coffee pot posts, collage, Mixed media art, Reading

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Boy, I feel like I really socialized a lot this week, although I guess this is what “normal” used to be. So yesterday was a rest day for me. Sandy woke me at 10:30, so I got over ten hours of sleep. (I really need this on Saturday mornings.) Then we went to the farmers’ market, where I bought cheese and soap, and Sandy took me to lunch at M’Coul’s for the first time since B.P. We ate upstairs at the end of the bar and it felt pretty safe because there was no one near us. It’s hard for me to understand deep down what is danger and what is not. I had a breakfast boxty and smoked gouda grits – so good.

Thursday evening we went to College Hill and sat in a booth and talked some with the people in there, who we are getting to know a little better. Friday after work the history department and grad students had a get-together at Oden Brewing, and we spent half that time outside and then moved inside to a table and enjoyed talking with a group of guys who I either currently admin for or have admin-ed for in the past, which shows that I do have a great relationship with my co-workers. I’ve missed socializing with the department, but afterward I was thinking – WTF was I doing inside with that unmasked crowd drinking? At least at College Hill we were separated by at least six feet.

I did not get any artwork done yesterday, but here’s a photo of the progress from last Sunday. I added the found objects and a few more touches. I need to get more precise with my stenciling technique. I’m not pleased with the Novacan patina so I’m going to collage over these and probably give the Novacan away. However, the technique of doing photo transfers on top of gesso was pretty nifty.

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If my foot can stand it I’m going to weave a little on my tapestry. I tried to go to Jerry’s Artarama to get my lake tapestry framed, but they were closed for a power issue. Normally I would use a local framer but I am feeling all the money I’ve spent ahead of time for our trips and I have a big coupon that expires today, so I might try to go out there again today. The yard guy is supposed to come around noon to help me get the asparagus planted and dig compost into the bed. There is a “vintage” flea market at the farmers’ market today also, so this afternoon will be a full one.

Speaking of flea markets…I signed up for an online class with Alex Castro Ferriera, a mixed media book artist who lives in Lisbon whose work I’ve admired for some time. Ironically, the online class takes place when I will be in Portugal, but we have access to the content after the class. So I emailed Alex and told her. She offered to meet me for coffee and go to the Feira da Ladra flea market in Lisbon while I am there. What fun is THAT going to be!!! I chose an AirBNB specifically because it was near this market, which takes place in the street on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

I gotta tell you, I have written SO MANY blog posts in my head this week, but I could never make myself actually write them on the computer. Not diary entries, but thoughts about life and the world today.

This week I have been slogging through Baltasar and Blimunda, which I can see that it is very good writing and most likely deserved the Nobel Prize in Literature, but the long run-on paragraphs with no quotes or attribution of who is saying what makes for difficult reading. I will finish it, but I can definitely tell the cognitive damage this pandemic has done to my brain. I have also started the fourth novel by Louise Penny, A Rule Against Murder, for something lighter.

We are, of course, enjoying the current season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which is right up there on the list of my favorite TV shows ever. I don’t binge shows that I love because I want to stretch out the joy as long as possible. I also enjoyed Being the Ricardos. If you couldn’t tell by the name of my blog, I have always had a fascination for comedy history, even going back to Greek times, but vaudeville, farce, and physical comedy have always intrigued me. I’ve learned more about the routine Lucy did since I wrote “Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk.”

 

coffee pot posts, critters, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Diego is sitting on the arm of my chair, wondering what happened to the mouse they chased last night. I disposed of the little body a few minutes ago. I grew up with mice in the house so I’ve never had disgust for them. While I am pleased that the cats are doing SOMEthing to earn their keep, I always feel sorry for the mice. If I can get to them in time I will rescue them and put them outside, but usually the shock kills them anyway. So I told the little mousie that I was sorry, and that I knew that she was just trying to feed herself and her family, and then out she went to the garbage.

After a helluva good run of mental health and a fantastic weekend last week, I feel like I walked into a wall last night, a brick wall that bonked me in the head and said, “Why aren’t you paying attention? Danger, danger!” I’m training my inner self to counter with the serenity prayer, etc., but my spidey senses feel panic on the street. Fear of the panic is as bad as the source of the fear. It comes back to the choice of staying informed and staying somewhat sane. I won’t go into Sandy’s personal stuff, but it hasn’t been good either.

We had a good week, however. I have been trying to get used to the new reality of many people around me going maskless. On St. Pat’s Day we took our great new folding rocking chairs over to Oden Brewing and enjoyed a couple of stouts and Mediterranean food from a food truck and a Celtic band named Banna outside in the beer garden. It was a lovely evening, and St. Patrick even paid a visit. I bought a t-shirt and a CD from the band. The world almost felt “normal” again.

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So last night and this morning I am doing laundry and trying to pump myself up to do some cooking this weekend. It’s hard to describe just how much I do not want to cook this weekend, or nearly any time. I would rather go hungry than cook most of the time. I take my lunch to work, and it is usually a frozen dinner or crackers and cheese or chips and guac, and fruit and granola and yogurt. Not terrible nutrition but I could do a lot better.

What I want to do is weave and finish up my metal collage cards for the show and tell/critique part of my online class tomorrow. But it is also supposed to go up to 79 F (26 C) today, even though it is cloudy and cool right now. Since it has been raining this week it would be a good time to weed and get the garden bed ready for my asparagus roots that should be arriving today. I texted my yard guy and he says that he can come next week to help me, but I can’t count on that.

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I have a stack of these musty raggedy nineteenth century magazines which I think came from the attic of my grandfather Parham’s house. They are in my mother’s hope chest where I keep family photos and other mementos. I had thought about including parts of them in the collage packs that I will sell if I ever get up the mental energy to get that project going. Right now I’m going to start using some in my collage. This one has aired out enough that it is okay for my allergies to work with, and I plan to seal it with matte medium once I use it. This issue is August 1876. There are a lot of Victorian fashion plates, advice for wives and mothers, and serial stories in these magazines, and of course they are all in black and white.

I can barely think about Portugal right now, but our trip is less than two months away. In a couple of weeks I will register for Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove, Oregon in July. Last night all this seemed impossible. I have to change my inner narrative.

coffee pot posts

Saturday afternoon

A little brain cobweb cleaning. I have had a nice relaxing morning at home and got a bit of house cleaning done. I’ve decided to start combing the felines with a flea comb everyday to get rid of some of that undercoat before the spring shedding spreads more of it around the house, and it will give me a heads up if I need to dose them with Revolution. Last year I did not have to deal with fleas at all, and I don’t like to dose them if it is not needed, no matter what the vet says. It was almost as if the universe said you have enough to deal with – I’m not adding fleas to it this year. Diego has twice the hair that Pablocito does. Fortunately he loves to be combed. Pablocito, not so much.

This week was intense for everybody in the world, especially the northern hemisphere, and I’m just mentioning the war in Ukraine for a reference point when I re-read this in the future. I think that it is worth mentioning as well that all refugees from war should be welcomed and helped, not just the ones from European countries. However, I’m not saying that to diminish the plight of the Ukrainians – it is truly horrible what is happening and I wish that the US and NATO would do more to help them.

We had a health scare this week – Sandy has heart problems again, although I guess that we shouldn’t be surprised since the heart is a muscle and he has polymyositis. He went to the cardiologist appointment by himself, and I am definitely going with him to the next one. He came home with a misinterpretation of his tests that sounded much more dire and he either neglected to ask some questions that needed to be addressed or he forgot the answers. Anyway, he was told to go on a low sodium diet and stop eating fast food and processed food. We’ll need to go grocery shopping with this in mind today, because he needs to learn to read labels, and he doesn’t like to cook. I don’t like to cook any more either, so this is not making either of us happy. I’m not home for lunch any more and he has to deal with this.

What really threw us is that his other lab work earlier this week came back great. His A1C is back to normal range, his cholesterol is much better, and his blood pressure is normal. But his heart is not pumping as it should.

I went with him to the pharmacy to pick up his new medication for this condition. He had been warned that it would be expensive and that his insurance might not cover this new one, but he had a coupon for the first month free. The pharmacy tech told him that his insurance (Medicare!) does not cover it. He asked how much it is without insurance and we were told a jaw-dropping $795 per month.

Another reason to move to Portugal. My god. Why are people so afraid of socialized medicine? When we are there I think that I will pop into a pharmacy and ask prices for some of our meds.

Anyway, his insurance company called and said that they would cover it yesterday but didn’t say how much the co-pay is. And he didn’t ask how long he might have to be on this medication, but my guess is that it won’t be forever if he makes some lifestyle changes.

I was going to do an alcohol-free weekend, which is normally not so hard for me, but I really want that one drink when I come home from work. I had a tough anxiety afternoon yesterday for no particular reason – I was thinking a lot about the past – and crying some – and just everything, all the things seemed to be piling up. As I neared home I could smell that Sandy was burning stuff in the fire pit, so I decided to walk down to the neighborhood store and buy a six-pack and have a beer back there. Lo and behold they had Smithwick’s down there – I was surprised! On the way back as I walked by the local bar I noticed two friends at the end of the empty bar near the door and stopped in. I have not been in this bar for years but it used to be our regular haunt. One of the friends is technically my pastor, although I don’t go to church anymore. It was nice to have a porter and talk with him. What a difference from the ministers I grew up with!

So there was a little bit of fire pit, and a little bit of front porch sitting, and a little bit of cooking, and we watched an episode of “Mom” that made me cry – dang – two sitcom episodes with funerals two days in a row!  I got a good laugh watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” on Thursday though because of Mrs. Weissman’s matchmaking client who, upon telling her that she had a loom, was told about “after marriage revelations” and then later that they would “destroy the loom.” I never knew! Luckily Sandy married me anyway.

I accomplished some of my goals this week – made GP and podiatrist appointments and cleaned up the studio some, found places to put the stuff I brought home from the Art Center print studio. I wove. I went to therapy. I’m doing better. It is helping.

I like to make pronouncements about my plans for the weekend on Saturday and the first day is half gone. The weather is lovely so I plan to do some yard work and not hurt myself doing it. I bought some lettuce seed and will plant some and later I will have some asparagus roots to plant in the “womb” garden in the back, so I’ll get it ready this week. This coming week is spring break so there won’t be many people or cars around. Maybe I should call the yard guy to see if he will come over since there will be street parking. I need to get my lake tapestry framed and ready to hang in the TWS show in June and not wait until the last minute since I won’t be around for most of May.

A friend posted about a Turner exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Art that will be up when we are there so we might meet him there on the free morning we have in Boston before we fly to Lisbon that night. That would be really nice. He and I went to high school together but only got to know each other through Facebook. I’ll just have to get the timing right in case we have to get tested while we are at the airport. Everything is changing so rapidly.

Wow, I wrote a lot, and I didn’t think that I had much to say!

coffee pot posts

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Not a lot happened yesterday because I really got into reading My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. I did weave a lot on Cathedral, but my good natural light bulb burned out and the photos are washed out. I’ll have to buy another bulb because it’s a kind that I don’t have extra in reserve. It’s harder to weave too because the quality of your light really makes a difference and I’m interpreting color as I weave, so finally I gave up and picked up a book.

20220227_10341920220227_103351I did get my work table cleaned off somewhat. At least you can see the table now. The painted wood panel on top of the cutting mats is meant to be a base that I’ll cover with found objects from Lake Waccamaw, but I can’t make up my mind how to proceed. Maybe I’ll make another and do two. At least I can do some prep work for Leighanna’s Zoom class that begins in a couple of weeks.

Could be that it will be a good sewing day. It is cloudy and rainy outside. I know that Sandy will push me to go do some errands with him – and he should, because I need to give input into some of the shopping – but I so much do not want to leave the house or even go outside. I started doing some little stitch meditations while listening to Zoom meetings this week. I’m not crazy about them, but not everything has to be good. It’s best to do anything rather than nothing.

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I watched the movie CBGB this week – it had not been on my radar despite Alan Rickman starring in it. What a strange role for him – proves that he really could do anything. I had no idea what CBGB was, even though the Talking Heads and a lot of other bands I loved got their starts there. Then that sent me down a Talking Heads rabbit hole. Turned out the lyric I interpreted as heebie-jeebies was CBGB: “Life During Wartime.” Appropriate for this week.

Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons,
Packed up and ready to go
Heard of some grave sites, out by the highway,
A place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance,
I’m getting used to it now
Lived in a brownstone, lived in a ghetto,
I’ve lived all over this town
This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
This ain’t no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey,
I ain’t got time for that now
Transmit the message, to the receiver,
Hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, a couple of visas,
You don’t even know my real name
High on a hillside, the trucks are loading,
Everything’s ready to roll
I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nighttime,
I might not ever get home
This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
This ain’t no fooling around
This ain’t no Mudd Club, or C. B. G. B.,
I ain’t got time for that now
Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh, P. A.?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
Somebody see you up there
I got some groceries, some peanut butter,
To last a couple of days
But I ain’t got no speakers, ain’t got no headphones,
Ain’t got no records to play
Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
Gonna be different this time
Can’t write a letter, can’t send no postcard,
I ain’t got time for that now
Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock,
We blended in with the crowd
We got computers, we’re tapping phone lines,
I know that that ain’t allowed
We dress like students, we dress like housewives,
Or in a suit and a tie
I changed my hairstyle, so many times now,
I don’t know what I look like!
You make me shiver, I feel so tender,
We make a pretty good team
Don’t get exhausted, I’ll do some driving,
You ought to get you some sleep
Burned all my notebooks, what good are notebooks?
They won’t help me survive
My chest is aching, burns like a furnace,
The burning keeps me alive

So after listening to the Talking Heads most of the week and watching the Stop Making Sense concert footage and their fantastic video work, I woke up this morning thinking that the lyrics of some Talking Heads songs would be a great jumping off point for some abstract artwork – I’m thinking collage like I did with “Stairway to Heaven” and “Hotel California,” but those came out of some printouts of music I found in the recycling bin at work. These would be more intentional. I especially like the idea of working with different lines from “And She Was.”

Hey!
And she was lying in the grass
And she could hear the highway breathing
And she could see a nearby factory
She’s making sure she is not dreaming
See the lights of a neighbor’s house
Now she’s starting to rise
Take a minute to concentrate
And she opens up her eyes
The world was moving she was right there with it and she was
The world was moving she was floating above it and she was
And she was
And she was drifting through the backyard
And she was taking off her dress
And she was moving very slowly
Rising up above the earth
Moving into the universe and she’s
Drifting this way and that
Not touching the ground at all and she’s
Up above the yard
The world was moving, she was right there with it and she was
(Hey, hey)
The world was moving, she was floating above it and she was
(Hey, hey, hey)
She was proud about it, no doubt about it
She isn’t sure about what she’s done
No time to think about what to tell him
No time to think about what she’s done and she was
(Hey hey, hey hey, hey)
And she was looking at herself
And things were looking like a movie
She had a pleasant elevation
She’s moving out in all directions oh, oh oh
Hey, hey, hey
Hey-hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey-hey hey!
Hey, hey, hey
Hey-hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey-hey hey!
The world was moving, she was right there with it and she was
(Hey, woo hoo)
The world was moving, she was floating above it and she was
(Hey, hey)
Joining the world of missing persons and she was
Missing enough to feel all right and she was
And she was
And she was
And she was
And she was
And she was
Hey!
And she was!
And she was
And she was!

Somewhere in my ramblings, maybe in the liner notes for Sand in the Vaseline, I found that David Byrne wrote this song about a “hippie chick” that he knew who would do acid and lie down in a vacant lot and fly.

I’ll never do acid (probably – some work is being done with LSD as a treatment for depression) but I would love to fly with the world as it turns.

coffee pot posts

Saturday morning coffee pot post

This week has been better on a personal level – war in the Ukraine is a world nightmare and producing still more WTF moments in US politics. Can’t wait to get out of here! Maybe I will tell people in Europe that I am a Canadian. Most can’t tell the difference in North American accents – at least they couldn’t in Ireland and the UK. But an Irish person can tell if someone is from Cork or Limerick or Donegal, for sure!

We got out a little this week. The weather outside was beautiful on Wednesday so we went to Oden Brewing and sat outside and watched the first part of Ghostbusters. Wednesdays are their outdoor movie nights. It made me realize that either I don’t remember Ghostbusters or I didn’t see it. I remember Ghostbusters II. It is likely that I didn’t see it. Sandy and I were working at night a lot during that time and couldn’t afford to go to the movies anyway. I’m surprised I didn’t rent it, though. Oden has a good stout right now called Bee’s Knees. This version was “vanilla latte” so I had a taste first. I don’t want a stout that tasted like a milkshake or a floofy coffee drink. It didn’t – it was damn near perfect so I had two and brought home a four-pack. Because I’ve cut back on my drinking so much those two pints put me straight to sleep. I looked it up later and they were 7% ABV – higher than what it showed on Untapped.

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^From the women’s room at the City Arts Center last night

Then last night Sandy took me out to dinner at Cafe Europa because we thought it would be nice on the patio. After we sat down and ordered the wind picked up and we ended up eating inside, which I’ve refused to do in the past four months or so. However, we found a spot at the end of the bar farthest away from everyone with a space between us and the next couple so I think it was okay. I guess we’ll see. We are friends with the owner and he likes to play big board games. Sandy (and maybe I) might play a game with him at the restaurant soon on one of their slow nights. I don’t worry about being around Jakub because he has to be very careful about not getting infected too. This was one of our regular haunts at one time so it was good to be back.

Still, I am not eager to go out into public indoor spaces. I need a specific reason, like being out of coffee or onions.

I think that I feel less anxious because there is nothing left to plan about our trip. I have no control over whatever comes next, and that is curiously calming. Every now and then I look at Google Maps and read articles about fun things to do or public transit or Portuguese food, but I’m not obsessed like I was.

My goals for this week: Make doctor appointments. God how I hate this but I can’t keep putting it off. I’m getting low on anti-depressants, and I’ll need a steroid shot in my heel soon, and I need a pap smear and mammogram. I need a chiropractic adjustment. I’ve kept up my dental appointments, thank God. What I hate most is having to see a new GP. My old GP retired at the end of the year. Having to explain all the stuff as you get older takes a lot of time and concentration. Not everyone feels the same about prescribing meds for mental health and that makes me anxious by itself. At least this time I can tell the doctor that I see a therapist regularly.

Other than that – weave and clean up the studio so that I have some workspace! Same as last week, I guess. Clean up the front yard. The daffodils are blooming and some of the other spring flowers will do so soon. I generally leave it alone over the winter so that the birds have some food under the leaves and on the seed stalks. I will have to remember to get on my knees and not squat down – that is killer on my achilles tendinitis. Hopefully I can get yard help again this year. My guy from last year was great – when he showed up.

On the critter front, Diego has been much better but he has been sitting behind me making strange grunting breathing noises. When he went to sleep he stopped, so I wonder if he is doing it on purpose. I switched him over to taking loratidine every night and it seems to work better than the Apoquel did, and it is much cheaper. I think that I forgot to dose him last night so it looks like I’d best not skip a dose.

I suppose that I should check the news now. I’ll try to write tomorrow with some artwork photos.

coffee pot posts, Reading

Sunday afternoon coffee pot post

Normally I do not drink caffeine after noon since I became a certain age. There was a time when I drank coffee, really cheap bad coffee, all day and night. I think about my past with coffee sometimes as I walk to work at my local university. Just as I walked to classes from the opposite direction forty years ago, I bear a mug of coffee. The past trip would have included a stop at Friar’s Cellar for a refill, a pack of cigarettes, and a toasted bagel. Friar’s Cellar is long gone now, replaced by a coffee house that serves much better coffee and pastries, without the shelves of dusty wine bottles.

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I noticed the sparkle in my bedroom windows and thought I’d share a photo. That is bubble wrap on the outside of the windows for insulation. These are really old windows and one of them is cracked. The bubble wrap is a great idea for upcycling – it provides insulation all year long and privacy while letting the light shine through. Our houses here are very close together, so the house next door is about ten feet away. At some point I’ll spend the money to get some of these Craftsman double hung windows repaired, and if I end up living here a lot longer get a better grade of glass.

Yesterday I enjoyed my day at home. I wove on Cathedral and did laundry off and on all day. I finished “The Cruelest Month” by Louise Penny. I had mixed feelings about this at first. Everybody seems to be crazy about Louise Penny but I guess I’m not a big fan of the cozy murder mystery genre. Agatha Christie never appealed to me either. I was put off about the disparaging descriptions of various disheveled or out-of-fashion or cheaply dressed characters, since they pretty much described me to a T. But once I got over that, I was caught up in the story and enjoyed it. I’ve read the first three of the Armand Gamache series and will probably find the fourth one somewhere. I have the fifth one on my shelf, and I like to read and watch series in order. These came from one of my local little free libraries, so they will go back. For now I’ve picked up “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” by Fredrik Backman, also picked up from a little free library.

This past week I didn’t shop for the Doc Martens, although I’m still considering them. I cleaned out about half of the clothes from my closet and chest of drawers and they are in the car ready to be donated or in the trash. Some are in a box to be repurposed as fiber art, but I don’t want to do much of that since part of the problem is that I have too much fabric. One of my favorite tunics from Gudrun Sjoden had holes in it so I cut it into strips to be woven into a rag rug at some point. I mended a couple of favorite pants. I still have a lot of cleaning out to do in this closet and a chest of drawers that contains all kinds of crazy stuff, mostly art related.

I finalized the final piece of the puzzle of the Portugal trip – the trip to Boston to catch the flight to Lisbon. As much as I wanted to be done with Southwest Airlines, I had points with them and there was no reason to let them have them, so we booked a one way late night flight with just points. Then the flight was changed to get there earlier, and in this case it was a very good thing. I’m glad we chose the cheapest flight. We’ll still get to the hotel in Boston late at night, but hopefully before midnight. Now we can only hope that the circumstances out of our control will be kind to our fate, but my anxiety has lessened since I got this taken care of.

Also, I brought home the rest of my supplies from the print studio at the Arts Center and put my membership on hold for now. That means that I need to clear them off my work table to make space for my upcoming online art classes. Jude has begun another phase of her teaching journey and Leighanna is teaching her Vintage Metal Deck class on Zoom in March. I took this class in person way back in 2010, but I had a migraine that day. Even so, I came away with some work that I loved and I’ve always wanted to take it again.

I need to do some house cleaning and clutter clearing today, but for the most part I’m going to weave and since the new season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has dropped, that is definitely on the agenda.

coffee pot posts, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Honestly, this is my happiest time. Late Saturday morning, after a restful night’s or morning’s sleep, surrounded by the cats, who are hopefully not misbehaving. This morning the sun is shining and the high temperature is expected to be around 70 F. Tomorrow winter returns and rain and snow is in the forecast, but it will be the sloppy kind of winter weather.

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I was thinking about how I regret that I never took photos of my childhood home other than family rooms at holidays. That led me to take this photo of the view from my chair here. The walls need plaster repair and a lighter paint job. This is the color it was when we bought it in 2001. The foundation has been repaired but the plaster has not. One day we will get around to it, or not. It’s a cozy spot, where we eat our meals and watch Ozark and Mom and Doc Martin and Sandy watches his zombie shows.

The woman who plays Ruth on Ozark is just amazing. I hope that she wins an Emmy this year. She must have been exhausted after shooting this season.

Here’s the arty shot:

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This week I finally got the return trip from Portugal changed to a much less stressful itinerary. It took me getting tearful on the phone to Orbitz, and a much more sympathetic customer service agent. I said on the record for Orbitz in case anyone ever listens to that monitored recording that I do not understand why Orbitz lists Aer Lingus flights if it is so difficult for them to communicate with them. Finally the customer service agent canceled my flight and rebooked it, so now we will travel back from Lisbon to Boston all in one day. It means that we will stay Wednesday night in Lisbon instead of flying to the Dublin airport at 1:35 a.m. and spend Thursday night near Boston, since I couldn’t find an affordable flight back home on Thursday night. All this was about the same price, and even with the extra hotel rooms cheaper than flying all the way home on Thursday. At least we will be better rested.

This week was the first week since winter break that I have worked all five days without having to take sick time for headaches or stress.

The plan today is to go to a local shoe store and shop for Doc Martens to wear in Lisbon. I’ve always wanted a pair and the women in my Portugal expat Facebook group recommend them. Lisbon is tough walking with the cobblestones and uneven pavement and steep hills. Apparently a lot of these women wear them everywhere in Lisbon, including restaurants. I hope that I can wear them because I have funny feet – very high arches, wide, and a bone spur on the back of my right heel. If not, I’ll go back to my men’s Merrills.

I’ll go by the studio at the arts center today or tomorrow and pick up the rest of my stuff. I canceled my membership this week but I have until Feb. 23. It was a good idea but the heat was too much. If it is not too hot in the room, I’ll lay out the panels for the shirt blanket and pin them together for sewing at home.

Tapestry weaving is on the agenda, of course. My loaned out Mirrix is back home so I may warp it up for something simple or for sampling. I want to finish warping the Macomber for a rag rug. I have too many unfinished projects, though. I also need to get the lake tapestry mounted and framed.

Sandy bought one of those meal services where they send you a box of groceries and some recipes and you prep and cook it. I should say, he preps and cooks it. This is his deal, and he is owning it. This week he cooked barramundi with a salad and roasted green beans and I have to admit that it was really good. It was thoughtful of him, too, because I love fish and he doesn’t.

I finished reading “A Fatal Grace” by Louise Penny and have started on the next one, “The Cruelest Month.” I understand why she is so popular. I enjoy them but murder mysteries aren’t really my thing. I would like to find another historical fiction or fantasy/sci fi novel to lose my self in that is not too depressing.

We’re considering changing our phone service from Credo (Sprint) to T-Mobile. If anyone has any feedback about T-Mobile, I’d appreciate hearing it.

 

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, Uncategorized, weaving

Saturday morning coffee pot post

20220131_083313The paragraph and list below it showed up in my Facebook memories from exactly five years ago. Good to know that some things haven’t changed.

In the interest of self care, I’ve thought a lot about what I truly enjoying doing the most as opposed to what I think I should enjoy the most. Here they are, in no particular order:
 
-Sleeping late and drinking coffee while watching my cats play in the morning
-Weaving strips of cloth together
-Good beer with friends at a local bar
-Creating art in the same space with friends
-Related: Art retreats where I can totally focus on doing what’s in front of me
-TRAVEL to new and beautiful places, preferably natural beauty
-Ice cream
-Dark chocolate with sea salt
-Twisted humor
-Mixing yarn colors together to interpret tapestry design
-Watching seeds sprout
-Recurring dreams about weaving and fantastical looms
-Solving puzzles and playing games based mostly on logic and a bit of luck thrown in for fun
-Seafood
-Leaf prints on new cement, as well as on cloth!
-Connecting with artists and friends on Facebook who share my passions
-La Croix orange water

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Anyway, on Wednesday, I got up with one thing in mind – to finish up at least one work-in-progress. I chose a good one. The fabric that I wove last winter was intended to be curtains, but I didn’t have enough of it to make four panels of the length needed for our tall Craftsman windows. I had put the fabric away for months. In the latest issue of Handwoven there were lots of towels, including bath towels. Of course! Bath towels don’t have to be terrycloth. These are woven of unmercerized cotton and have lots of texture. I fired up the sewing machine and lo and behold it performed like a dream all day. At the end of it, I had two big bath towels and two smaller towels.

On Thursday, I pulled all the drawers out of my clothes dresser and purged two drawers worth of old clothes. Most of these went into the garbage because they were old socks and underwear and ratty clothes with holes or significant wear. I picked out a few to cut up for rags and to save for another t-shirt quilt. Today I am pulling books off the shelf and I intend to go through my closet and do those clothes and shoes.

And weaving. I am weaving again, thank God. I’ll post a tapestry photo tomorrow.

I bought plane tickets for myself and two friends to go to Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove, Oregon in mid-July. This might be my last FOBA, so I will mask up and be as careful as possible and go. I want to go to the West Coast one more time before I head to Europe for good.

If you aren’t interested in my personal and work life, you may want to skip the part below.

This has been a particularly rough week for me because I totally lost my temper at work on Tuesday and then had a meltdown in front of the department head. It was suggested that I take a few days off.. Fortunately I had a therapy appointment on the first day off, and I had planned to go in the following day but she suggested that I take another day off. So I stayed home on Wednesday and Thursday to get my anxiety and anger under control. As a result, I had a ton of work to do on Friday and that pretty much kept my brain busy all day. Nobody said anything to trigger me, thank God.

At the heart of the issue here was sexism and a lack of respect for the work that staff does. A male professor explained to me for the second time how I had misinterpreted a policy that I have been working with as a baseline for one of the main areas of my job for 18 years. It was a textbook example of mansplaining and when I again told him what the policy meant (it was clear as day), he began ignoring me and directed the rest of the email thread to the male faculty member responsible for this area. Someone who I trained, and who leaves all the details and process to me. When the man in charge supported what I said, the professor backed down. Then I demanded that the professor acknowledge the work that I do and that I did extra work to accommodate his last minute requests. Of course there was no response, and then nobody understood why I lost my mind afterwards. Even I couldn’t articulate it.  I figured all this out later with the help of my therapist.

I was told that even though I believe that I am on equal footing with faculty, that I am not and never will be, and no matter whether I am right or wrong, I have to do as I am told and accept it or be in danger of losing my job. That faculty don’t care about my feelings and that I need to suck it up and get over it.  (The person who told me this is also staff.) It’s true, unfortunately. Not all faculty treat us this way, but the narcissists regularly leave us out of decision making and do not ask for our feedback although all three of us are valuable resources of information, having gone through the changes in administrative policy for over a decade. All three of us have trained faculty in department administrative positions. Then when problems arise, we are usually the ones who have to fix them. We are not supposed to show anger about this situation. This is our present reality, and not one that is likely to change before I leave this place. We are considered to be expendable.

I do believe that this place will break me if I don’t get out of here soon. I have a little over a year to go before I can get the Social Security to supplement my retirement pension and savings. Then I should be able to get by.

coffee pot posts, tapestry, weaving

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Yesterday I spent weaving and cooking and I finished The Overstory by Richard Powers. I struggled through it, not because of its quality, but because I found it so depressing. The writing about the trees was magical and the character development was great. So I’m going to read Louise Penny mysteries next to give myself a change.

I filled in the place that I unwove last weekend and I’m much happier with it.  I may even weave it up to the size I planned originally.

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It snowed again Friday night. This time it did not stick around on the street outside our house, even though I don’t think that it got over freezing temps all day. This week is supposed to be warmer, but it might be too late for my big pot of aloe plants, which I’ve been trying to get through the winter outside on the front porch by putting it in a cardboard box and draping a curtain over it at night and on cold days. I brought it in last winter and thought that I had it where the cats wouldn’t mess with it. It’s toxic to cats and then of course I found a piece of aloe in some vomit, so it stays out this winter. I’m thinking of this as I listen to the sound of cat puking in the other room. So far the four other plants I brought it are fine, although I’ve caught Pablocito chewing on the lemon tree leaves.

I was looking at what I think are the fox tracks in the snow in the back yard, and my favorite neighborhood cat, Miss Penny, trotted right by me. She ignored my pleas to stop and visit, of course. Miss Penny doesn’t have much use for anyone but Miss Penny, but a few years ago she deigned to allow me to give her some scratches. I was surprised to see her running around in the snow, because she does have a home and a front porch to hang out on so she has a choice to be inside or out. Miss Penny is getting very old and I will be sad when she is no longer around for me to worship.

I’m so spoiled for North Carolina mild temperatures that I don’t think that I could move south or north! But if I have to choose, I would always go for the colder temperatures. I can’t stand heat – there are only so many clothes you can take off in public. Of course, the way things are nowadays you only have to wait a few days for an big weather change.

There’s not much else that I want to write about so I’ll go weave now. I’m feeling the mojo again and I need to take advantage of it.

 

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

Saturday morning snow post

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Not much snow, the way I like it. REALLY cold for North Carolina, though. 24 degrees F at 10:50 a.m. What is notable about this snow is that this year I see many tracks that I suspect are fox tracks. Critters really love to live under that building, and in the space between the ceiling and the roof. Sandy and I are talking about cleaning it out to use for studio space again. I’m not sure that I have the energy for that, but it will need to be cleaned out before we move anyway. I’ll have to find the energy from somewhere!

Here’s what I plan to work on this weekend:

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Anyway, not much has happened in my life other than work. It’s been really busy at work with several big areas of my job needing attention at once. That’s the way my job is – really busy then not much at all to do. I spread out the work as much as I can. The good thing is that I enjoy the work I am doing right now, which is mostly schedule planning and graduate student admissions. Later this semester it will be forms, forms, forms.

I complained (okay, ranted) on Facebook about people who do not read emails from me that are clearly marked URGENT and/or IMPORTANT. This is mostly a problem with students but faculty and instructors are sometimes guilty also. It has been bad for the last decade but the problem has quadrupled with the stress of covid brain. I work hard on these emails to make them as clear and detailed as they can possibly be. I keep templates of the ones that come up regularly and revise them as needed, so I know that people have understood them just fine in the past. Then to have three people ask me a week after they miss an important deadline that I do not set…that they don’t know what the date is…they seem to remember me sending something out…I mean, literally, all I do is copy and paste my answer from the email to their questions. Sometimes the answer is right below their question. And in this case, and most cases, it’s not hard stuff. “How do I do this?” “Click the link in the email that I sent where I wrote, click this link for instructions.” I don’t know how to help these students who ignore my help!

Then there are the students who need repeated confirmation. This seems to be a newish thing too. “Just to confirm, did you really mean this?” Yes, I did, just like I meant it when we also talked about it a week ago.

I’ve never had a lot of patience, but I do try very hard to swallow the irritation and be compassionate. My brain ain’t so great either these days. I will, however, search my computer, email, and the university website before I ask someone else for information I have lost. I hear a lot from the faculty who are struggling as well. What do you do when you are stressed to the limit but your students are too? I read articles online about how universities who are concerned about their budgets and student retention tend to ignore the stress of their employees, offering little other than online “how to cope” workshops, as if our stress does not affect the students. It’s a big problem on a national level, but in states like North Carolina where the ultra-conservative Republicans in charge dismiss us as either a drain on state funds or fomenters of dangerous liberal radicalism (especially in history), it is getting to a crisis point. As my therapist and others said, our bodies are not built to deal with this kind of sustained stress.

One of the latest issues where I work is that the college has decided to reduce the number of semesters students have to take in foreign language without notifying or involving the department of languages in their decision. Now, I tend to be on the side of reducing the semesters because it is a lot compared to our peers, but not to confer with the department of languages is incredibly disrespectful.

It feels very cutthroat where I work right now, but at least I feel that my co-workers and I are safe from budget cuts at this time. The delay in telling us what exactly those cuts will be is bothersome. The communication between administration and academic departments is terrible.

“As a service to you, take this workshop that Human Resources bought from an outside vendor on how to do more with less. Here’s some required training about how you can provide mental health care to students. We’re sure that you can fix yourselves and your students through the magic of the Internet. Oh, your job doesn’t include counseling? You’re extremely depressed, yourself? You think you should be paid more for taking on more responsibility? Feel lucky that you are employed at all.”

It’s gotten where the satire on McSweeney’s is more and more on the mark.

Pablocito sez, “Get that camera away from me!”

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