coffee pot posts, Downsizing, Reading

Sunday sweep

I can’t think of anything much I did this week that was very interesting, but Sandy and I have gotten some stuff out of here to various thrift stores and charities and sold some of our American Revolution reenactment stuff. This was the weekend of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse reenactment, and as it often happens, the second day was canceled because of weather. Sandy packed up a woven basket backpack and trooped out there yesterday afternoon hawking his wares, but everybody was taking down their camps at that point and getting on the road. He did sell a few items and then one person from in town came to our house this morning and bought some items.

I threw out a LOT of food and found some in the freezer that I would have eaten had it not gotten buried. I need to keep on top of this from now on. My anxiety tells me that I may need something one day. I need to tell my anxiety to relax and shut up.

It was too warm for the snow to stick this morning. I slept through it anyway. In my dreams I was back in classes, searching for the right art class for me. I also failed college algebra twice and finally passed it with a D. I shouted to a friend, “I never made a D in my life!” The funny thing was that I was rather proud of failing that class. It was like an opposite school anxiety dream.

We socialized this week. I went with a friend to Oden mid-week and had a couple of brews and food from a great taco truck. Then Sandy and I met some friends from way back at Potent Potables in Jamestown – I’m talking early 80s – and then ate seafood for the first time since the pandemic shutdown at our favorite oyster bar across the street.

I’ve been feeling very weird about all this back to the past stuff – “like a pigeon from hell” as the Pretenders put it. I was a very fucked up person at that time with substance abuse and undiagnosed mental illness, and I haven’t remained friends with hardly anyone from high school or college because of embarrassment. But friends from that time keep getting in touch so obviously it isn’t an issue for them. I keep reminding myself that if we are still alive and in touch, then we all have moved on and become better people. But the memories plague me.

Now I’m heading out for my monthly massage. When I get back, I’ll cook and probably watch some TV, since we just canceled Hulu and Peacock and substituted HBO Max and Paramount Plus for a while. I watched “Women Talking” the other night and was blown away. There are many good movies I have missed because of my difficulty in paying attention to videos. I’m looking forward to catching up on the Picard series and the whole Yellowstone thing as well.

Books: I finished “When Christ and His Saints Slept” and “Rules of Civility.” I shot through “Rules” like a bullet and then found “A Gentleman in Moscow” at the used bookstore. I also found “Here Be Dragons” by Sharon Penman, which is a Welsh saga and so I’m pretty happy about my reading future. Currently I am over halfway through “Lessons in Chemistry.” At first it was seriously upsetting me and I wondered if I was in the mood to read it right now. But the dog and the kid saved it for me and now that I’m past some of the most infuriating and sad parts I am enjoying it very much.

There are used tenor saxophones at the used book store that I am so tempted by but so far I have resisted. I used to play baritone sax in our high school jazz band. I wouldn’t even know how to play any more. We have a house full of unplayed, lonely musical instruments and I’m not inclined to add another. I’m not musically talented (believe me, I tried) and choices had to be made. I can’t do (or try) to do all the things I want to do. However, I have heard “Pick Up the Pieces” by the Average White Band in my head ever since I noticed the saxes for sale and my fingers itch. “Baker Street” was taunting me the other day.

Next weekend I’m heading to Asheville with my sister and a friend to see the tapestry exhibit at the Folk Art Center. There are lots of photos on the Tapestry Weavers South Facebook page.

art, coffee pot posts, fiber art, Slow cloth, Slow stitch

Sunday morning coffee pot post

The latest stitchery:20230304_113105

I’m really enjoying stitching in this section. This piece has changed in my mind from purely abstract to ruminations about paths, choices, obstacles, and flow. What we do to stitch the fragments of our lives together while attempting to create balance. Sometimes you can, sometimes there is too much disruption in the fabric, but we still give it a try.

Now that I’m considering these aspects of it, it has become more meditative and much less frustrating. At the moment I’m thinking about mounting it on another piece of fabric and making it into a scroll. Next week I’ll probably have a different idea.

Last night I spent a lot of time looking through the different workshops that Stitch Club has to offer and making a list of which ones I’d like to do next. I’ll probably not stay subscribed to the service however. Not that it isn’t worth it but I need to mind my budget if I’m going to be able to travel and do the in-person workshops that I enjoy more.

I bought the program Deep Art Effects for my computer a while back and took a very simple photograph of water that I took during one of the last boat trips I took with my family at the lake through all the different filters. I loved so many of them and now considering – what if I warped up a long warp and wove the same design with all of my favorite versions. Separately or together? I think maybe separately, and hang them as a series. I’d weave them horizontally but hang them vertically.

This is a very good sign that I’m breaking free of my artist block.

Here’s the personal life stuff.

I pay attention here to the small cleaning tasks I get done around this house because after five years of serious depression and a spouse whose health concerns limits what he can do, it looked for a while as if it was too awful to ever catch up. Now that I’m feeling better mentally, I realize that we can do it in small chunks. So it’s a celebration when Sandy cleans out a closet, and when I clean a ceiling fan. When I look around and start to feel despair, I remind myself that it IS getting done, slowly, as is our style here. The deep kitchen cleaning is almost done.

Now our ants are invading the bathroom. Why? What do they find to eat? Honestly, it seems like they are just moving from one hole between the molding to another gap under the window. Sandy is going down to the basement to see if he can find clues. I finally got them out of the kitchen, and then the washing machine. ???

Here’s the thing. I am fascinated with ants. Especially when I go to the lake and there are still so many kinds hanging out on the beach. I can sit and watch them explore and maneuver around and over obstacles for a long time. I was about to write “hours” but I’m not that mindful. I do hate fire ants and now that they have finally made it to my street I hope that they don’t chase the other ants away.

Once I was stung by yellowjackets that had made a ground nest under a tree next to our driveway where we step out of the car. That simply won’t do, so I identified the hole, and waited until after dark when they had all returned to their nest. I put window screen over the hole and weighted it down all around with bricks. Then I poured a pot full of scalding water into the hole. That took care of that problem with no poison involved.

The next day, I witnessed the large ants who occupied the tree carrying boiled yellowjacket treats straight up the tree vertically. The yellowjacket bodies were more than twice the size of each ant.

I miss that tree, mainly for the ants and the woodpeckers.

If you read E.O. Wilson’s work about ants, you will discover an amazing world that no one ever notices.

Anyway, I had a busy workweek, and then I volunteered at the CVA gallery again yesterday morning. I noticed that now that my Achilles tendinitis is much, much better, my hips are protesting my lack of activity, so I’m going to get out for a long walk this afternoon.

coffee pot posts, Downsizing, Slow stitch

Sunday evening

Here’s the stitching from this week. It’s fun to do this with no deadline and the faintest idea of a “plan.” I’m especially fond of the yellow lines I added on the left, with silk thread I dyed with broom sedge. Most of the rest of the thread is embroidery floss. The project is from a class with Gwen Hedley on Stitch Camp. It’s howlingly funny that I once thought I might finish it in two weeks. Maybe by the end of the year, but that’s the fun and beauty of it – it doesn’t matter. I’m much more pleased with it with the yellow and gold threads and I’ve been finding people in it. Who knows what else might appear? I like the flow that is starting to come together.


Meant to write a blog post yesterday morning, and then this morning, but I had a late Friday night hanging out with my buddy Beck yakking and laughing, woke up without a hangover, and then gallery sat at the CVA Gallery again for the great fiber arts show there. I met a couple of artists who just moved here from Buffalo, and reinforcing that, ran into them after I closed the gallery at Deep Roots Market. I’m getting back out in the world, gang.

Also, on Friday, we had a dryer delivered so hopefully my near future will have less wrinkled clothes with less cat hair on them. I went to bed really early on Saturday night and slept twelve hours, so today I’ve been knocking out the laundry that’s been piling up.

Sandy cleaned out a couple of closets because a guy came to our house that was just starting to do American Revolution reenactments and was interested in buying gear and clothes. We have a ton of it, and were hoping he’d buy more, but it was a good start in getting rid of stuff we don’t use anymore. We might have to set up a trade blanket at the Guilford Courthouse reenactment, but man, that will take some energy and I don’t want to camp.

I continued to concentrate on cleaning out cabinets and drawers in the kitchen, including cleaning the insides, and purging and moving our stashed pantry food into the kitchen. Now I hope that Sandy will have room in these closets for some of the boxes he has stacked up. Unfortunately it kicked my allergies into high gear and I’m struggling with a persistent headache. But mentally I feel great that I’m making headway on all this mess.

I found the perfect solution for my stashed fabric scrap collection. Bryant Holsenbeck is teaching her recycled mixed media textile animal sculpture class at John C. Campbell Folk School in July when my work isn’t heavy. I’ve wanted to take this particular class for a while. I admire her work and her ethics, and I’m really excited about it!

This means I’ve pretty much booked out my vacation days and money for the year, but you know me, I’ll probably find something else near the end of the year because I won’t be able to resist it.



coffee pot posts, Slow stitch, Wonderfulness

Sunday morning coffee pot post

I turned 62 on Friday, so I can now take Social Security early if I really crashed and burned and had to do it! So I guess that’s a milestone of sorts. Even if I do retire early from my current job, I’m going to try to wait to take my social security payments until I’m full age at 67. I’d probably try to find a part-time or remote job.


Sandy took me to Elm St. Grill in Greensboro and surprised me with four of our friends showing up. The food and drinks were great, and we all agreed that we were a really fun crowd. Joseph cracked me up with a version of Happy Birthday that was very dark and twisted. And I got to go through the tequila torture, TWICE, because the owner said the first time was a practice run. I panicked and got confused about whether thumbs up meant I had enough or to keep going. I could not let that go straight down my throat! Filled up my mouth and almost had to spit it all out. But it was good tequila, and it was payback of sorts for when he did it on his 70th birthday. I slept well that night, and didn’t have a hangover.

I promised to show my stitching since the last time. I didn’t get a lot done, but I started adding buttons and I will be adding some lighter contrasting stitching much later. It is fun because I’m just following my nose, really. Many French knots are on the horizon.


Yesterday I had a much needed massage and my neck feels so much better today. I went grocery shopping and made a big pot of soup. Instead of the stitching, I mostly went down the rabbit hole of switching between my book and my family tree again. Boy, did I have some evil ancestors, but I have found whole new branches of the family to explore those threads back to Scotland and Switzerland. The Welsh branch is fascinating and a bit hard to decipher. So many Owens and Davids and Thomases and Williams, and then they start turning to Owains, and Dauids and Dyfdds and Gwilyms and Gwyllams.

My neighbors made a couple of repairs to the siding that came loose in a storm at the top of the front of the house. I suppose I should be happy to have such great neighbors, and I am, but it also freaked me out and made me feel a little, I don’t know, ashamed? I finally had to go hide so I wouldn’t have a panic attack. (No need to tell me I shouldn’t feel this way, I know that. I am mentally unwell.) We were asking for recommendations to get someone to fix it and they decided that they could do it for us. One of them told me that he didn’t want to do it, but if he didn’t, the other guy was going to do it, and he didn’t want him to do it because he was afraid he would get hurt. Men, I swear. But, hey! That’s one thing off the to-do list.

They clipped out the branches in that area and around the utility wires coming into the house too, and it was a beautiful day, so I got a little front yard clean-up done. My favorite flowers are beginning to bloom and the eucalyptus does not seem to have survived the Christmas cold snap, so I’m going to cut it down and see if I can get some dye out of the leaves.

Little by little I am getting this place cleaned up and less cluttered, although I don’t think anybody would see the difference. I’ve been concentrating on the kitchen drawers, cabinets, and refrigerator. I have squirreled away a lot of food for the dystopian future, and it’s time to use or get rid of a lot of it. Sandy wants to switch my studio to the front room again. Just thinking about it makes my back and neck hurt. But it would force us to go through a lot of the books and knickknacks and art supplies and make decisions. I’m good about keeping my book collection under control, but Sandy has a hard time letting go of even his old computer manuals. My biggest hoarding issue is fabric and paper. I think that I’ve purged my yarn as much as I can go.

I’m looking that that Dorothy table loom across the room, and thinking that it needs to go. I’ve never even warped it up. I think I know the perfect place to donate it – my friend is an art teacher at a school for refugees. The refugees haven’t arrived yet, but hopefully it will happen soon. There’s been a lot of controversy about it.

Latest fun thing: listening to public radio WNCW on Alexa. This morning they’ve been playing old-time country, along with some pop and soft rock from the 50s-60s. I am not a big pop country fan, but I do love the old stuff and “Americana.” Now they’ve switched to Celtic fiddle.

The church bells are signaling that it is noon-time, so I’ll close. Have a great week!

coffee pot posts

Sunday mid-day hot herbal tea post

The day is cloudy and chilly and the rain has off and on. I am so frickin lazy these days. Maybe when the weather warms I will be more inclined to leave the house, or do something productive within it. My plan was to go to Lake Waccamaw this weekend, but the forecast looked awful and I finally decided not to go. I have a lot of work to do this time of year anyway, and I don’t like driving all that way and back for just two days. Guess I’ll make a pot of soup.

I guess I’m depressed again. Just kind of blah.

Yesterday I finally went around with the vacuum and cleaned walls and molding and curtains of dust and cobwebs. I installed the four color smart bulbs that I bought several weeks ago and it reminds me of the black light bulbs of my teen years. Mainly we’ll leave them in daylight mode but it’s been fun to tell Alexa to change them to different colors. I guess I get my jollies where I can. The other night when Sandy was gone I had Alexa play Talking Heads and the B-52s all evening. I wonder if my neighbors could hear it. To make up for it I played spa music last night.

I canceled my reservation for the trip to Italy in 2024. It was too far in the future for me to feel comfortable with laying out a big deposit. Inspired by the photos and tales of my friends of going to San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico, I spent a long time researching the cost of going there for a week in May. Turns out that I have enough miles on my United card to cover both of our airfares and there are some nice places in the historic center of town that are affordable for a week’s stay if we split the cost. Sandy is enthusiastic about the idea so I reserved a place that has free cancellation until May 4 or 5. Then I remembered that Sandy had a hard time with the altitude in northern New Mexico. It may be because we went really high up in the mountains of Colorado for the first night on the way there, but it persisted throughout the trip. I am a little nervous about this, but he is on medication for his heart now, and he still wants to go, so I will probably move forward with this plan. I may try to find a place that is a little lower in altitude for the first two days  to ease the adjustment.

I’d prefer Europe, but this is doable, and I need a trip to plan and look forward to in the near future.

The gallery sitting last weekend was peaceful and I enjoyed stitching and the few interactions I had with people coming in, so I signed up for that again in two weeks. Next Saturday, I have a massage scheduled, YAY. My neck has finally healed for the most part, but the discomfort never really goes away.

Next week is going to be meeting heavy, but because I didn’t go to the lake and I was able to download Citrix on my new computer, I got most of my data entry done. I’ll still have a really full week, but it won’t be so overwhelming now that’s not hanging over my head. Sometimes I am sad about my decision not to retire this year, but most of the time I realize that I have a good work situation despite the clueless administrative decisions made above the level of my department. If I can hang on for the ride as long as I can, it will be best to keep working. I could always get laid off in a budget cut anyway, and in that case there could be some incentives to retire instead of just quitting.

I’ve also spent a lot of time (for me) in the evenings watching embroidery and slow stitching and mixed media videos, so maybe the next time I post I’ll have some photos to share. I joined the Stitch Club at because they have several workshops by artists that I love, such as Cas Holmes, and some artists/teachers that I am discovering. I know how to do most of the techniques…it is the push and inspiration and structure of a class that I need. I hate taking art classes online, but that’s my reality at the moment and I’m grateful to have that ability.

And I’ve decided to leave the blog on WordPress for now, because I may need to develop the website side of it later. I’ll probably copy it over to Substack from time to time if I end up getting any subscribers there, but for now, this is the place where every post will appear. Mastodon has lost its shine for me, but I don’t miss Twitter either.

agoraphobia, coffee pot posts

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Just barely getting it in before noon, because my racing thoughts kept me awake until 3:30 a.m. when I finally gave in and took a Xanax. I can also blame the book I’m reading, When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Penman. It was very hard to put down, even though I know the outcome of my 30+G grandmother Maude’s war to claim her crown from Stephen in the 12th century. Part of the excitement of reading this book is coming across characters who I think I’ve seen somewhere in the family tree on and trying to track them down. Last night it was Miles Fitz Walter. I have so many asshole ancestors, and since they all married into (and battled) each other’s families, it’s a big well of oppressors to drink from. I’m not proud of them, but it’s fun to be able to know something about their lives, which is impossible to know about the middle class and immigrant generations in between other than what can be found in censuses and wills. The day I found Uhtred from “The Last Kingdom” on my tree was a big day!

My thoughts were racing last night because I’m ready to warp up my 16″ Big Sister Mirrix loom the correct way, with heddles and all!, and start another tapestry. I know, I said that I was giving up tapestry. That’s such BS. I say that at least once a year. My problem is that I can’t decide what to weave next. I spent a long time looking through my photos on the computer last night, and I downloaded and then uninstalled Gimp when I saw that it is WAY too complicated for me. I need to find that site where you can upload a photo or drawing and print it out to a larger size on standard copy paper, like a grid, that you put together. I’ve forgotten the name of it. I did come up with a design that I liked based on the background photo of this blog, spent an hour doing alterations to make it into a cartoon, and then lost it. That’s when I uninstalled Gimp.

Anyway, I know that I have some other photos that I took of reflections in the lake so I’m going to look for them this weekend, and actually draw a cartoon this time. I’d like to do something abstract.

I am trying to force myself out of the house so when I got an email from CVA asking for volunteers to gallery sit, I signed up for 2-5 this afternoon. There is a fiber art exhibit from six local artists at the arts center. I was going to take my Mirrix, but since I couldn’t decide on a size last night to prepare it for weaving, I’ll take my stitching.

I know that a lot of my local weaving friends who have been in the area for a long time think badly of CVA for the way they treated one of our own and got rid of a big weaving studio at a time when weaving and fiber arts were making a comeback. Believe me, I am very cognizant of that ugliness and I spoke up about it, and I still would love to know what exactly prompted that terrible decision since they would not discuss it at the time. But now they are lifting a new generation of fiber artists, and those artists had nothing to do with what CVA did to Sandra and the weaving program in Greensboro. I want to support these artists. I am conflicted about supporting CVA but I’m working on letting go of my grudges.

Plus, it’s better than vacuuming these cobwebs I see on the walls and windows of this room right now. That will have to be attended to. It’s been one of those intense work weeks and I’ve been lazy at home, other than cooking once or twice.

Anyway, since I slept so late I need to get in the shower and eat something and go. Yay me, fighting against my agoraphobia!

coffee pot posts, fiber art, Rebel stitching, Slow stitch, tapestry, weaving

Sunday evening Smiddicks Post

Can’t say that I’ve gotten much accomplished this weekend other than laundry. I looked over this stitching project and realized that life is too short to be compulsive about doing all this when I’m really not thrilled about most of the pieces. I whittled it down to the long piece and the mostly blue piece and spent several pleasant hours stitching while listening to Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow, leaving most of my thoughts floating in the air somewhere, not a care in the world. It was good for me, because thinking about the world outside of this little house has been bringing me way, way down. When I didn’t like most of the stitching I did this afternoon, I looked at it as an applique opportunity. So maybe this will become a stitch practice, or a mood journal of sorts. One thing is for sure, it is SLOW.


I had some amazing news on Friday after I posted my blog post – I sold “A Place You’ve Never Been” at the Tapestry Weavers South exhibition. Now, here’s the thing. I put a high price on it and “Cathedral” because I didn’t really want to sell them. I nearly called the curator to tell her to put NFS on both of them. But I thought, nobody is going to pay that price for either of them and if they do, I’ll put the money aside for something really nice for myself. The gallery commission was 50% so I put $1,000 on “A Place You’ve Never Been” and $10,000 on “Cathedral” (I REALLY don’t want to sell it.). So that’s $500 coming my way for the deposit on Laurie Doctor’s workshop in Italy in September 2024.

I’m not interested in making art for money. It sucks the joy out of it for me. You know, I just need something to do with my hands. I will never ever sell my art for cheap. It undercuts the value of my time and the value of other artists’ work. I’d rather give it away than sell it cheap.

However, I kind of fucked up, because I never thought I’d sell it, I didn’t get a good photograph of it in its final setting. I had wrapped it up to send it to another show in early May in which I was going to put NFS on it, and then I found out that I had to put it up for sale. So I never sent it, and I didn’t unwrap it. And guess what, I realize that I didn’t get good photos of the other two in their final form either. I finished getting them hemmed and backed and hanging devices on them at the last minute, and I didn’t stop to photograph them – just jumped in the car and drove with them to Asheville. I hope that I’ll be able to do it when I go to whatever kind of opening we have, whether it’s just a get-together or public. What’s funny is that for a while I was sharing so many photos of it in progress that I decided not to share another photo until it was framed and ready for display. Lesson learned.

Here’s a photo of it when I was testing out different color backgrounds, and a photo of it that my friend sent me when she was there and noticed the red “sold” dot on the card.

A Place You've Never Been

A Place You've Never Been at exhibit

I spent several frustrating hours searching for the best, most affordable way for us to go to Scotland in May or June, and it just ain’t gonna happen. Sandy and I went out to the used bookstore where I picked up a couple of travel books on Scotland and Great Britain, and when we went out to eat, I told him that he was going to have to pony up more money for this trip because I haven’t had time to save for it, and I keep my credit cards paid off. This isn’t like Portugal, when I had the airfare already paid from when I’d planned to go to Ireland in 2020, and the accommodations were inexpensive, and I had two extra years to save up for it. He is worried about his medical bills, so we decided to try to do it in September. I don’t know if we’ll be able to do it then either, but I’m glad to have made the decision not to try it in May or June, anyway.

This clears the way for me to go to Penland this summer IF and ONLY IF I can get a scholarship, which, since I am older, I figure is a long shot at best. But it’s only $5 to submit the application, so I’ve decided to put one together over the next week or two. The deadline is Feb. 15, just before my 62nd birthday. I will try not to be disappointed if I don’t get one. I’ll just need to find another way to have fun this summer. I’m sure some kind of workshop will pop up that I can do in person. Maybe I just need to knuckle down and actually get a body of work together – now there’s a thought. Actually doing art instead of dreaming about going to workshops to do art!

coffee pot posts, fiber art

Saturday morning coffee pot post

20230121_103835This week I took a free online class with Gwen Hedley through – actually, I’m still taking it because I got started late. It’s a short class, designed to get you going with some simple instructions. I decided to do it precisely because it provides a creative jumping off point and I’m following the instructions as exactly as possible to give myself the limitations I need to get out of this creative rut. I bought Gwen’s book “Drawn to Stitch” years ago and her work is representative of the direction in which I’d like to go. So I have stitching on this project to look forward to during the next week.


First was mark making with acrylic paints on fabric. We were to use three colors – a light color for the base fabric, and medium and dark colors for the paint. One piece was supposed to cover much of the fabric and the other was to be more lightly marked with lots of negative space showing. Each piece was supposed to have more of the dark color on one side and more of the medium color on the other. Then we cut it up and put it back together in ways that we could find links between the pieces to embellish with stitching and applique.


I found that I liked the back sides of the fabric where the paint bled through as much as the front sides. It almost gave me too many choices and I started seeing the wisdom of her advice to keep it small. My pull was to make a larger piece and I was considering making a box shape – I still might do something like this but not now.


Here’s where I have ended up. Now the embellishment will begin.


I realized this week that I have spent nearly every other weekend away from home for over three months. We were at the lake in late September when the remnants of Hurricane Ian came through, and then I traveled for pleasant events, such as Leslie’s class and the weaving retreat and our train trip to Charlotte, and the last six weeks I have been to Lake Waccamaw four times. It is time for me to stay in Greensboro for a while, even though I love being at the lake and I was happy to spend time with Lisa and Tim. That’s been a lot of driving.

I have been so sick this week with sinus pain. Feeling much better today because I finally started taking Allegra D again. I did not want to take it because antihistamines trigger my restless leg syndrome, but finally the headaches got to be too much. I’ve also been using a neti pot several times a day. The other night I neti-ed at 3:30 in the morning! This all rapidly got worse after we stayed in that hotel room in Asheville that was saturated in fragrance. Hotels should realize that upon smelling that level of perfume, people wonder what they are trying to cover up. Anyway, I hope that I’m on the road to healing now. This afternoon I have a massage scheduled and that should help my aching neck and shoulder, which is a chronic problem.

Now I need to get hold of my growing desire not to leave the house. It’s funny how I can travel to other places with little problem but once I get in my house or office or the lake house, I do NOT want to leave for any reason. I need to get out and take walks.

My sister seems to be on her way to healing, although of course, the grief is very, very hard. Her shingles cleared up and she has gotten down to the business of learning to live alone. She just found her husband’s journal, last instructions, and three new poems on his phone yesterday. I’d love to make a book with Tim’s poetry.

This coming week Sandy is having surgery to remove half of his thyroid gland. He is quite nervous about it but seems to be more concerned about the bill than anything. My guess is that Medicare should take care of most of it. If he wasn’t on Medicare, then I would be very concerned. I watched my mother go through thyroid surgery and I feel as good as possible about this surgeon after we met with him. It’s not the worst cancer, if that ends up what it is. They couldn’t tell from the biopsy, so into his neck they will go. I worry about him going under anesthesia more than anything, but there is no good worrying about it since worry won’t change what has to be done.

coffee pot posts, critters, Lake Waccamaw

Saturday morning coffee pot post at noon


^^^My yin yang feline nephew and niece

I’m down at the lake again for the three day weekend. My sister got the gift of shingles for her birthday, which is Monday. She is doing fairly well, though, because she went to the doctor and got meds for it at an early stage. It’s chilly, so we’ve pretty much been hanging out birdwatching in the sun room facing the lake. She cooked soup before I got here, and I cooked chicken tetrazini last night. We watched an 1981 movie last night, The Four Seasons, which I had forgotten about. It was a good movie to watch 40+ years later, after you’ve been married for decades and have seen your friends get divorces or drift away as your lives change, basically relating to the middle aged issues that I was too young to understand at the time.

I haven’t even been over to the house where I usually stay. At this time of year we keep the water cut off and the heat barely on over there. My sister’s house is lovely, warm, and comfortable. I’m happy here, even with our missing Tim. I worried over Lisa getting sick, but I was going to come here anyway because sometimes when you’re grieving, you just need someone to sit with you and listen and not try to fix anything. She is finally getting some sleep and that will help her more than anything.

The skies are almost always interesting here and that’s why I take so many photos. Maybe one day I’ll make an artist book of just my Lake Waccamaw water/sky photos.


This morning was interesting. The next door neighbor’s daughter got married on the dock in the photo above. We watched from the porch. It is windy and in the low 40s and we could see how cold everyone was!

I went to the local grocery store where an old man with a gold cross around his neck tried to engage me in a political conversation over the price of food and how the people in Washington did not care how it affected seniors. I told him that I knew exactly what he meant and moved on. Then the handsome young man at the checkout flirted with me. I’ve reached the point in my life that I appreciate this, if it is done right, and it was.

Sandy got the cardiologist approval for his thyroid surgery so I guess we’ll schedule that soon.

I registered for a book arts workshop near Volterra, Italy in September 2024, so I have that to look forward to and save money for. I should be retired by then. It is four classes led by four teachers doing one book project. A different teacher leads you every day. One of them is Laurie Doctor, who I’ve been aching to take a class from for a long time. I’m not super interested in calligraphy, but I love her work and her writing and her palette of colors. She is so inspirational.

Still musing over a trip to Scotland in May/June. I’m not sure about it just yet. There’s too much sickness going around and it’s making me nervous about planning five months out.

coffee pot posts

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Just realized that I didn’t do my usual Festivus post yesterday. I didn’t do it last year either. Gah! Oh well. I hope you had a Painless Festivus and you received many apologies for your grievances and you were victorious in your wrestling matches.

We weren’t expecting any Festivus miracles. My brother(in-law) is still hanging on. He hasn’t eaten in over a week. Hospice is helping my sister care for him at home but they haven’t been as much help as she hoped for. There is one Hospice NP that is very experienced and helpful who was supposed to come last night. The main problem, other than my sister dealing with the emotional and physical trauma, is that she has to ask for everything and she is exhausted and doesn’t always know what to ask for. Last night they were going to bring a hospital bed and start him on morphine.

Another huge worry is that we are in the midst of this Arctic blast and there are power outages everywhere. If they lose power (and they did for a short time) I don’t know what she will do. I guess she will have to call an ambulance and put him in a hospital, because the Hospice care facilities aren’t giving her any firm answers. Of course now she is second guessing her decisions but honestly, if she had decided to have him live out his last days in Chapel Hill or in a facility, she would have wondered if she shouldn’t have moved him home to Lake Waccamaw. That is where he wanted to be. It’s so hard.

I’ve talked to my blood brother twice in the last couple of days, and that’s a struggle for me. However, last night we had a good conversation even though I do get frustrated about his distrust of doctors and medicine. He just got over a bad case of Covid and I had hoped that he learned a lesson about getting vaccinated from that, but no. He loves my b-i-l like a brother too, so it is tough for him also.

The three of us have had our father’s last days of his life on our minds, and each of us has mentioned that last horrific day, which we normally can’t talk about. We just hope and pray that there won’t be a repeat. He says that he needs to talk about our parents and how much he misses them to somebody who understands, so I said that he could call me and talk. I promised to call him with information as soon as I got it from my sister, and he will do the same, but she has a hard time calling people and often she will not take a call. I understand that too because I am like that.

Today the wind has finally calmed. Last night it got down to about 6 degrees F here. That is very unusual for North Carolina. The wind chill was below zero yesterday. At least we didn’t get sleet or ice. The high is expected to be 26 today. We’ve had times like this before, but they were a long time ago. When I was in my early twenties, I sold batteries at a Sears Auto Center. I was on commission and a day like today would have been extremely busy for me. I remember getting in my car to go somewhere that night in the early 80s and I had to turn around and go home because my windshield kept freezing over on the inside.

I like to think that I would like to move somewhere to the north of this latitude but times like this make me realize what a Southern girl I am. I am NOT into snow. It’s pretty, but I want to stay hunkered down during winter weather instead of getting out and living a normal life. I can’t imagine dealing with temperatures way below zero or being stuck inside a house without heat.

This morning I dreamed about my little Squirtly. I was boondocking in a white van in a parking lot next to a desert scrubland. (I just finished reading Nomadland this week.) I remembered that Squirt was in a box and opened it to let him out, then realized that I had let him out earlier and he had been out all day. I nearly panicked, thinking about all the wild critters out there and whether he was lost. I called him and he meowed and came running to me, very happy with his day’s adventure. “Let me hug you, baby,” I pleaded, and he did. I picked him up and walked around with him, contently curled against my heart.

I have written before about Squirt showing up in my dreams to comfort me, and also about letting him go. It’s been fifteen years since I had to let him go from this world, and it touches me that he still comes back from time to time.

Anyway, I have this weekend through next weekend with no alarms in the mornings and I slept long and hard last night. It’s obvious that I am now a night owl and my body wants to sleep from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. I have been hemming my tapestries and once we get on the other side of this @#$% holiday and weather I’ll get them mounted and drive them to Asheville. I have barely left the house since last weekend. On Monday Sandy and I brought most of my stuff home from the print studio and went out for a very late lunch at a Mediterranean restaurant we like. I checked my accounts again and apparently my payments to rejoin the studio never went through. So there’s no money lost there – I just got some free storage for a while. I can’t get back into the building until next week.

Reading “Night Train to Lisbon” again. It is a very slow read because of the philosophical ideas. I’m enjoying it when I have the mental energy to stop and think through a passage. When I don’t, I turn to other books. I’ve been on Mastodon a lot, and I subscribe to a lot of Substack newsletters. Yesterday I checked out “Braiding Sweetgrass” as an e-book through UNCG’s library. That one I’m having to read on the big screen.

I’ve also been cooking more than usual and depending on how things go, a baked ham and sweet potato gratin and some other side dish is in the near future.

Speaking of which, it is time for lunch.