of course, the legal events in Texas have been awful and I don’t know any women friends who are not horrified. The young people need to step up as much as they are able – our generation is getting older and we have to pass the torch to you.  Just, please, do it masked.

Depression is not sadness, it is an illness. Depression can include a lot of emotions, but mostly for me it expresses itself as a lack of happiness or motivation or hope for the future. You don’t understand it until you’ve experienced it. “Flat” is a good description. Activities or things that normally bring you joy don’t do it for you anymore. When people suggest that you get outside and garden, or walk, or do almost anything that you used to enjoy, it is difficult to impossible to motivate yourself to do it.

The fact that I am blogging is a good thing.

Sandy has expressed an interest in learning how to tie-dye, so I hauled out my box of dyes this morning. I might be playing with dyes this weekend on the porch. It’s been a while since I used Procion dyes so I’ll need to read up a bit on it. I figure I can use up a bunch of my old clothes that I’ve hoarded for dye experimentation, although his motivation is to learn a skill that he can make money at. My impulse is to dye some papers and scraps with natural dyes, but I definitely won’t let any dyepot leftovers go to waste.

My other two goals for this weekend, which take priority, is to finish the lake tapestry, which is almost there – it’s been cut off and the warp ends mainly twisted and stitched to the back. I promised myself not to post any more photos until this is done. Sandy did a drum roll when I cut it off the loom.

The other is to clean the rails on this porch and finish painting them. There’s not much left to go on this project either.

I think that it will make me feel better to actually accomplish a couple of things that have been on my to do list for a long time.

Next weekend I’ll probably check out the North Carolina Folk Festival downtown, then drive down to Lake Waccamaw and spend a week down there visiting family and having a personal retreat. I’ll have a couple of empty small tapestry looms to play with. On the last weekend I’m there, an old friend from my childhood and young adult years is going to join me. We were roommates off and on for a while and we were maid/matrons of honor at each other’s weddings. I expect that will bring my spirits up – gosh, I hope so. This blah feeling really sucks.

coffee pot posts

Sunday morning coffee pot post

The heat and humidity has finally arrived big time in North Carolina. We wait anxiously for the news of Hurricane Ida on the Gulf Coast. So many catastrophes are in motion.

I got out and did a bit of socializing this weekend. It made me nervous to do it, but I did it, because if I don’t, I create the danger of becoming agoraphobic again. Preventing it when you see the warning signs is much easier than getting it, believe me. My brain convinces me that it just feels more comfortable to stay at home, nothing to see here, move along. It’s tough when there really is danger out there that you can’t control other than masking and getting vaccinated.

This time I went to a department party outside at Oden late Friday afternoon, where we were drinking and eating so no masks. Then Sandy and I drove to Cedar Grove on Saturday afternoon and visited some friends. We spent some time inside and outside. They have a beautiful home on a lake, but they are both in precarious health situations, and I worry about unknowingly taking Co-vid 19 into their home. We didn’t wear masks because we are all vaccinated and careful.

Apparently there are a lot more breakthrough cases than reported.

When the state of the world is so fucked up that you hardly know where to turn your awareness to next, it’s pretty easy to get agoraphobic. Especially when we are lucky to have a home in a good neighborhood with power and clean water and comfy furniture and it’s paid off.

Today, however, I am staying home. The heat index is around 106 today, and there is a food truck festival downtown where a friend’s band is playing. Sandy wants to go. I am not going. Sorry, it is too damn hot.

Sandy now says that he doesn’t want to move overseas, but he wants to travel. This is disappointing, but it may be my reality.

I spent some time on Google maps and Rome2Rio and AirBNB and Booking.com this past week and it would be so tempting to go ahead and make all the reservations and buy all the travel tickets and tours but that would be too soon. I did jump on a couple of reservations that were inexpensive and cancellable that I was afraid might get away. People are making a lot of reservations for next year already.

I found a 19th century apartment in the old part of Tavira on the southern coast that I booked for five nights. It was $65 per night, plus the AirBNB service and cleaning fees, so I ended up paying less than $500 per night for a large apartment overlooking the river and town full of antiques with rave reviews. The only sticking point may be the two flights of stairs, but I showed the photos to Sandy and he said to go for it as long as we can cancel it.

Then I found a super cheap apartment near the river and downtown Porto that had excellent reviews for $34 per night plus fees, so I nabbed it for two nights.

The plan is that we’ll spend five nights in Lisbon, five nights in Porto and the north/central area, then five nights in the south. We spend the last night in Lisbon to be near the airport, then a short stay in a Dublin airport hotel to catch a nap on a short layover home. We might take a bus into Seville, Spain for one night while we are in the south. It’s not far from Tavira. From experience I suspect that we will have to take a day of rest every few days, so I’ve tried to look for places with good views.

Now I’m going to do some house cleaning and I should have some art to show in the next few days. My neighbor across the street who is a very successful painter sounds enthusiastic about including me in his next open studio sale, so I mostly need to get a few pieces finished and display ready or ready to hang. That is the hardest part – finishing! I especially tend to never finish a collage. All I have to do is drop some potential piece of material somewhere near a “finished” piece and off I go again. I have the Seth Apter embossing powders to play with now, too.

My friends in Cedar Grove gave us a lot of sweet grape tomatoes so I need to put most of them in the dehydrator. This is the first year in a long time that I have not had volunteer cherry tomatoes, and so I only bought one plant expecting the volunteers. These dehydrated tomatoes are so good in the winter when they add a big punch of flavor to sauces, soups, and chili.

coffee pot posts, collage

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Note: This post began on Tuesday morning and I saved it as a draft and forgot to post it.

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I can’t say enough how much I am grateful to my sister and bro-in-law for giving us their 2007 Volvo wagon. Even though it has some wear and tear after 189K miles it is still an awesome vehicle. We are going to be good to this one, which means we are going to find a Volvo certified mechanic and/or take it to a Volvo dealer for service regularly. In the meantime, we will save for and shop for a car to replace the 2008 Honda Fit.

We drove to Chapel Hill to pick up the car and only visited with my niece very briefly. Their tabby rescue kitten, Milo, dashed out to meet me and what a cutie he is! Lisa and Tim found him in the parking lot of the strip mall in Lake Waccamaw. My niece says that he is a little psychopath and bites hard. He didn’t bite me, though. I’ve never had an issue where I had to train a kitten not to bite, at least, not more than the normal play bites. I never could get my boys to understand that they can’t flex their claws into my skin, though.

Then, even though we tried to time it so that we didn’t drive in a storm, Sandy drove the “new” car back in a bad thunderstorm with lots of water on the road. It was a little tense, but he did well. At least we drove a back road halfway home. Sure wish we could send some of this rain west.

Margaret Atwood is speaking at the auditorium close to my house, but wow, the cheapest tickets for us would be $60! I’m becoming one of those old people who bitch about how much everything costs nowadays, blah blah blah. Maybe I’ll hang out by the back door and say hey to her. I know that building pretty intimately from my theater major days.

On Saturday, I cleaned up my studio and divided the work spaces into a wet work space for glue and paint and a dry work space. I cut out the wonky endband on the book that I made in Dan’s class and added those pieces of thread to some small collages I made last year that still needed a little something. I think I’m done with the “handmade” one but the other two still bug me and maybe I’ll just paint over them and start over. I’m thinking about what I will put in the Artists Over 50 show in Greensboro next month.

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Saturday update: I watched Seth Apter do a live demo with a couple of his embossing powders on Wednesday and that inspired me to order most of them, so maybe I will experiment with them on these two collages that are too busy for me. Two of the powders create a faux-encaustic look which is really cool.

I continue to fool around with this collage, which was inspired by the lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven.” At first I was focused on “and you know sometimes words have two meanings.” But as I added to it, the line “on a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings” pushed the other line aside and it became an homage to Liz, our white parakeet who died this past year, and imagining her free. I think that I might layer some millet seeds there on the bottom where the bugs are, since those would be what Liz would prefer.

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The other news from this week, since Tuesday, is that I went back to get my injured foot checked and x-rayed and the PA who saw me doesn’t think it is broken now. The swelling went down and I was nearly painless. I told her that I could no longer wear the boot because it was causing me more harm than good. So I am no longer in the boot, but I have to be careful and remember not to bounce around as if I am healed, because I am not. I proved that right away by using the stairs this week and paying for it later in renewed pain. However, it has been good to be able to walk to work again. My hips and back need the exercise badly. I just wish that I could do more. I see my other podiatrist on Sept. 1, the one that I started with in June about my bone spur and tendinitis in the same foot.

It’s good to be on the front porch this morning, but I am terribly bored and itching to travel. Sandy was able to get a booster vac on Monday. He had tried to get in touch with his rheumatologist, but couldn’t, so when he went in to get his meds refilled, he asked the pharmacy manager about the booster shot. She looks at his meds, said that he qualified, and gave him one right then. So I am happy for him, but I am still too anxious to get out among people, and I want to be sure that I don’t carry the virus back to Tim when I see him in a few weeks. According to the new guidelines, I would be able to get a booster in mid-November if I had gotten the Pfizer or Moderna, BUT I got the J&J, which continues to be a source of frustration for me. Tim is much more frustrated because he has not been able to get the booster even though he is in chemo, but his medical situation is very complicated.

I have been working on my gratitude and my attitude, but this week has been a tough one mentally and physically, with headaches, sleep deprivation, depression, and anxiety. Therapy has been good for me. I wish that Sandy would go out and do some things without me. He needs the interaction with people. I don’t want him to eat inside restaurants yet until his booster settles in, but I feel like I am holding him back by wanting to stay home.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Listening to Nancy Griffith and the Cranberries this morning, but I won’t be on the front porch until this heat wave passes, which is supposed to happen tomorrow.

I’m closing in on two weeks of wearing this boot, and while I have no doubt that it is helping my foot heal, it is pure hell on my hip. I go see a new doctor on Tuesday to be evaluated with x-rays and maybe an MRI if they think it is needed. Not being able to take anti-inflammatory meds has made a difference in my pain level. I don’t know what to do – I feel like I need exercise, but even normal movement after a couple of days leaves me with hip pain. The boot is not as hot as I thought it might be, though, and I found a couple of old Danskos that level up my left foot to nearly the same height. I’m glad I didn’t purge them.

Yard guy is supposed to be here soon – thank God I got that lined up before all this happened.

I hope that Sandy will feel up to driving to Chapel Hill to exchange my sister’s 2012 Volvo, which they want to keep, for their 2007 Volvo, which they are giving to me. I am pretty excited about owning a Volvo. Even a 14 year old Volvo will be the nicest car I’ve ever had. We will use the money that we would have used for car payments to keep it maintained. Plus if I continue to have to wear this damn boot I want automatic transmission so I can try to drive with my left foot if I need to go somewhere. Sandy has been my chauffeur.

We mailed the notarized title to the Chevy to the auto shop in Holly Ridge on Monday and I’ve yet to hear that they have received it. This is annoying.

I’m worried about Sandy. His spirits seem really low and he usually doesn’t complain when he is in pain. He did say that his back suddenly stopped hurting the other day, but now he seems to be sleeping much of the time.

We rewatched “Master and Commander” last night. Normally I don’t care for war movies but what a great movie that was.

I can’t seem to get into reading anything right now. I’m back to the game obsession. The world is a terrifying place and it keeps my mind in check.

At work, we ended up having our new grad student orientation on Zoom and we didn’t have the party afterwards, since the plan had been to have it outside at Oden Brewing’s beer garden. The heat index was at 100 degrees so that didn’t seem like a good idea.

I’m getting a bit stir-crazy but at least I got in a couple of fun art workshops this summer.

The news that Sandy is authorized to get a booster was very good. My brother-in-law will qualify also. Our department head had a breakthrough infection and was sick for several days. He came into work, masked, because he assumed that it was allergies, as most of us do. His son was positive, but his wife and daughter were negative. Our office manager’s husband also had a breakthrough infection and nine of his unvaccinated co-workers were sick. One is not expected to make it. She and her daughter did not get sick, and she got the J&J vaccine also. Another co-worker with two toddlers was alarmed and took home tests, and she and her wife got false positives that scared them to death. She had given me a ride home one day, although we were masked. I am glad that no home tests are in stock at area Walgreens right now because they are not accurate.

So I have had two negative Covid-19 tests in the week since I came back from the beach!

Mask mandates are in effect again in our county and at my workplace. No working from home again for me, though. I have to go into the office, but I can isolate myself pretty well.

Oh, and there was a young grey fox in my backyard! I was sitting on my front porch and heard my across the street neighbor shout that he saw a fox running back there. So I went back and there it was, standing in the same space that goes under the back building where I used to see the groundhogs, staring at me. I talked to it and it remained there for several seconds. What a rush! I hope they have taken up residence here.

coffee pot posts

Sunday morning coffee pot post

AKA “brain dump.”

Even though the past few weeks have been hell in many ways, we have also gotten a few things accomplished. I can use my washing machine again without having to carry the outgoing water out to the garden in buckets. It was what I thought: a huge clog of grease in the outgoing pipes that had been building up for many years. The plumber also found a leak under the kitchen and replaced that piece of old pipe. In doing so, he found that the electrical cord to my dishwasher was rubbing against the hole and was frayed, and he fixed that. He and his helper reattached a drawer front and a wood panel that had come off in the kitchen. Then, between him and my husband, we got the bathroom sink faucet fixed, although in the end it ended up that we had to replace it and that wasn’t cheap. Sandy was able to replace it himself. All in all, we spent over a grand on these way overdue repairs.

Also, I now have a yard maintenance guy who knows plants and he has done one clean up session and one basic mow this month. That is a huge relief.

Credo sent me an upgraded phone for free because we had to for their network upgrade. It is a refurbished Galaxy S9. Even though it is annoying to redo passwords and get used to a new format, I realize that because my S7 still works perfectly fine as a mini-computer/camera, we can take it as an extra phone to Europe. Maybe get a SIM card for it instead of the new phone while we are there, and have extra storage for photos.

I’m sitting on the front porch right now. Even though it is humid it is not bad. Sandy decided to go to the big farmers’ market next to I-40 this morning. I decided to stay home. My friends sell at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, but it is nice to have a market that sells on Sunday.

My anxiety is starting to ratchet up about Co-vid again, and I’m sure that I am not alone. I’m worried about our trip to Portugal and Ireland. If I have to reschedule, when would I do so? I’m going to buy a bunch of N95 masks for the trip. The good thing is that these two countries are getting a lot more vaccinations done right now. The bad thing is that I don’t trust people on the plane to be vaccinated or to mask properly. What would happen if either of us got a breakthrough infection over there, or over here just before the trip? So many scenarios going through my head!

In a way, it would be a relief to reschedule. But I feel a time pressure to make this trip while Sandy is doing fairly well, and who knows what could happen in the future to stop us again? Will it ever be “safe”?

My friend Jerry just had a heart attack two days ago. I think that he will be okay. He got a stent and I understand that he will get more on Monday. It is amazing what heart surgeons can do these days.

Seems like everyone has health troubles right now.

I don’t think that I ever said what happened with my eye appointment. My eyes are healthy other than allergies. He prescribed me some eye drops but I keep forgetting to put them in twice a day, so I’m still dealing with fuzzy vision. It was a relief that that was all it was. I don’t even need new lenses.

Sandy just got back with corn and shrimp and andouille sausage. Guess we will eat well today! I was thinking of making squash casserole, and I have a few little potatoes from the garden.

I’ve done just a little bit of cleanup around the house, but I’m going to do more. Still trying to rest this foot. I have some paste leftover from our paste painting session on Wednesday in the fridge. I think that I’ll get that out and play. Maybe finish the lake tapestry. HAHAHAHAHAHA! How many times have I said THAT in the last six months?

I am looking forward to this weekend when I go to Topsail Beach for a three day workshop with Dan Essig at Leslie Marsh’s studio. This will be my fifth? workshop with Dan. I always learn something and come away with my most satisfying work from his classes. It’s been so long since I bound a book that I could use a refresher class anyway. I miss book making. Dan was the artist who introduced me to it. Anyway, I will try to remember to take photos this time.

I hope that I will be able to sleep sharing a bed with Sandy at our AirBNB in Surf City. He stopped using his cPAP machine several months ago and even took it back to the place. Stubborn, stubborn man. I can’t use earplugs any more because I’m pretty sure I have psoriasis in my ears. That’s another worry for the Europe trip – damn! At least in Ireland there will be a spare bedroom. If there’s a sofa in the one in Portugal, that would be good. I slept on the sofa at the lake for two nights – fortunately for me, it is very comfortable!

Therapy is going well. I am afraid that I have become that person who often says “My therapist says…” but I really, really, really like this person. Some of my best sessions have been the ones in which I am feeling good. So much about my life is changing. I think that I am moving in a positive direction, despite my worries this weekend.

art, coffee pot posts

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Well, let’s pretend that it is still morning. Technically I began this post at 11:55. But I am still finishing the coffee pot.

Above is my latest collage, which I began working on last fall. That seems to work best for me with collages, to let them percolate a while before finishing up. I still need to trim it a bit but it is mounted on a cradled wood panel painted white. The final element came when I attached one of Liz’s tail feathers.  (Liz is our late parakeet.)

Last weekend we went back down to Lake Waccamaw and four friends joined us. We ate a lot of good food and unhealthy food and played games. We didn’t go anywhere this time other than quick trips to the grocery store with masks on – I am not feeling good about going out down there right now. That county has a low vaccination rate. One couple brought a strategy game called Quirkle Cubes and I want to buy that one. We also played Sequence. The weather was hot and muggy some of the time but the breeze was up on Saturday night and we sat out in the yard looking out at the lake and drank mixed drinks and cider.

Tim and Lisa mainly did stuff on their own – they have ongoing renovations at their house and Tim was recovering from surgery nine days before, but on Sunday, he attempted to give our friends a ride on the pontoon boat. Once he got it off the lift into the water, it wouldn’t crank. So he got into the water (it is only about knee deep) and was trying to keep it from bashing into the pier next door. I had on my bathing suit so I tried to hurry into the water to help him, and wiped out on the bottom slick step of the pier and whacked the top of my right foot and shin on the steps. It is fortunate that I crashed into the water instead of hard ground or it would have been very bad. As it was, I was able to walk over and help him push the boat back onto the lift. It’s kind of amazing how easy it is to push a large boat in the water, but he should not have been doing it.

Anyway, after I walked out of the lake and rinsed off the cut on my foot, my sister doctored it up and we sat on the pier and enjoyed conversation for about an hour. I had my leg iced and elevated but it swelled up like crazy. My cut never got infected though and that was my main concern.

Anyway, I’ve spent most of the week working from home and elevating my foot. Tuesday was bad because I didn’t take care of it, because we had to pack and clean up the house on Monday. Sandy can’t do it all these days. The swelling started going down on Wednesday and I decided that I didn’t need to go to the doctor. Friday I was able to put on my shoes and walk to work and back, and I soaked in Epsom salts last night. Today I was greeted with a multi-colored foot and leg that could easily belong to a zombie – I am fascinated with the colors. Greenish yellow, blue, deep purple, brownish red. The only normal color is a circle around the cut. I’ve never had an injury like this and it amazes me that I’m not in severe pain!

So the idea was that we were going to make paste papers at the lake, but none of us were in the mood for it considering everything that was happening, or not happening since we were all TOO relaxed. On Wednesday evening three of us made paste papers at Susanne’s house, and I brought home the leftover paint and used it all up. So I now have a lot of background and collage papers to use, along with a few pieces nice enough to use for book covers.

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I am not very confident about the safety of going back to a normal schedule at work once the semester begins. The administration seems to be determined to make everything as normal as possible, which I understand, but I also understand that there are a LOT of young people out there who for whatever reason have not gotten vaccinated. Fortunately, most of our employees have, according to a survey. I am nervous because I’m not so trusting of the J&J’s effectiveness against the Delta variant. We need to go ahead and get Sandy an antibody test this weekend.

Oh well, the problem with waiting so long to post is that there is too much catch-up to do. I didn’t take any lake photos. I don’t know why – usually I take so many but I didn’t even think about it this time! I will try to post again tomorrow, because I have plenty to write about.

coffee pot posts, critters

Tuesday morning

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Time to get the dehydrator out for the cherry tomatoes.

Much better spirits this week, all the way around. I’m working from home this morning but I don’t have much to do other than social media and email answering. I have an eye doctor appointment right after lunch and then a therapist appointment. I need the eye appointment, the therapy not so much today, but I’ll go anyway just to stay on track.

I had a real breakthrough on my bird phobia! Bernie got out of the cage and he was trying to get  in on the back side of the cage beside the wall. He had pretty much worn himself out and I went into the room and said to Sandy, “I think that I can catch him.” And without thinking about it much, I did, bare-handed. He nipped me the first time and I lost my grasp on him, mainly because I was holding him more loosely that I realized, and then he flew behind the computer monitor and I caught him again. This time he drew blood and held on and I had to disengage his claws from the computer wires, but I didn’t let go and I got him back into the cage. After this, I won’t be afraid if I have to hold him again. It was painful, but nothing that I can’t get over quickly.

We are going down to the lake this weekend and a few friends are going. My sister and brother-in-law should be there too. He’s out of the hospital and feeling pretty good. They are both making plans and a bucket list, and right now they just want to have some fun. Friends are cooking and bringing supplies to make paste papers and I’m bringing my stash of stencils so I should come home with a nice stack of decorative papers for bookmaking. Making paste papers is just plain fun and calming…I spent three days doing pretty much nothing but paste papers with Albie Smith on my 50th birthday at An Artful Journey.

I finished reading A Game of Thrones and it whetted my appetite for more fantasy/sci-fi, so it’s hard to go back to my reading list as it stands now. What I’ve been trying to do is read the books on my shelves and then putting them in the local little free libraries in an effort to downsize. Sandy took a huge box to the used bookstore for credit, but they give us so little in return that it is hardly worth the effort. I took a big bag to my favorite indy bookseller who sells out of a refurbished school bus and donated them. Right now I am trying to read The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash but I need something lighter. I found a signed first edition in a LFL and in my old life I would keep it but I’m trying to get out of book collecting. It’s a tough thing to leave behind!

We are almost at the end of the first season of Sweet Tooth on Netflix and I am enjoying that despite the apocalyptic nature of it cutting a bit too close to the bone.

I moved most of my home office back to my real office since we have returned to a semi-normal schedule. It’s nice to have some room back in my studio.

The mini-calla lily bloomed but I had to prop it up.

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coffee pot posts

Saturday morning coffee pot post

This has been a rough week. I’m talking one of those days when you realize that your life and the lives of others that you love are truly going to change in a major way. This is what this kind of morning is like for a vivid dreamer: you wake up and try to make some sense out of the world that you just left, and how it might attach to the real world. Then you remember what is happening in the real world, and you wonder for a few moments if the real world is a nightmare.

Sandy’s diagnosis was weighing heavy on me this week. I joined a support group on Facebook for myositis caregivers, thinking that would help me process it and prepare, and then the links that they provided for information about polymyositis almost undid me. I felt so overwhelmed with negative possibilities, and really feeling our ages. It’s a good thing that I am in therapy, and I hope that Sandy will go with me on Tuesday.

Then came the bomb. My brother-in-law’s surgery to remove a blockage in his colon revealed extensive, inoperable, incurable cancer on his sub-abdominal wall. That’s why they couldn’t find it in the colonoscopy. It was outside his colon. The surgeon built a bypass in his colon so that he can eat somewhat normally and closed him up. The plan will be for him to do chemo in Wilmington, so that he can still live at the lake.

I love my brother-in-law – I absolutely adore him. He is one of the top beloved people in my life. He is more of a brother to me than my brother ever has been. Sandy feels the same way about him. And my sister – oh my God – those two are inseparable. Best friends.

I haven’t talked to him yet. I’ve talked to my sister several times and she thought I should wait a couple of days. He is still recovering in the hospital and on pain meds. But he should be going home soon and I might see them at the lake next weekend. None of us are people who want visitors in the hospital. Unless someone asks for visitors, we view hospitals as places to just heal.

My sister pulled an Aurora Greenway on the staff there when they asked him if he had suicidal thoughts twenty minutes after being told his prognosis. I mean, there he was, just out of surgery and doped up and had just been told that he is dying. What human would not have suicidal thoughts? He said that he supposed so, and so they said that they had to put someone in his room overnight on a suicide watch. So my sister forbade it, ran them out of there, and spent the night with him. When they came back with their clipboard the next day, she forbade them to ask him the question again. She is Mama Bear. Don’t mess with my sister. (I am the same way.)

I mean, can you imagine having some stranger watching you all night the first time you have been given terrible news? That was clearly a bureaucratic cover-your-ass situation, and I would have been furious if it had been me. What a horrible invasion of privacy.

So, the only real help that I could be to my sister was to call my brother, who neither of us have spoken to in almost two years. I controlled my temper on the call, barely, and I warned him at the beginning of it that I was very angry about the situation. Of course, he told me that he and his wife were not vaccinated, and proceeded to state some concerns that were straight from Tucker Carlson’s bullshit about the vaccine, and how the government might force them to be vaccinated. I have zero tolerance for this kind of garbage thinking and while I tried to not totally lose my shit on him, I explained to him that Sandy and my brother-in-law are on immune-suppressant medicine and while the government would not force them to be vaccinated, he would not be welcome to visit unless he was vaccinated. There was more to the conversation but suffice it to say that by the time I disconnected (almost wrote “hung up”) I was in a rage. There is good reason that my brother and I haven’t communicated.

I am so sick of political thinking about EVERYTHING.

I am tired of human beings being treated like numbers and objects and boxes to be checked off a form.

There is a homeless woman named Sarah that we met about a year ago, who walks through this neighborhood a lot and lives on the porch of her friend’s house. She chooses to sleep outside in a sleeping bag in all seasons. She carries a baritone ukelele and the first time we met her she played us a song. I gave her some money which she tried very hard to refuse, but I insisted on it. We’ve seen her several times since then but this morning I was sitting here on the front porch writing this post and I invited her up for a cup of coffee. She asked for water instead and Sandy was fixing lunch and shared his lunch with her.

Talking with Sarah grounded me. She has a much different perspective on life and I don’t expect that I will ever understand all the things that she has experienced. She is somewhat vague about her life other than it has been traumatic and that she “has problems.” We spent a good two hours talking about some very complex issues and emotions and even though she said that she had sworn that she was going to stop talking to people, I think that we both benefited from the conversation.

In the end, we talked about hope. I am a bit conflicted about hope, having read Buddhist teachings  that make me wonder if it is a source of suffering. It’s something that maybe I need to bring up in my therapy session because it seems to me that it will be necessary for everyone’s survival on an individual basis, everyone in the entire world, not just me and my family. At the same time, I fear false hope is stopping the world’s powers-that-be and those who put them in power from doing what is necessary for humanity to survive on this planet. It’s a conundrum, to be sure.

coffee pot posts

Sunday afternoon

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^Resilience

It’s still cool enough to sit in front of the fan on the front porch – not something I expected at 5 pm. I’m drinking a Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer in a can, feet propped up. Just took a walk and so far so good, although if I am going to get in good enough shape to walk those hills in Lisbon, I need to step it up. Maybe when I am at work I will walk up and down the stairs several times a day.

After a day away from looking at the tapestry, I decided that the black drops are fine and I wove further along on it. It is a challenge for me to weave something that I am pretty much designing as I go along. It is not like painting, for sure! Maybe I’ll get it done by the end of the summer. I have an appointment with a new eye doctor on July 13.

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We had massages by students at a massage school yesterday. Great deal to get an hour long massage for $25! I was concerned when I asked the student who worked on me if he had been vaccinated and he said no. I choked back the urge to castigate him, put my mask back on, and enjoyed the massage. He wore a mask. My hope is that he had not been vaccinated because he already had the virus.

But why? Why? Why? Vaccines are plentiful here. We are so lucky! Most of the rest of the world is still working on getting to the level of vaccination that we are because they haven’t been able to get the vaccines quickly enough.  Why are people in health related professions even allowed to see patients/clients without being vaccinated? Why aren’t students required to be vaccinated for Covid when they are required to be vaccinated for other diseases? I am baffled.

We could have been at the end of this thing by now if people weren’t so goddamned stupid about it. I follow a page called Safe Communities Portugal and they posted today that they are hoping to have 70% vaccinated by some time in September so that bodes well. In the United States, 100% of the people who can be vaccinated could be vaccinated if they weren’t brainwashed and stubborn.

Oh, don’t think that because I am not writing about all the disasters that are happening worldwide that I am not intensely aware of them. I just don’t see the need to when others do it so much better.

I’m not sure why I did not listen to Spotify for so long. The playlists that are offered up nowadays are great! I’ve been listening to a lot of early-mid 20th century music, and today WFDD offered up a playlist with the theme of I-95 South from Roanoke Rapids to Lumberton.

I am not an audio person, generally, but I might have to turn into one so that I can rest my eyes other than when I am sleeping.

Reading: switched to A Game of Thrones from Emerald Germs of Ireland.  Yes, I watched the first season of “Game of Thrones,” and the last two seasons, because the costumes, scenery, and dragons were awesome. The first season was a little tough for me to stomach. I tend to take violent content into my dreams at night.  I find the book to be more palatable, and there are no surprises here, which is not especially great, but I’ve always enjoyed reading a book more than seeing the movie or TV show. I even stopped watching Poldark when I took up reading the series of books, even though I found Aiden Turner to be quite yummy. I know what comes after where I stopped watching the series, and I don’t particularly care to see it acted out.

TV: I started watching “The Good Place” and “Doc Martin” again. I’m also giving “Sweet Tooth” a try.

I booked a hotel room for the night in Dublin between when we arrive from Portugal and get on a train to Westport the next day. It is over near Christchurch Cathedral so maybe we’ll have a little bit of time to see something in Dublin that morning, but I suspect that we will be worn out. I’m thinking that I’d like to have lunch at the Brazen Head and combine some history with my food. So I only have one hotel room night to book for our big trip now – the last night before we get on the plane for home from Dublin. Here’s hoping that Ireland is open for business by then!