coffee pot posts

Waiting for Diego

“But, Ma, I’m right here.”

This winter storm that is on the way has been named Diego.

We have firewood brought in for the woodstove and are stocked with food, etc. We found the game that I’ve been looking for at thrift shops, Sequence, for $5.95 so if we lose power we will be entertained. Plus we only have about a thousand books in this house. Not kidding. It may be well over 1,000. We don’t have the equipment to deal with these storms efficiently in the South, but we have always been pretty lucky living here between UNCG and downtown. And my sewing machine has been cleaned and serviced.

I cut my therapist loose for the holidays and maybe for much longer after that. My depression has lifted, yay! In fact, I was in such a good mood on Thursday that she asked me if I was manic. I’m not. She just has never seen me in a great mood. Coming out of the hole will definitely do that to me. You should have seen me after I went on meds back in 2001. I scared some of my friends because I was so happy to feel what “normal” is like for the first time. I was turned on at the Triangle Book Arts party on Sunday night and you would never have guessed that I am an introvert. A little less energized at the two parties last night, but that’s because I need a recharge by Friday. However, Sandy and I did get on the dance floor a few times at his work party.

I hope that this storm is not as bad as predicted because I have been put on stand-by to pet sit for my neighbor if their petsitter can’t get to their house. These elderly dogs pee in the house anyway so I doubt that I’ll be able to get them to pee and poop outside in an ice storm. It will be a mess, for sure. I hope to be all holed up in my house and cozy, watching the storm from the window. It would be nice if I don’t have to work on Monday and Tuesday. Sandy is already planning to work from home on Monday.

I’ll do some cooking today and maybe sew and weave this weekend? Recharge, for certain.

Updates later.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety

Saturday Morning Coffee Pot Post

The title of this blog post was almost “The Vagina Couch” but I will leave that to your imagination, since I just want to make a journal entry and get crackin’ on some studio work/play. Also have to go stand in line at the post office to send a small package to Australia if I can find a post office that still opens on Saturday. Ew. Coffee first. You might not be interested at all in this post, so here’s a heads up that you could make your exit now. “The Vagina Couch” may appear another day.

So, the Thanksgiving holiday went okay. I did not have a mental breakdown after seeing the flooding damage to the two houses, and since most of the mountains of debris had been removed from Canal Cove Road it was not the shock that it could have been. Lisa’s house is still livable with some repair to reduce or eliminate the mold, and it is not the worst kind of mold so you can go in there for short periods of time. Even though the water was above her electrical outlets, her electricity works and the appliances and HVAC, although their lives are probably shortened, work. This proved to be fortunate when the water heater at her rental house burst on Thanksgiving night and since there was no cut-off valve the water had to be turned off. We ate leftovers on paper plates and took showers and washed dishes at the Canal Cove house. The next-door neighbor to the rental house had died and the house still had its water on, so we used the hose next-door to fill the toilets.

Good practice for prepping, I’d say. It also meant that the family dinner with my brother and sister-in-law was canceled, which I did not mind because I was exhausted from trying to sleep with my husband in a double bed for two nights. My grand-nephew decided to camp with his friend in the garage at the Canal Cove house, so I slept in his bed on the last night.

Anyway, one of my first actions when I came back was to buy three collapsible BPA-free 5.3 gallon water containers for our emergency supplies here. If you do nothing else in the area of disaster planning, you need to put aside plenty of water for your drinking, cooking, and cleaning. I’ve seen different amounts recommended, but 15 gallons per person per week is the one that I think is good. I’ve been storing water for cleaning and toilet flushing in sterilized glass apple juice jugs for a while, so these will be solely for drinking and cooking. Dehydrated food doesn’t go far if you don’t have clean water.

As the fires and earthquakes out west have proven, you never know when your whole life might be disrupted in minutes. Here, the main concern would be a tornado. One touched down in April three miles from our house and did a lot of damage in town. If it had been bigger or closer, that could have been a serious situation for us. You need to think about not only your property getting damaged, but also the infrastructure in your area going down.

So, as we buy emergency stores I am putting some aside for a Reverse Advent box that I am filling to donate to a food pantry for people in need. I have the box outside my office at work. Most people will be leaving for the winter break by the end of next week, but it is a gentle invitation to participate. I’m working on looking outward this Christmas season.

I almost used the word “trying” but I got a comment on Facebook saying to “do, not try” for something I plan to do today. I wanted to reach out to this guy and strangle him but he had a point, albeit a very rude one. How does he know what is going on with me? I didn’t reply, although it took a lot of “trying” to not do so.

Mama’s sewing machine is giving me fits, so I either need to clean and service it myself or take it to the repair place in town. I have detailed instructions in the manual, and I never heard my mother mention taking it out for service, so I assume she did it herself since she used it a LOT. This is a 1958 metal workhorse, and it is set in a cabinet so it is not so easy to move around. I have the supplies to clean and lube it so I got no excuse except laziness and anxiety. I dread the stupidest things.

Tomorrow I get my monthly massage. I decided to forego the monthly chiropractic adjustments. The last time I went I was charged a co-pay of 50 bucks for about 2-3 minutes of work. Anything else was extra. I have come out of my depression enough to realize that the reason I felt uncomfortable with this very friendly practice was because I felt more like a customer than a patient. My chiropractor of twenty years did not make me feel that way. He moved his practice about a hour and a half away. When I need it again, I’ll either make the trip or go to another chiropractor in town that I tried and liked. He cracked my neck in a way I didn’t like and doesn’t take insurance, but I can tell him NOT to crack my neck, and his fee is reasonable, especially since he gives you a vigorous massage to loosen up your muscles first. I need that, and I’m not paying extra for it.

However, I am feeling so much better physically and mentally. Such a relief to be over this extended period of major depression! Still tired at night, but not fatigued and mentally decimated. Having the election, Thanksgiving, and the selection of a department head has taken a lot of weight off my mind. Not my body, though, ugh. Getting back to my top weight after too much laying around and eating whatever is easiest. At least I didn’t revert to heavy drinking. I’m “trying” to be kinder. For example, I just listened to the man and his two sons at my front door who shared a brief Bible passage about dealing with grief.

He asked to come back next week, but I politely wished them a Merry Christmas and told them that was not necessary. Learned my lesson with the Mormons a while back.

After the massage, I go to the Triangle Book Arts holiday party. I don’t have much to show other than my workshop book from Sharon’s class, but they are a great group of people and worth the drive to Durham to celebrate the holidays with. I have a couple of big ideas for art books. The trick is putting the ideas in action.

I was between projects this week so I did a lot of research and planning and booked hotel rooms for our New Mexico trip in May. It’s ON, as my cousin said! She and her husband will be joining us and we are thrilled. I’ll get in a visit with my aunt also, which I wanted to do before too long. We didn’t visit in September like we usually do. We will visit Chaco Culture National Park on the way down from Colorado, but most of our time will be based in Santa Fe and we will explore outwards from there.

Okay, gotta go. Too much going on this weekend, and I want to get some studio time in while I still have spoons.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, fiber art, Permaculture, Slow cloth

Sunday midday coffee pot post

Sandy noticed this first – look what the Virginia creeper vine snagged from my rock collection at the front steps. Normally I would tear this vine down after it loses its pretty red leaves but I’m going to see how long it holds on to its booty. Love those little feet. I’ve made random weave baskets from Virginia creeper vine before.

This week has been fraught with emotions, since one of our students became so sick with anxiety that she had to drop out. Not only was it very sad, but I empathized so much. How many times did I think that this might be the time I would not be able to push through and get back to functional life? But I have, and I am grateful for it. When I was this student’s age, I self-medicated with lots of alcohol. That was not a good solution and not one that I choose these days. I know that I could not have gotten through graduate school at that age, despite having the smarts for it. However, I am in a good mood this weekend, so I hope that it is a permanent lift.

The t-shirt quilt hit a snag, quite literally. I think that I will get my Brother machine back out and see if it winds a Singer bobbin. My goal is to get all these panels put together somehow by the end of the day, even if it means with pins and hand basting. I want my floor loom and worktable free for other projects.

There are too many distractions here and I need to focus. I need a cook and a maid! We are getting caught up on house cleaning little by little. Sandy subscribed to one of those meal prep services that come by mail. If it will teach him to cook and he takes over some of that it might be worth it. We’ll see. I’m picky about the sources of my food but this is his expense and something he decided to do on his own, and I grew weary of cooking a long time ago.

Yesterday was a beautiful day after so much rain and I got into the garden and worked for a couple of hours, taking lots of breaks so that I don’t overdo it and undo my physical healing after many days of inactivity. I’ve gained several more pounds from my retreat to bed every night and eating too many sweets and peanut butter.

I pulled up all the tomato, squash, weeds, and annuals from the “permaculture” bed as I think of it. The guy who designed it intended for it to be heart-shaped. I think it looks vaguely like a heart, but more like a womb, which seems fitting. I didn’t plant it with permaculture principles in mind, though, and this year will be different. I’m going to keep those groundhogs in mind, and plant the womb with perennials and biennials and self seeding plants. I already have asparagus, elephant garlic, foxgloves and one artichoke there, along with a few plants that may or may not make it through the winter such as stevia. I have plants in the hugelkultur bed in the front such as hollyhock, evening primrose, coreopsis, and mints that I will move to the womb. And I will leave the the dandelions alone from here on out. They are important plants in the garden, pulling up nutrients from deep under the surface, breaking up the soil, edible, and food for the pollinators when not a lot of other flowers are available. (Although we have an enormous quantity of violets available as well.)

As I move these perennials out, a few will remain in my reconstructed hugelkultur bed. I am building it up and outwards where the potted plants were this year into a tiered bed for my culinary herbs, mostly. I’ll leave one hollyhock and a few taller flowers at the back. I have a pile of bricks that came from the chimney that fell down at the pre-Civil War homeplace at the family farm, and I decided to use them to make the terraces. I love objects with a story.

Everything will require more fertilizer this year. The few vegetable plants that survived the groundhogs suffered from blossom end rot. I’m going to get that greenhouse set up again soon. I’ve sent an email to ask to rent a plot at UNCG community garden again for my beans and okra. Hopefully they don’t have a groundhog problem there yet.

Thanksgiving is coming up and as usual we will celebrate Buy Nothing Day on Black Friday. We will drive to Lake Waccamaw and get together with my sister at her rental house if all goes well. It will be sad to drive along Canal Cove Road but we will check out the scene there. Lisa is still mulling over whether to replace the walls in her house and sell it or sell it as is. I heard that the house where we stay and love is irreparably damaged and will be torn down. My brother and his wife will probably join us for a meal on Saturday. I’m going to make my usual asparagus-mushroom-almond casserole.

Man, my Internet connection at home has been SO SLOW lately. I don’t know why, so I’ll just blame it on the oligarchy. Maybe when my electrical work gets done it will improve. They are going to replace everything from the pole to the house and some of the wiring in the attic in mid-December in preparation for our twelve solar panels. Right now it is driving me crazy as I try to upload photos. I received notice that Flickr is going to start charging me fifty bucks a year for photo storage, and I feel rather helpless to do anything but pay it since I have over 10k photos and videos on it. It would take an enormous amount of work to quit Flickr without most of my photos on the blog disappearing. Oh well. At some point I may have to stop paying the fee to not have ads on the blog to make up for it.

Time to sew.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, fiber art, political activism, Quilting, Reading, Slow cloth, Upcycling

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Election Day has come and gone with results slightly better than I expected, so my PTSD from 2016 is somewhat abated. I didn’t have high expectations for North Carolina because we are so atrociously gerrymandered it is ridiculous. They even admit it. And they get away with it even though it keeps getting struck down. They just submit another that is slightly less egregious and then howl that it is too close to primary or election day to fix it.

I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with eleven Republicans and two Democrats.” ~ North Carolina GOP state representative David Lewis, News and Observer, June 25, 2018

I try not to get too political here on the blog because I use my personal Facebook page for that. But as a left wing independent I am tired of having no representation in the U.S. Congress. I live in a very blue county that has been divided into pieces and combined with very red counties, so that my “representative” is an extreme right wing gun store owner. And I’m tired of the two parties playing tit-for-tat.

Sandy and I went to the rally to “protect Mueller” in downtown Greensboro on Thursday evening, but by the time we could get there it was winding down. I snagged a “Country Over Party” sign and put it in the front window of the house.

Okay, moving on. How about this sewing machine? It belonged to my mother and she sewed many of our clothes on it. She was an accomplished seamstress and also made some quilted patchwork, although her main artistic pursuit was watercolor.

It also bears the last lingering mark of my first large artistic installation. At the age of three, I rose before everyone else, gleefully grabbed a black felt tip marker from the table where my mother was working on a project, and drew a line around the entire inside of our house. The line went over walls, furniture, and curtains. I started early, folks.

Anyway, I finally got frustrated enough with the Brother’s tension problems that I moved around some stuff and released Old Faithful into the world again. It doesn’t like the quilted panels, and the stitch lever won’t go lower than 9, but the tension is so much better and it is all mechanical so I could actually get it fixed more easily and manually stitch with it if necessary. I have the manual and all the parts and brushes and oil so I need to get that out and study it. I was pleased that I could figure out how to thread it and wind a bobbin after all these years. It does just fine with sewing two normal pieces of fabric together, and that’s all I need.

With the quilted panels, at this point I’m just trying to get the layers basted together on the machine. This means that the quilting looks like a terrible mess, but honestly, this is a t-shirt quilt. I’m planning to cuddle up in it, not hang it in a show. There is a lot of freedom in that. And I can just about guarantee that I won’t be making another one.

Sewing is good therapy for me, and I wish I could do more hand sewing, but I’ve pretty much accepted that isn’t an option for very long. My hand goes numb after about five minutes. I’ll stitch on this quilt once it is together and take my time with it.

I’m still seeing an actual therapist, and it seems to be helping. She is very high on anti-inflammation, and so I have started taking fish oil again. Can’t hurt, I certainly have plenty of inflammation. Also working on getting my mind on a more positive outlook. I still just want to play games and sleep and read at the end of the day, and I sleep a lot on the weekend. She calls it hypersomnia. It is a hell of a lot better than insomnia, but I’d like to find a balance. I run out of spoons early in the day.

Positive developments: working on the t-shirt quilt and I got my flu shot. I went to the dentist and my teeth are fine. Now I need to go to the doctor to get my blood panel and see if there is something else responsible for my constant fatigue. I drove to Raleigh two weeks ago and got together with members of Triangle Book Arts. I haven’t managed to get to Gate City Yarns for their stitch and bitch night because Friday nights, oof. That’s a tough one for me even though it is close by. I had brunch with some friends at Lucky 32 last Sunday and that was good. I often feel quite lonely for friends, especially now that the Fabulous Zha K has fled North Carolina, and good for her, I have to say. I plan to do so at age 62, not even five years away. We might even end up in the same state again. However, much of my loneliness is chosen. I feel a strong urge to be alone most of the time. People exhaust me, even people I love.

I have a stack of books that was turning out to be quite depressing. So Little Bee went back into the stack and I’m reading The Risk Pool by Richard Russo. I just finished The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman, Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. I miss my Poldark saga!

The electrician did a site visit and we have rolled the electrical work needed into the solar panel financing. Hopefully by this time next year we will get most of, if not all of, our electricity from the sun and just pay Duke Energy the meter fee. It’s kind of crazy since I am now fixated on leaving North Carolina, but it is a good investment for the house and my soul.

Now planning a trip to northern New Mexico in May with the Sandman, where we could possibly be joined by my cousin and her husband. We’ll scope it out to see if that might be a good place for retirement for us. I love planning trips!

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, critters, fiber art, Quilting, Reading

Say goodbye to vineland

2018-10-21_11-20-36

I got a lot accomplished on the t-shirt quilt yesterday despite not being able to get the tension adjusted just right on my sewing machine. I complain about this machine, but the truth is it has done a lot of very heavy duty work that it was not built to do, so I should probably show it some gratitude considering all the denim it sewed a couple of years ago. One thing is for sure – I am not going to attempt a project this large again unless I have the workspace and machine for it. Getting down and crawling around on the floor is not a great activity for my joints.

However, all the pieces are joined and I have one panel that I need to put the batting between, another that needs quilting (I’m just doing vertical lines) and the bindings and strips between the panels put in place. At this pace, Diego will be throwing up on this quilt on the bed by Christmas.

Diego was sick last night and kept me up for most of it, because he most wants to cuddle when he feels bad. He has a cranky stomach and I’ve switched them to grain-free food, which helped a lot. He and Pablocito both have a demented taste for plastic and who knows what leaf blown onto the porch he may have decided to munch on. Pablocito likes to eat spider webs but he is never sick. Diego was playing with Pablocito last night before he started puking and he seems better this morning so I don’t think I’ll need to take him to the vet. The two of them playing nicely is unusual too. Why do cats always get sick on weekends?

I am pretty sure that this is coincidence, but Diego smelled SO BAD last night. Like death, rot, shit, swamp, and skunk rolled together. Seriously the worst funk ever. This is not the first time he has smelled this way and when I mentioned it to the vet the last time I took him in she agreed that it was probably him expressing his anal glands. I had to take Theo to the vet twice a year for them to do his. To my huge surprise, this morning he does not smell at all. The pillowcase and pillow where he slept smells a little so I know it was not my imagination.

So I took the pillows off the bed except for mine and the one Pablocito was sleeping on last night. I woke up with Diego on Pablocito’s pillow and Pablocito sleeping on my pillow above my head. This drove me crazy when Theo did it but Pablocito is so still and quiet that it was pleasant to find him there. He likes to be close but he is definitely not a lap cat. In this sense he is more like Guido than any other cat that I’ve had, even though Diego looks like Guido. Right now he is winding around my legs meowing, marking every corner with the side of his head, and occasionally having to be yelled at for scratching on the t-shirt quilt. I have the panels draped over the loom and he has claimed that space for one of his many hidey-holes.

Reading “The Probable Future” by Alice Hoffman right now. I love Alice Hoffman, but I space her books out enough that I haven’t kept up with her writing, unlike some other authors I follow. This one has given me some bad dreams, but that seems to be the case with almost anything I read or watch these days.

I’ve asked Sandy not to watch TV or movies with a lot of screaming, explosions, and gunfire after I’ve gone to bed. He loves his horror, blood and gore. He was into zombies before zombies were a big fad.

Today I want to watch the season finale of “Better Call Saul,” which is my current favorite show. We are watching “3rd Rock From the Sun” again from the beginning – it is such a hoot. I’m a big fan of slapstick silly, which you may have guessed from the name of this blog.

It is very windy and chilly outside so I guess today is really the first day of autumn. We were planning to clean up the Back Forty this weekend but I doubt that will happen now. The cheese pumpkin and tromboncino squash vines nearly covered the whole back yard! Can you imagine what it might have been like if they had been fertilized? Well, my plan for this winter is to get the garden properly fertilized with compost and organic fertilizer for the spring. So all this mess, except for the perennial herbs and flowers, will come out soon. There will be many foxgloves and I will move the rest of the mint back here; anything that I’ve noticed that the groundhogs don’t like to eat. I hope that I will get enough sun in the afternoon to plant another bed in the area where the maple tree had cast shade.

The cheese pumpkin vine monster has almost taken over the Back Forty at the end of the season.

Say goodbye to vineland.