agoraphobia, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

^^^First, birdies.

I have a collection of glass paperweights. At one time it was such a delight to search flea markets, yard sales, and antique/thrift stores for them. After a while I decided to stop collecting them because we have so many knick-knacks in our house that it is a dusting nightmare. I gave a lot of my paperweights away, but I kept the ones that had meaning to me. Here are a few birds from my windowsill in my office. The yellow one came from Florence, Italy. Sitting here at my work desk at home, I see the one that used to be in my mother’s living room for years, and the one that she bought for me when she went to Vienna. I will be giving away more paperweights before long, but those are keepers.

^^^I found this awesome blue jay feather on my walk home.

^^^I played a little with the Diana app on my phone and came up with this.

Bernie is doing okay, I think. He is chirping in there now. Sandy often plays a YouTube video with parakeets singing and squawking. He sings along. He pecks at himself in the mirror.

Today, I am going to concentrate on weaving tapestry, and a little bit of cleaning.

Now, the mental health stuff.

Another rough week. I got out my neti pot and remembered that my sinuses are always a wreck this time of year. It never used to be scary, though. I’m going to look for my humidifier in the linen closet, maybe reorganize and purge that space.

I had a panic attack at work when a well-meaning professor would NOT move away from me inside my little office. She hovered over me reading slowly from some instructions she had written down and kept losing her place and getting irritated if I clicked on something before she said to click it. After asking her to let me handle it several times (she was trying to help with a technical problem, and she is the least technically literate person that you could ever imagine), I finally yelped, “Please, I canNOT breathe in this mask!” and she moved out to the hallway, and at that point I lost the thread of the whole thing, but I know that I shut the door and she came back later and asked through the door if I had resolved it, and I basically told her yes. I hadn’t, but I had a work-around. It was not worth having someone peering over my shoulder in a small space for many minutes.

So, UGH, first panic attack in a long time, and I HATE having panic attacks at work the most. It wasn’t a major one, so I was able to get myself together and work the rest of the day, but DAMN. This does not bode well. I have way too much to do in the next two weeks.

Okay, </mental health stuff…

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters, tapestry

Sunday afternoon coffee pot post

On the last dregs of the pot – I got caught up in Facebook.

Yesterday was a better day. Sandy called an old friend who worked for a bird breeder for years and she advised us that Bernie will be okay as a solo parakeet. He will probably bond with Sandy now that Liz is gone, which would be a very good thing since Sandy enjoys having him around. Bernie has bitten the crap out of him twice when he had to handle him. She offered to clip his wings so that he could have him out of the cage but both of us shudder at that idea. We won’t declaw our cats either. Bernie has a big roomy cage just so he has the ability to flutter about. That was one of our requirements if we were going to have a pet bird – he would be able to do birdie things as much as possible.

This friend had ninety birds at her house at one time. Can you imagine the noise?

Anyway, I spent most of the day out of my bedroom and took a walk around the block. Here’s proof:

^^^A long cropped shot of the back of our house from the other side of the block. You can see why we have a problem with water flowing downhill!

^^^The corner bar.

^^^What lies beneath. This is the red clay that our region is famous for. Less than an hour south is one of the oldest pottery communities in the nation – Seagrove, North Carolina.

^^^Tapestry progress. It’s just coincidence that this part looks like Liz.

^^^Robbie Rabbit is still alive and kicking. What a lucky bunny, because it spends a lot of time in the open and we have foxes and big hawks around here. I hope s/he’s still around when our young neighbor returns from Thailand. He will be delighted to see the baby bunny that he fed is all grown up.

^^^Rabbit yoga.

We made a quick run to Bestway Grocery to get a few items, mainly Smithwick’s ale for me since I ran out a while back, and a Smithwick’s after work is a good incentive to get through the day. I forgot that snow and ice was forecast for last night so the place was fairly crowded, although they enforce their masking rule and people were good about spacing. We double masked. Since we were there I ordered one of our favorite meals as take-out from Fishbones next door: popcorn shrimp burritos. It is such a small space and the patrons were fairly spaced out, not quite enough in my opinion, but all the unmasked people in that small indoor space gave me the willies. Thank God I only had to step inside for a few minutes. I feel sorry for the staff.

I will be so glad when we can sit at the bar in Fishbones and drink a pint of Smithwick’s there. It is one of our favorite places.

We had snow around 9 p.m. By the time I got up this morning and looked out the window, it was cold rain and the snow washed away. No ice that I can see. The temperature is just above freezing. I feel for my friends in the northeast who are about to get blasted again.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Hello world. It is bright and shiny out here. I’ve been spending a lot of time curled up in a fetal position under my t-shirt blankie.

Yesterday I walked to work. Now I am putting on two masks for four layers. The ones that I make fit my face pretty well. The elastic goes around my head or neck, below my ears. I have very sensitive ears and there’s not enough room for my glasses and my mask on top of them.

I have to say that wearing two masks outside in winter is a comfortable thing, unless you huff and puff because of lack of exercise and get them moist. Plus I have to drink coffee from my favorite mug, the one that I bought at the sculpture museum outside of Jackson, Wyoming. Let’s not talk about my hair. It looked good the day before.

Speaking of sculpture, I liked this work of art by Nature.

Liz died yesterday. She is the white parakeet. We rescued her and her companion Bernie from a relative who was in the hospital and not really capable of taking care of any animals. We don’t know how old they are/were. They didn’t even have names – we named them. My brother-in-law said that he thought that the white one was a couple of years old when he bought the blue one to keep her company in a very small cage.

At least we gave her a roomy cage big enough to flutter about in for the last year and a half. I am really sorry for Bernie, though, because parakeets are social critters and we do not plan to get him a companion, since we were going to have to find homes for them when we move to Portugal in two and a half years anyway. Sandy plays a parakeet video for them with lots of chirping and squawking and so he played that for Bernie yesterday afternoon. Bernie was quiet most of the time but later he started chirping and singing and squawking with the video. This morning Sandy said that he was frantically looking for Liz. I hear him in there chirping now.

I am experiencing heavy empathy for Bernie right now. Lonely and confused, in a cage. I don’t like having birds in cages or fish in tanks, and I swore that I would never have a caged bird, but this was a rescue operation. We didn’t even know that he had these birds until he asked us to check on them after he’d been in the hospital for 10 days. I wish that Bernie was not so afraid of us, but I don’t see any possibility of taming him. I have been phobic of birds since I was attacked by a rooster when I was a toddler, but having these two have made me a bit less so.

Having spent most of my time working on my laptop, reading, or sleeping, I don’t really have a lot to say other than the news about Liz, but I decided to show up. Because showing up is half the battle, right?

I’m going to weave tapestry today. And maybe make a very brief grocery run. And take a walk around the block, at least. The weather is supposed to be nasty tomorrow. A nice pot of soup would be a good thing.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety, tapestry, weaving

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Yesterday ended up being a very good day. I felt some sense of normalcy coming back to my brain. Sandy was very caring, and encouraged me to go back to my tapestry loom. My back muscles aren’t in great shape right now, so when I took a break he gave me a massage. I’m going to set a timer today so that I have to get up every 10-15 minutes and turn it off. It is too easy to get wrapped up in the weaving and then say I’ll take a break after this, oh, maybe after this…next thing you know your back is locking up in the sitting forward position.

As far as the tapestry, “Cathedral,” goes, this is one that I’ve been working on for five years, with many breaks that have sometimes gone for months. The breaks started with my neck issues, which are now nearly non-existent, and then depression. The weaving is beautiful but what people don’t see is that the tension is terrible and there will be big problems in getting it blocked to lay flat when I cut it off. I haven’t done this before because I’m usually pretty good with even tension and straight edges, so thinking about it can make me really anxious and obsessive and shut me down. Will all this work be a waste of time? Anyway, the photo is a detail of the area I wove yesterday.

When I went back to it this time, I reminded myself that this is the section that is mostly in shadow, and I don’t need to worry over the details so much. I am using a very painterly approach to this tapestry, blending 2-3 colors of fine wool yarns to create depth of color. Some of the yarns are handspun naturally dyed samples that someone gave me long ago. I’m pretty much through with them. The round metal circles are rare earth magnets that hold the canvas with the cartoon to the back of the tapestry.

Sandy made blueberry pancakes for lunch and we got Wendy’s for dinner through the drive through window after picking up my prescription from the Walgreens drive through window. As much as I’d like to boycott Wendy’s, I guess it is just not happening right now. It’s the easiest choice we have for food when we are depressed and tired. I like their chicken pecan apple salad.

Last week’s installing of the pull out baskets in the lower cabinets went well. I didn’t screw them down to the bottom of the cabinets because once the weight of the cans and storage containers was in them they worked just fine without that. If I eventually use them for lighter weight storage I will have to attach them.

It had the further purpose of me pulling everything out, cleaning, reorganizing, and throwing the cardboard trays I had been attempting to use in the recycling bin. I can see what I need to reorder more easily. I’m putting things that I don’t use in boxes to either go to Goodwill, Reconsidered Goods, or the lake house. As I finish a book, it goes in the box to take to the used book store, the book bus, or I walk it around the block to the Little Free Library. (The problem with that is that I usually find something to replace it!) Little by little, room by room, I’m getting this place cleaner.

Pablocito is sneezing a lot so we are going to tackle the dust in the laundry room where he spends much of his time on a cushion on top of a cabinet, watching the birds and squirrels and napping. It is one of those rooms that you suddenly realize that there is a coating of thick dust on every door and window sill and lintel, and there are a lot of windows in that room. Surely he is not allergic to cat hair but it makes sense that the dryer lint could be the culprit.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

What a week. It was overwhelming in so many ways. I think that is the second time I have watched an inauguration – the other was Obama’s, before I became disenchanted with the Democratic Party. I admit to shedding a few tears of relief and being touched by the poetry and song. I am optimistic about this administration. Not enough to become a partisan again, but I’m a bit more to the center than I was 12 years ago. Some of my super-lefty friends are so negative that they feel toxic. I no longer have any super-righty friends, and I don’t want any.

I don’t remember who he paraphrased, but my mentor in grad school would say that to accomplish your dreams they have to be imagined first. Maybe it was from Thoreau. He encouraged us to do projects in which our minds could fly in any direction and build new worlds. I love that philosophy, and I think it is a great starting point.

However, I am too practical for it in reality. I think that everyone needs to hear what the others are thinking and really listen in order for us to move forward. I’m not saying that the left should get all lovey-dovey with the right. Please don’t get me wrong. I’ve lost all patience with the right. We have seen that the far right has no interest in compromise even with the center right. But what I’ve seen is that the bubbles are real. People on the right believe that Trump won because they are surrounded by people who only think like them. People on the left don’t understand how Trump could have gotten so many votes because they are surrounded by people who see his evil. It takes a very strong personality to reject the culture that you live in.

Phrases like “Defund the police” and “All cops are bastards” are hurting the cause of progressives and if they can’t see why these phrases are misunderstood or twisted then they need to get a firmer grip on reality. All cops are not bastards, or bad. “Defund” the police is completely confusing. If you have to explain your catchphrase, it is not a very effective one. Nobody is going to support this in enough numbers to make any change possible. That is the left’s delusion.

Vegans: the world is not going to stop eating meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. It’s okay that you have, and I applaud you for your willpower and caring, as long as you stop harassing my farmer friends. You can get your point across and make this a better world without being assholes. I know many vegans and vegetarians who do. They are practical enough that they don’t believe that the whole world is going to change to a diet that isn’t even possible in most places, but idealistic enough that they know that their actions make a positive difference.

People on the right need to get over their distrust of mainstream news and listen to people on the left to understand that they are not baby killing anti-Christians. The rhetoric about attacking and murdering Democrats or anyone that opposes the far right is so shocking that, no, both sides are not the same. People on the right are terribly deluded if they still support Trumpism or QAnon, and that appears to be a whole lot of people. Logic is not going to sway them, and certainly phrases like “defund the police” are just going to panic them.

Considering how divided our country is, it is within reason to have leaders who are centrist. We can’t get anything done with the balance tipping far to the right or left every 4-8 years. I may not agree with all their policies, but I am mature enough to understand that doesn’t make the leaders all bad.

Some appointees so far have been great. Some, such as Vilsack for Department of Ag, terrible.

Actually, I don’t have much hope that we will move forward at all.

My thinking is still well within the philosophy of the Dark Mountain Project – that we have passed the tipping point on climate change and now is the time to make the best of what we have wrought. The world will survive, but as a place without human civilization and it will support a different variety of species, many of them genetically engineered.

Okay, enough political musings.

I only watched the inauguration from around 11:30-12:30 because it was a super busy workweek and I was watching it online through the Washington Post as I worked. Later I caught a few more highlights that I missed. It is nearly impossible for me to watch video for more than 20-30 minutes at a time anyway. I rarely watch videos. It used not to be this way. I can’t help but think that it is part of my mental health issues.

My nerves were cranked up, as a lot of people’s were. I shut down for a couple of hours twice this week. It’s good that I am at home where I can do that. With my panic disorder, good things can overwhelm me as much as bad things. Actually, little things can set me off worse than big things. They pile up.

Yesterday our department had a Zoom happy hour for the newest two assistant professors and that was fun. I miss getting together with my co-workers and friends, although I probably have adjusted better than most people because of my need for quiet solitude. I enjoy Zoom, but I don’t have to be on it all day teaching or taking classes or having work meetings. This past week I had four work Zoom meetings. I can deal with that easily.

I’m reading “The Given Day” by Dennis Lehane. It was high on my unread book stack, and I honestly didn’t think about the novel taking place during the flu pandemic of 1918. But so far, it is very good. He has a lot to work with in that time period. I assume that the Tulsa Massacre is going to be covered as well.