coffee pot posts, critters

Saturday afternoon

Hydrangeas on my walk to work

I’m getting more used to this new WordPress editor system – I don’t think that it is very intuitive but by experimenting and doing a lot of drafts I’m beginning to get the hang of it. What I really dislike is that when I go back to edit a page often it gives me “block error” messages and I have no idea what it means. I keep reopening the edit page in different ways and eventually I get it to load. I’ve been working on the Tapestry Weavers South website and making artist pages for the members as they send in information and photos. In doing so, I found the slideshow block so I’m playing with that for my page now.

Today I got up to feed the cats and went back to bed. When I woke up it was 10:40 and Sandy and I hustled to get to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market before it closed at 11:30. We have not been there in a long time. I bought from three different vendors: Zephyr squash, white potatoes, and flat green beans. I meant to buy shrimp but the market was closing down and I had a headache from rushing out without my coffee. I’ve had my caffeine and acetaminophen now but I’m not quite over it.

In the past year, too often have I bought fresh produce and then let it rot in the fridge. The cooking muse not only left me, I wonder if she died of Covid. I wonder if she is ever coming back. Pretty weird for a blogger who used to focus on fresh and local food, huh?

I did a little bit of weaving on the lake tapestry though.

I have since added another black spot and wonder if I should take them out and tone them down a bit. Funny because in my brain I was excited about these three little black spots. I will sit with this one for another day or so. It is really hard for me to unweave given that it takes me so long to weave anything these days.

Thursday was my last day working from home because of the pandemic, if all goes well. My coworkers will take vacation days in July so I will be in the office without much to do for a while. I am going to take two long weekends, one to return to Lake Waccamaw and another to go to Topsail Beach for a book workshop with Dan Essig at Leslie Marsh’s studio.

Sandy and I have gotten out and about this week. He is still going to his water exercise classes every morning. I have been walking more and interacting with my neighbors more. We had delicious jambalaya and shrimp and grits at Elm St. Grill Wednesday night, and sat outside at Oden Brewing eating sloppy Chinese dumplings from Chirba Chirba Dumpling truck and listening to music. Last Sunday we went to the Artists Over 50 potluck at the former site of Healing Ground, now known as Penns Grove Retreat. I showed my tapestry of the labyrinth there and my lake tapestry in progress and said a few words about them. This is the group that we joined a few months before everything shut down. I hope to show some of my collage work in their shows.

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This afternoon Sandy scheduled massages with the students at Kneaded Energy for both of us. I texted my former massage therapist, and sadly, that is over. Her studio (A to Zen) shut down and I am not sure if she is going back to massage.

Pablocito relaxes on the front porch
Diego being extra cuddly one evening.
Back Forty, Blather, coffee pot posts

Thursday lunch post

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I just edited a whole bunch of photos and wrote a post about going to Dunleath Porchfest on June 12, because my work ethic is to get the easy quick projects out of the way first. It works for me.

Today is such a light workday. It is so refreshing to have these days after the work crunch of spring semester, and such a shock when the world returns to semi-normal in August. I’ve only had one visitor to the office, and one phone call. One faculty member is here in her office. All the classes are online. I caught up on everything that built up during my vacation on Tuesday.

The front and back gardens are looking lovely – but the other parts of the yard are getting grown up with pokeweed and English ivy and poison ivy and ground ivy. I posted a recommendation request on the Next Door app and got loads of messages back. So I knuckled down and made the phone calls. I hate making phone calls worse than almost anything in the world. I like public speaking better. I like eating liver better. I like listening to Garth Brooks better. The responses are beginning to come in.

This is the pretty part:

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I got shit done yesterday and today though. I went to Leon’s Beauty School and had half of my hair whacked off. I did a couple of loads of laundry and got completely frustrated with the plumbing situation, so a plumber was called and is coming tomorrow afternoon. I have managed to put this off for at least a year. Sandy and I went to lunch at Lindley Filling Station and I ordered a healthy salad. We got one car inspected. I filled out the form to make an eye appointment in mid-July – I had hoped for sooner, so we’ll see whether I stick with them. I ordered a few colors of Golden paint that I’ve been wanting.

And I spent money. I bought plane tickets for Dublin to Lisbon. I don’t feel very secure about it, and not only because of Covid concerns. TAP, the Portuguese airline, was really the best choice as far as the length of the trip (2 hr 45 min) and the time of departure because we needed a morning flight. It was the best price for a flight that allowed checked baggage. But their website was a nightmare and had conflicting/confusing information about whether we could get a voucher or refund if the flight was cancelled. So I called a couple of times and I couldn’t get anyone to answer after listening to hold music for way too long. Then I checked out their Facebook page AFTER I booked the flight (I do have 24 hours to cancel, I know that) and saw many complaints with very unsatisfactory responses from TAP. This morning I took another look at my choices and I am sticking with TAP and hoping for the best. Hoo boy.

The fact is, I feel compelled to move forward with this trip. I had to tweak our plans. For one thing, my sister and brother-in-law are definitely not coming with us. They want to wait, and I can’t blame them for that. My sister says that she knows someone with an auto-immune disease who found out that she had no antibodies after she was vaccinated. We’ll buy a couple of antibody tests at Walgreens and see. Maybe Sandy will need a more robust mask to wear.

We also realized that there was a logistical problem with spending the weekend in Dublin. We have to have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of getting on the plane to Portugal. We could probably get a fast test in Dublin, but, we’d have to do that right away and we’ll be tired.  By the time we land in Lisbon, we will have been on planes or in airports for over 24 hours. We are going to be exhausted so Friday night in Lisbon will probably be a waste while we rest. And I can tell you from the past long wait in Dublin airport that it is not a comfy place to hang out. But the TAP flight after a six hour layover in Dublin was the only nonstop flight that left in a reasonable time frame. If all goes well, we’ll be in Lisbon early Friday afternoon, after leaving Raleigh on Thursday morning.

But hey! It gives us more time in Portugal! Winning! I changed our AirBNB apartment to a smaller one that costs about the same for the longer amount of time – good reviews, super cheap, and right next to the big Lisbon flea market, which will thrill both of us. Close to the main historic part of Lisbon and most importantly, a short walk to the train station. Flea market and exploring Lisbon on Saturday, then we plan to take at least a couple of day trips on the train or bus tours to other parts of Portugal, then another day or two in Lisbon.

Sandy really wanted to spend the whole trip in Portugal, and I considered that. We are seriously talking about emigrating there when I retire, and we need to check it out. But I really want to take that art class with Lora Murphy and chill out on the western beaches of Ireland, so the compromise was made. He will be happy in Ireland too.

Okay, back to work.

 

coffee pot posts

Wednesday morning coffee pot post

This is a brain dump.

Considering that the left and southwest part of the country is under a massive heat wave, the temperature is pretty amazing here – the high is supposed to be 77 F. I’m working on the front porch this morning. Soon I will be back in the office every day, so I’m enjoying the privilege of being able to do this most days until July 6. Last week and Monday we were at the lake, and I took vacation days this time. I needed a break from email and the computer, although it didn’t stop me from posting on Facebook and playing games on my Kindle. I have so many photos to edit and blog posts to write, but this morning while Sandy is at his water exercise class, I’m taking advantage of a light work day and the quiet to write a little catch-up.

There has been a loss – my friend Jess Usher, who got his MA and PhD in history at UNCG. He was working in south Georgia, so our friendship was virtual for the past few years. He was one of the only people who regularly whipped my ass at Words with Friends and now I am sad every time I open it. We played one or two turns a day, and when he missed a day, I worried. This time my worry was valid. He was a warrior for justice, especially for Latinx immigrants, and had a wicked sense of humor.

My anxiety level was sky high the week that I went to Elkin for the tapestry retreat, to the point that I was embarrassed. I thought I might have to go back on the anxiety meds. But after three days at the lake, I calmed down quite a bit.

Mainly I’m thinking about our trip to Ireland and Portugal. A misunderstanding caused me to suggest to Sandy that we spend the whole trip in Portugal, which he is eager to do. Now that the misunderstanding has been cleared up, I want to go back to the plan of leaving for Lisbon as soon as we land in Dublin, flying back to Dublin after a week, taking the train to Westport in western Ireland, then spending the remainder of our trip in an AirBNB apartment in Mulranny, a beach town near Achill Island. I know, based on how we both feel now, that we will be exhausted after a week in Portugal.

I haven’t gotten much exercise yet. I spent the week at the lake mostly sitting on my butt on the back porch. I did a little swimming one day. I decided to stop taking the meloxicam while I was there so I could be freer with my food and alcohol intake. Turned out that I didn’t drink much at all, but I did eat some good food. And some junk food. My appetite is pretty low these days, for some reason. Too lazy to fix food? I need to start walking every day. Yesterday I walked to work and boy, did my hips ache.

I have so many things that I need to do today/soon. Car inspection. Get someone to clean up our yard. Call a plumber. Go to the drugstore. Go to the grocery store. Laundry. Call for an eye appointment. I definitely have to do that because my eyesight is interfering with finishing the lake tapestry. Get my hair cut, because someone mistook me for a person who I dislike pretty intensely at Dunleath Porchfest a couple of weeks ago. As much as I wanted to deny it, the mirror told me that there was a resemblance. Weight loss and a change of wardrobe is required as well. It’s time for a change anyway.

The garden is lovely right now and the tomatoes are ripening, although the first couple of bigger ones had blossom end rot. I’ll need to add some epsom salts to the pots.

I will have a lake post and hopefully a post backdated to the Elkin retreat with lots of photos, but I just don’t have time to do the photo editing right now. There are about 200 photos to go through. Maybe tomorrow.

coffee pot posts, Reading

A cool Sunday in the front room

20210530_124641Our house is 99 years old this year.

Sandy has rearranged the front “living” room, which is a long narrow room stretching across the whole front of the house. In other Craftsman bungalows this room is divided into two small rooms. It’s always been hard to decide how to arrange this room, with the wood stove on one side and the cable connections on the other. It is 11 feet wide on this end and about 13 feet wide on the fireplace side, and I’m guessing about 30 feet long. There used to be French doors leading into the “dining room.” We have usually tended to divide it up like two spaces. For a while I put room dividers of books and art supplies and made this part my studio, but it was always too dark and crowded. I like it right now – cozy with the big sofa and big chair, art books beside me, ottoman to put my feet up, cat tree between the sofa and chair, soft lighting. My mother’s little reading floor lamp is in the corner, with a watercolor paper shade that she punched and snipped a design into. Yes, the plaster needs repair!

And that front door – oof. One day.

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When we first moved in here, we were so used to living in a tiny space and so intimidated about what to do with this room that we left it empty for months.

Anyway, I am happy about the change and I suspect it will get me out of the bedroom more often, although I prefer it without the TV on.

One thing that I regret is that there are no photos of any rooms from my childhood home other than the living room, where we seldom spent any time, or a few dining room shots that only show the counter with food on it. So I’m trying to resolve that with this home. One thing that I love about the digital age is that you can take lots of photos and not worrying about the expense of wasting film!

I figure that if we ever get around to remodeling the bedrooms and Sandy’s man cave, and boy, do they need it, we can sleep in this spot. The floor and ceiling and sliding closet doors and walls need to be redone in the small bedroom where I sleep. The old ceiling tiles in there are stained and bulging from old roof leaks and the wallpaper is the only thing holding the cracked plaster in the walls together. The sliding closet doors are metal and difficult and noisy to open and close. The whole house tilts to the south. We did fix the foundation years ago, at least.

When we go into our neighbors’ houses, it is always interesting to see how they have dealt with this similar layout. Most of them knocked out the wall that made this room two rooms. One has a tiny foyer because they put in stairs and built a second story.

These things will have to wait, but luckily I am not the sort who has to have everything just right. However, I did always think that I would have these repairs done long before now, and we can’t just let the house fall apart. We have spent a lot of money on this house on the more basic stuff – electrical repair, new HVAC system, roof, new chimneys. I admit that the solar panels were a bit over the top – they will never pay themselves off, probably, because Duke Energy is going to keep raising their fee to connect them to the net metering system unless politicians have the will to stop them. (The unfairness of this kept me awake a couple of nights this week, until I convinced myself not to worry about something that I have no control over.) I do like that I am producing renewable energy on my rooftop. I probably should have spent the money on something else, though, in hindsight. I never regret spending money on travel.

I have been reading a book that surprised me – The Master, by Colm Toibin, a fictional biography of the author Henry James. I picked it up a couple of times and gave up after the first chapter. I was disappointed because I had picked it because I am focused on Irish writers and this was not about Ireland. Once I managed to get into it, though, I was entranced with the complexity of the characters and I felt as though I had met a twin soul, as far as his introversion and inner turmoil. In particular, the women caught my heart. It made realize that I had never read Henry James, or seen the movies based on his books. So I downloaded “The Portrait of a Lady” and I am watching it on Amazon Prime right now.

I took my last prednisolone this morning and I am looking forward to Sandy being off of his steroid doses, as his are much stronger and more frequent that mine were. It suppresses your immune system so it has made me more anxious about catching a variant of Covid-19. My heel is somewhat better but I haven’t really put it to the test yet. I will be on meloxicam for another three weeks, so I stopped drinking. I haven’t forgotten what strong anti-inflammatories did to my gut years ago. The fridge has lots of good ales in it, and I haven’t touched one in a week. It is very tempting, but I will try to save them to take to the lake in a couple of weeks.

Now there is beef stew in the crock pot. A few carrot tops that had sprouted were planted in one of the containers at the front. I haven’t done this before so we will see if they take root or if they become snacks for the squirrels. I hear our neighbor across the street playing cornhole with his grandkids. We are about to go out and do some shopping (with our masks on) and later if the light and temperature is good on the porch, I’ll weave a little bit on the lake tapestry. That will be for tomorrow’s post.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts

Saturday on the front porch

20210529_115738I haven’t done much lately, trying to heal this heel. Heal, heel! I puttered around the garden this morning, but my Achilles tendon doesn’t care much for squatting, so here I am back on the front porch. Fortunately the heat lifted with the rain last night and it is expected to be cool tomorrow in the upper 60s!

Sandy is in the back, burning pieces of an old rotten pallet in the fire pit. It was once part of a compost heap that is long gone. Porfirio says that he might be able to come back to work in the yard on Tuesday. If he can’t, I will look for someone else to hire. We both reached the point where we agree that help is needed.

I haven’t planted anything new in the Back Forty this year, so far. Everything has gone into the front garden, mostly into pots. The feverfew is just beginning to flower and the evening primrose will be bursting into blooms very soon. The fig tree is huge and will have to be cut down by at least two-thirds this winter.

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In the front, we have green tomatoes, a few peppers, and coreopsis providing a welcome burst of yellow.

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The foxgloves are winding down. The azalea blossoms have turned brown. Every year I am tempted to remove these white azaleas. I didn’t plant them and I don’t particularly like them.  Note a calla lily that is emerging in the center of the photo below. It was given to me as a potted plant twenty years ago and I planted it just to see what would happen. I always forget about it until it surprises me each year. Hopefully I will get a bloom this year.

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One of the best things about the front porch and how we are so close to the street is the interaction with our neighbors and people who are walking, often with their dogs. There is a certain corner of our yard that I have dubbed the Dogs Community Board because every dog stops to sniff it. This morning I heard again that our yard is a green oasis on their daily walk. That makes me feel good. Consider that when we bought this house, this was just a small patch of grass and the white azaleas, with many electrical lines crossing above.

This is how I repurposed the original bird cage that Bernie and Liz lived in. Squirrels loved to dig in this plant box. Usually I grow lettuce here but this summer I am growing basil.

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coffee pot posts

Wednesday afternoon

I went to the podiatrist on Monday afternoon, and they x-rayed my right foot and found a bone spur right where my achilles tendon attaches to the back of my heel. So it turns out that it was achilles tendinitis after all, but caused by this bone spur. That is not easily resolved, but the doctor gave me a steroid shot in the heel, which surprisingly did not hurt at all, and put me on meloxicam and a prednisolone pack. The goal is to get me walking and hiking again this summer, lose some weight, and be ready to walk in Ireland and Portugal come September. I am happy to take the meds because it should also help me with the tendinitis that has reemerged in my left wrist, just in time for the tapestry retreat and workshop in less than two weeks from now.

The plan in September is to fly to Ireland and stay in Dublin a few days, take a side trip to Lisbon for four days, then fly back to Dublin and take the train to Westport, where we will stay in an AirBNB in a little beach town near Achill Island (just noticed that name – ha!) called Mulranny for a week and chill. It is next to the Great Western Greenway for walking and biking. The current plan is that I will take an art class next door and use her studio for a couple of days to learn and play with encaustic mixed media. We’ll take some side trips, but I think that after that first busy week, we’ll need the downtime.

Except for Dublin, I found really cheap housing for this trip by booking early this year, and choosing only places that let me cancel without financial penalty up to a week before our trip. I have reserved a room in the same B&B where we stayed in Howth, Dublin, which is inexpensive in a lovely area, but I am toying with spending the money to stay in central Dublin instead, where it will be easy and quick to take the DART train and taxis where we would like to go. I was warned by several locals NOT to take the DART on the north side of Dublin, because it apparently goes through some rough areas. In 2012, we took the bus from the airport to Dublin, then got off at the wrong stop. We ended up walking a long way with our luggage. The next time we took a long meandering bus ride to the Sutton DART stop and then the DART from Sutton to Howth, but I am still uncomfortable with using the bus system, simply because everyone seems to be in a hurry and I feel like I am holding things up by asking basic questions that everyone else knows. So, in a nutshell, I feel dumb and anxious on a bus. And it would be so easy to take the DART all the way from Howth to Dublin. Maybe this time I’ll be able to understand it a little better. Or maybe I’ll just take a fecking cab and be done with it.

The AirBNB I found in Lisbon is cute as a button and near the waterfront in an arty district near the museums. Supposedly it is noisy there, but considering that here I hear fireworks, gunshots, and racing motorcycles and cars late at night more and more in the past couple of years, that is not likely to bother either of us much.

This past Sunday, we hung around outside in the Oden Brewing beer garden and listened to open mic night. I was just up there to buy delicious bulgogi cheesesteaks from the Urban Street Grill food truck, when I spotted a friend, Lisa Woods, who I was just beginning to get acquainted with before the pandemic shutdown. She was played washboard with Michael Blind-Dog Gatewood. We sat at a picnic table with them and their friends/partners and enjoyed the music. I really love the old blues and music from the early 20th century. Now that we are friends with so many musicians, I guess that there will be a lot of live music in our future.

I feel like both of us are embracing the future more positively now, and more realistically.  Things can turn on a dime – for example, one of my favorite family members is not doing well right now and this summer could end up being rough. But I feel like I have the strength to handle changes right now, good and bad. Aging happens, along with all the stuff that comes along with it, and you know, it’s ride or die. I guess we are ready to ride.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters, depression/anxiety, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

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^Statue on the corner of Walker and Elam Avenues, Greensboro, NC

It’s still comfortably cool on the front porch, but according to the weather forecast it will be turning to summer temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s soon. Dry, too, with some drought concerns beginning to pop up. When I was at the lake last time, the water was already pretty low.

Both of us have been in better spirits this week. Sandy is going to the Aquatic Center for water exercise classes and swimming laps, and he started the steroids on Thursday. He will be on them for a month and then the doctor switches him to something else.

I’m kind of craving a steroid shot in my wrist again since of course I have overdone it with the yard work and otherwise usually holding a book, Kindle, or phone in my hand until my Dequervain’s tendinitis in my left wrist has flared up and my carpal tunnel has flared up in my right wrist. So I’m typing this with two different kinds of wrist braces on, and will try to hold back on the gardening and weeding this weekend. However, this pain is old news to me and even though it is distressing (I had surgery on the left wrist 8 years ago) I don’t struggle with it as much mentally as I used to.

I bought some more tomato and pepper plants at Deep Roots Market on Sunday afternoon and planted them into the pots: Pink Brandywine tomatoes, hot banana peppers, and jalapenos. Then when we popped into the Bestway for a couple of things I noticed that they had a small pot of sweet basil with lots of seedlings crammed into it for $2.99. They are not particularly happy now that I’ve pulled them apart and planted them, but I didn’t really expect them to be. If I get two healthy ones out of the dozen or so that are in there, I win.

We both had massages Monday night and the therapist, who teaches it at the local community college so knows her stuff, basically said that I needed more work that one hour could handle. Ha.

Late Tuesday afternoon I saw my therapist for the first time since November, 2018, when the election results helped calm me down for a while. I told her that I was seeing her on my best day in at least two years and I couldn’t make the appointment to get help earlier because I was too depressed to do it. Such a vicious cycle, depression and agoraphobia. I really like her and was happy that I started it up again. There was also a nice surprise – my insurance doesn’t even charge a co-pay now. I don’t know how long that lasts, but yay.

Anyway, the point is that Sandy and I are both busy getting our shit together and back to living the best life possible. I have a podiatrist appointment on Monday, too, so new shoes will probably be in my future. We both need to do a bit of clothes shopping.

We are planning our summer – in two weeks we go up the road to Elkin, NC, for my Tapestry Weavers South retreat. I’ll be taking a tapestry design course from Tommye Scanlin on that Monday and Tuesday.

Speaking of Tommye, I set up a Bookshop of my own and right now I am featuring tapestry design books. I get a small commission, and a book wholesaler, Ingram, hosts the sites. It’s a way to support local bookstores and publishers online without going through Amazon. You can buy Tommye’s book “The Nature of Things: Essays by a Tapestry Weaver” or pre-order her upcoming book “Tapestry Design Basics and Beyond” there. The link is on my sidebar and also here: Slow Turn Books. I ordered “The Nature of Things” from my shop and it arrived within a week – what a lovely book! I have ordered from Boomerang Bookshop as well, and the entire Bookshop website is fun to search.  You can order from many independent bookstores there.

I will be adding more book lists as the summer goes on – probably focused on the fiber art/mixed media/collage artists who I’ve taken courses from and love the most. I’m not trying to compete with any bookstores or make any money off this – just promote the books and art that I love and have some fun. I miss my bookstore days, but I don’t miss the poverty wages.

Here’s a wildlife shot: The mighty cougar stalks his prey.

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coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Sunday Sweep

Preface: this is a Sunday Sweep post, in which I am clearing out a lot of anxious and depressed and just plain neurotic thoughts, so you might want to skip this one. I will be doing a couple of more posts with photos about more cheerful subjects.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but everything is fine. Not great, because we are still wondering about the results of Sandy’s muscle biopsy, but he is able to walk and lift his feet much higher, so he is improving quite a bit. His back and neck hurts a lot, so he saw my chiropractor and will see him again. A lot of the problem is that he was so sick for so long and could not walk for more than a very short distance, so he is trying to exercise more each day and strengthen his muscles.

I am quite pissed off at the surgeon and the rheumatologist for not getting back to us with the biopsy results. He has appointments with each of them later this month, but considering that it has now been a full month, I think this is inexcusable. If it was me, I would be raising hell and I have considered doing so anyway, but I try very hard to stay out of my husband’s personal decisions about his body, just as I expect him to do for me.

Anyway, last week I spent most of the week at Lake Waccamaw with my sister. I would have posted from there, but I didn’t bring a USB cord that would connect my phone to my laptop. That will be the next post, and then a garden post.

My spirits are much better, although I still have some deep dips into depression and part of my frustration is that I don’t understand why I get so weepy. Why am I having such a hard time? My life is pretty sweet compared to most people – we live modestly but with very little debt, we are financially stable, my job is pretty awesome, and we live on a wonderful street and our city is a great place to live. I am physically healthier than I have been in some time, except for being a bit fatter and some foot pain…I am not nearly experiencing the kind of back, neck, and hip pain that drove me to get monthly massages and lose sleep at night. Working from home has been a huge improvement for my body. Now that Sandy and I are fully vaccinated, I feel a huge weight lifted and we have been going out more, although I still draw the line at eating or drinking indoors.

Thursday I received a staff excellence award from the College of Arts and Sciences, which will bring me a little extra cash to spend in Ireland. I was honored in a Zoom ceremony, but unfortunately I was so appalled at the photo that was shown of me that I don’t remember much of what was said – basically it was brief and vaguely worded. I am going to ask K to let me read some of the nomination letters to make me feel better about it.

In the past at in person ceremonies the recipients of these awards went up on stage so I figured that they would show me in person. I fretted over this, but I found my makeup, set up a background in Zoom that didn’t show my mess behind me, and I made up my face to look pretty attractive, going back and forth to the mirror repeatedly to touch it up since I was in Zoom meetings all day. Then I didn’t appear at all – it was a PowerPoint presentation, and after a couple of professional head shots of the first two recipients, somebody had pulled a photo from one of our department newsletters five years ago of me in a staff uniform after a department graduation ceremony and cropped my other two co-workers out of the photo. I was so embarrassed, then I felt embarrassed about feeling so bad about something that was a good thing, and then I washed off my makeup and I cried for an hour. I wish that the college had asked me for a photo instead of mining our website for one. I wore a uniform for a couple of literal blue collar jobs in the past and I’ve always resented when I have to wear one in what I consider to be a step up in the world for me. I guess that’s hard to understand for someone who hasn’t lived my life. Generally I am not vain about my looks at all. I rarely wear makeup and wear the same clothes for years, often clothes that I’ve bought at a thrift shop, and I couldn’t care less about fashion. Why this bothered me so badly, I can’t say. I guess that I didn’t feel respected. This is nothing new about how I feel about the administration where I work. I know for certain that my department values and respects me greatly, and they nominated me, so I have come back to that, and I feel better. Really, I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with.

Sandy tried to make me feel better by saying that the photo was not so bad (it wasn’t – it just made me look like a janitor) and then took me out for a couple of Rogue Nut Brown ales on the patio of a local rib place. Friday I worked in the office, then on Saturday, we went to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market and I bought some plants from Weatherhand Farm, pink grapefruit soap from Mimi’s Soaps, and a couple of seasoning packets from Cornerstone Farms. It was really good to get out there. We then stopped at a big yard sale on the way home that benefited Unity in Greensboro, where we got some great deals. We got a pair of hand weights, a cat carrier (one of ours was held together with bungie cords and is now in the garbage), a couple of nice curtain rods, and an almost new Pictionary game all for less than $10. I am looking forward to playing Pictionary on the front porch.

We came home and I worked in the yard a while, then we went to a local hardware/garden supply store to buy potting soil. We walked in and Sandy forgot to pull his mask up so I reminded him. One of the employees walked out without a mask and told me that he did not have to put a mask on, and I sharply said, “Yes he does, he has an auto-immune disease.” I was really not so worried, but it annoyed me that somebody would stick his nose in our business that way. The other employees were masked and polite.

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On the way home, we stopped downtown and went to a small outdoor festival with music and food trucks and some craft vendors at South End Brewing. We got a late lunch from the trucks and found a place to sit in the shade on the patio of South End. Both of us drank a blackberry wit which was pretty good.

I potted up and planted most of the plants I bought at the farmers’ market and I was pooped for the rest of the day. That was a lot of activity in one day for me, and I need more days like this.

Sandy has been pretty snappy with me since I’ve came home on Wednesday and right now he is gone to the used bookstore and I guess to lunch with his brother. I was invited but I declined. My guess is that it is the chronic pain that is loosening his will power to behave as loving and polite as he has been, and I don’t think that he is aware of how hurtful it is, but then again, it could be that I am truly annoying instead of trying to be helpful. I can be a bit of a bossypants. I can also be quite snappy myself. I have definitely been neurotic. Anyway, I wouldn’t mind having a few days alone right now. My emotions have been swinging so widely.

Bernie and Miss Freda have been singing to each other every day and we are going to put Miss Freda in the big cage with Bernie soon. I’m beginning to think that I was wrong about Bernie being male and now I think Bernie might be Bernice or Bernadette, which would actually be good. No mating.

The weather is perfect and I am happy on the front porch right now. Once I finish blogging, I will get back to weaving the tapestry I was working on at the lake. You can see this photo in the upcoming lake blog post. I need to do some photo editing first.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, Reading

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Ooh yuk, the pollen is kickin’ ass in North Carolina. We just had another line of heavy storms come through so I hope that will clean the air some more today. My neighbors downhill and across the street are struggling with flooded basements. We used to have a lot of problems with that too, but sandbagging a couple of places and the swales that Justin dug into the back garden helped a lot with that. I checked on ours briefly yesterday and saw some water on the steps and a little at the bottom but otherwise the cement was dry down there. We keep a box fan and a sump pump going all the time.

I’m not going to type a long post. My hands are not up to it. Too much reading and holding the phone and computer mouse, I guess.

We haven’t gotten the results from Sandy’s muscle biopsy yet, but he is feeling better this week and can lift his feet higher without using his hands to lift his legs. He has been running errands and we walked around the block yesterday. Yesterday he got his second Pfizer vaccination. Last night he was afraid that his shingles was coming back but my bet is that it was a side effect from the vaccine or general achiness from doing too much too soon.

He has lost a lot of weight and I have gained weight and if I don’t start getting some more exercise and eating better it won’t be long before we weigh the same.

My next door neighbor is eager for us to get rid of the jet ski so I cleaned it up and he was going to get a couple of guys and move it out next to our driveway for us. I would be extremely happy to get rid of this mosquito incubator that hasn’t been used since at least 2008, when we last had a car with a trailer hitch, but now is not a good time to push us on this issue. Not only because of our health, but because Sandy’s renter in his condo gave notice, so Sandy is trying to sell it. We haven’t seen the inside yet, but from the one time I was over there, I suspect that it will be a mess. He won’t get a whole lot for this place. The tax value isn’t much but the location isn’t too bad. He has talked to someone with a real estate license who is interested in either buying it for himself to rent out or to sell it for him, and they will look at it this week. It is a seller’s market right now, so I hope that we will get this albatross off our back now that Sandy isn’t able to deal with it physically. I announced my departure from this situation about ten years ago. No more landlady Laurie.

This week I read “Lost Nation” by Jeffrey Lent. Part of the reason I didn’t post yesterday was because I couldn’t put it down. At first, I thought, ugh, this is extremely brutal and gory and I don’t think that my sensitive nature can handle it, but when the writing is this good, I can, and I did. The plot moved quickly, but I am a fan of character development, and boy, did this novel have it. The choices that they made based on their assumptions were at the crux of the plot, and sometimes those assumptions were way off. Sometimes they were more subtle. Trust was a major motivator in the plot too – trust or the lack of it. His descriptive language left me with full vision of the world he created. Books like these are why I would much rather read a book before seeing a movie based on it. I’m not sure who would do a movie based on this plot these days though – it would be a tough one to maneuver through the ugliness to deliver the watcher to the end.

Okay, my hands have had it. My spirits are better though.

bloggy stuff, coffee pot posts, critters, More gardening, Reading, Wildflowers

Good Friday 2021

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^^^My favorite flowers are multiplying well.

I dislike this new WP block editing mess. I have fooled around with pressing different buttons and got the text editor bar to appear, but I’m not sure that I could find it again. It is under Options/Visual Editor/Block and I unclicked all the buttons except Classic. Now I can’t find that again. Good luck, friends, who also relied on the classic editor, that is the best hint that I can give you. I suppose that I will figure it out eventually. I switched the Tapestry Weavers South site over to WordPress because I liked the interface here, grrr. Now, at a time when I am stressed out over having to learn too many new software platforms at work, WordPress throws its hat in the stress ring. Anyway, I guess it was inevitable and I will get used to it.

Mama always planted her garden on Good Friday. I planned to plant a few lettuce and borage seeds today, nothing major, but we had a hard freeze early this morning and will have another tonight, so I’m going to wait. They will go into the containers in the front so that I can protect them from being eaten by critters.

Here are some of my favorite flowers from the front garden: bloodroot, grape hyacinth, and dandelion. There are lots of Lenten roses also, but I am not so fond of them anymore. They reseed like crazy and I think that I’m going to have to dig up a lot of them.

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The groundhog is definitely back and I haven’t seen Robbie Rabbit lately. I would not be surprised if Robbie became dinner for a fox family, since there have been many red fox sightings in the neighborhood. Robbie was never very careful.

Sandy had his muscle biopsy yesterday and he is sleeping right now. I imagine by now the numbing medication that the surgeon put into the incision has worn off and I haven’t spoken to him yet this morning. He has a two inch incision that they closed with waterproof super glue! We are amused that his surgeon’s name is Dr. Martin. I hope that we get some answers from this and that it is not super expensive, since there was anesthesia involved. Sandy was in fine spirits yesterday, very alert on leaving the hospital, and focused on eating, as usual. He is taking some good pain meds, but he doesn’t like to take meds. I mean, if this condition turns out to be toxicity from taking statins for years, who could blame him. However, he is still convinced that it is all due to his shingles. I am anxious to get the results of the biopsy.

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^^^I want this shrub. It was blooming at the hospital.

A big front came through and blew a lot of the cherry blossoms into drifts. Last weekend, with the help of our neighbors, we got the Honda Fit battery charged up and running. I am going to clean the inside soon and see if I can get the musty smell out of the carpet with enzyme shampoo.

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See that brick wall? That is where I plant my lettuce. The old bird cage keeps the birds and squirrels out. When we get the steps rebuilt, I guess that will need to be rebuilt as well. It certainly needs a good cleaning and paint job, but I will wait. You can see how close the houses are in this neighborhood. My neighbor is back from Tanzania and his wife and son will be back from Thailand very soon. They are good neighbors and it is fun to watch his son play.

In the meantime, we received our 2020 tax refund and it included the $600 stimulus for both of us. We are still waiting for the big 2019 tax refund and the latest stimulus checks. I went ahead and booked the rest of my flight and saw that I could get a decent deal on the same flights for Sandy, and then went ahead and bought him tickets too.

I think that I’ll save this chat about the trip to Ireland for a separate post. It’s exciting.

Reading: “Holy Fools” by Joanne Harris. So far I am intrigued by it.