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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coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, Studio talk

Sunday morning snow post

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I started to take a snow picture, but nah. It is pretty and now it has turned to sleet. Ice is what is usually on the menu in North Carolina.

Sandy and I went over to the art center and I brought back my paints and mediums and glues, but left some stuff behind. The heat was back to normal and Jay was there. I was ambiguous about whether I would stay in the print co-op, but I told him it was likely that I’d drop out and come back later. We went to Deep Roots and this time I did not see a single unmasked customer inside. I bought a lot of fresh produce and I hope that I won’t wiggle out of making soup and lasagne today.

I’ve noticed that I spend more time reorganizing my art supplies than I do making art. You know, maybe that’s okay. I’ve been trying to nail down what I actually enjoy doing rather than what I feel like I SHOULD enjoy doing. Anyway, I need to reduce this stash by at least half. What you see here is only about a fourth of what I have. The looms are on the opposite side of the room. I have other bookshelves and chests of drawers full of cloth, collage materials, yarns, tools, and supplies. It’s a pretty big hoard, and I live in a very small house.

The hunt for rectangular baskets and cigar and wooden boxes for my supplies is a lot of fun. I bought a lot of the wire baskets from Office Depot during the pandemic and most of them contain my cones of yarn. The big bag of rice is for weighing down collages that I glue to panels, especially ones with more textural and 3D parts glued to them. It’s a tip that I got from Crystal Neubauer.

My idea for collage packets on Etsy – maybe I should do some categories where people can mix and match? If you’re really into maps, you could get a packet with just travel related stuff and maps. If you love dictionaries, I have lots of dictionary pages. I have music pages. I have foreign languages. I have encyclopedias. I have children’s books. I have textbooks. I have LOADS of cloth and yarns.

What I need to figure out first is what the shipping cost will be for a standard manila envelope, then the many changes that have happened in the Etsy platform since I last used it. Or maybe I’ll just set up a sales page here with a Paypal button. That might work.

I set up the big chair in the living room today with a blanket and table and reading lamp. If we lose power, the wood is indoors now. I’m determined not to let myself retreat into my bedroom until it is time for me to go to sleep. This morning, I was amazed that I woke up fairly early feeling refreshed. That is rare, and I was up in the middle of the night.

I’m so glad that I have Monday off! My guess is that the university will probably open late on Tuesday if this storm continues as predicted. The problem with that is that we don’t get a choice whether to go into the office or work at home. So ridiculous that after a long period of successful remote work that they do this. Disrespectful too, as if they don’t really believe that we are getting our work done, because God forbid they judge their employees or departments on individual bases. Everything these days has to be homogenized and across the board treatment of wildly diverse situations. We joke a lot about our employee performance plans and evaluations, because we know that nobody ever looks at them beyond our department head (and maybe not him).

I see that Portugal’s elections are skewing toward the Socialist party again. YAY.

Time for another coffee pot and some tapestry weaving.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Our county commissioners, God bless ’em, reinstated a mask mandate for the entire county on Thursday night. At first they excluded the two main cities. I guess that they thought that the cities’ leadership would do the right thing. But they weaseled out, and so the county health department took charge.

It’s hard to come up with stuff to write about right now…we don’t really go anywhere. Sandy went shopping a couple of places with his N95 mask on. There’s a winter storm coming, about which the forecasters are wildly divergent in predicting the severity. This morning the forecast for here doesn’t seem as bad, but it doesn’t take a lot of freezing rain to be a bad storm here. I need to go out and buy some ingredients for lasagna and soup, as well as beer and my favorite sparkling water. My expectation is that there will be shortages, so I will adjust accordingly.

I’ve dropped a few pounds, but I don’t recommend the anxiety diet. It’s nice that anxiety has one perk, though.

Recently several old friends from the 80s and 90s have gotten in touch. It’s been a little weird. I find it touching that they want to reconnect, but I don’t feel like I am at all the same person that I was back then. I have the same twisted sense of humor, but I have zero tolerance for any behavior that I find uncomfortable, including heavy partying. Have I mentioned that I used to regularly close down a dive bar, and drink until I blacked out on occasion? My guess is that these folks have had to cut back way back as well, because our aging livers can’t take it any more. So it’s probably fine. We can’t go out and meet each other anyway. At least, I won’t.

It’s a relief that I am not an alcoholic. I worried that I was for years because it runs in my family, as my mother used to warn me. Now one beer at the end of a work day is enough. And I don’t always do that. This is another way that anti-depressants saved my life.

I guess I’ll run over to the arts center and pack up some more stuff. I need to clear out some space for it first. Maybe I should get going on those collage packets that I keep saying I’ll make for sale or for giving away? I still will need to store them though. I’ve decided that I will probably ship the Macomber loom and my yarns and other fiber supplies to Portugal when we move, but I can pick up collage material anywhere. That’s part of the magic of it.

Focus on Book Arts published their schedule yesterday and as usual it is really hard to choose, especially since I’ve not taken a class with any of the instructors. Some of the ones that I gravitate to are offered on the same days, of course. Maybe I will have to pin the schedule to a bulletin board and throw darts at it. The last time I went I took a two day workshop, took one day off, then took another two day workshop. It was pretty nice to have that break, but I have a feeling that I won’t be able to resist filling up every day of the retreat. We’ll probably stay in the dorms this time since they now let us use the air conditioned dorms and the AirBNB that we loved doubled its price. The last time we stayed on the top floor of a dorm without AC it was 95-100 degrees. Tough weather these days in the Pacific Northwest. We’re used to having AC in the South, but their weather has more extreme heat that ours does!

Okay, time to get out of here before the ice starts, if it starts, tonight. I gathered up some kindling and a few of the driest logs I could find in case we lose power and put them on the front porch, but – knock wood – we seldom lose power here. It’s one of the excellent virtues of this house. Then I’ll focus on weaving tapestry and clearing out some collage material over the three day weekend. If the weather is bad, I may have some nice ice photos later.

agoraphobia, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters, depression/anxiety, Obsession, old couple

Saturday afternoon coffee pot post

In which I am settled in near the wood stove with the last of the coffee. There is no fire in the wood stove, though. Allergies in the house has stopped its use unless there is a heating emergency. I need to buy some clean firewood instead of the rotten moldy stuff in the back yard stack. I pulled out an electric radiator style heater to help with warmth during this cold spell.

I definitely started feeling agoraphobic again this week. On Wednesday morning I must have breathed in some saliva in my sleep because I woke up not able to breathe. I coughed for an hour and the stress gave me a migraine. Then I felt totally freaked out because it was so difficult for me to go to work. I called my therapist and she got me out the door, then I had an appointment with her the following day.

I told her my motto for the year was “I guess we’ll see” and she suggested that my word for the year be “Unfolding.” I like that. A strange part of the session which I will talk about with her again next week is that agoraphobia is an evolutionary response to danger, and she seems to be suggesting that at this particular time it is a reasonable one.  I suspect that she is trying to get my anxiety down and to stop being so hard on myself. It’s difficult for me to tell if I am overreacting sometimes. She also reminded me that irritability is caused by my depression.

When I told her that I had watched “Just Look Up” and it was terrifying, she said to me, mid-sentence, “Don’t watch that!” Which is very strange because the main premise of the movie is to pay attention to what is really happening and doing otherwise will kill us all. I mean, seriously, the baddies in the movie countered the slogan “Just Look Up” with “Don’t Look Up.”

I know that I need to prioritize my mental health but ignoring what is going on in the world doesn’t seem to be, I don’t know, responsible?

Critter report: Diego was just sneezing but he is much better. His meds are insanely expensive, so another thing on the list is loratidine to alternate (or substitute) with the Apoquil. After he started throwing it up again, I went back to the EN prescription cat food, and started giving him his pill pocket around 9 p.m. This seems to be working out, because at $4.50 per dose those pills are too costly to vomit up. I also went to Petsmart and took a chance on buying a case of Fancy Feast Turkey and Giblets pate. So far, so good. The Greenie dental chews are a hit as well. I stopped the nose drops but I’m going to try again tonight and have Sandy hold his head still. The other sign that Diego is better is that he is starting to bully Pablocito again.

The trip planning for Portugal has been bugging me. Everything has changed so much since I first bought these Aer Lingus plane tickets from Boston to Dublin. At first I was going to use my Southwest points to get to Boston, so that part was free, then I was taking American home. Since then we changed the tickets to Boston to Lisbon, which simplified that part of the trip, but the plane tickets to Boston and back have doubled. My Southwest points won’t cover the trip and I don’t want to spend any more money with them anyway – I hate their politics, I don’t trust them, and I want to be done with them.

The plane trip back is going to be rough with leaving Lisbon late at night and an 8 hour layover in Dublin – hardly enough time to be worth getting a hotel room at 1:30 a.m. and getting up in time to go through all that security again early in the morning. So I started following United flights out of Greensboro and doing a cost analysis of whether it would be worth it to ditch the previous plan and make the whole plane trip simpler and shorter, without having to pay for parking, and without having to change airlines and doing multiple Covid tests.

To make this plan work, however, I would have to get my 60,000 miles credit from the new United credit card I was just approved for. I probably won’t get those until April at least. Cutting it a bit too short. At least I will have them for my trip to Oregon in July.

This is the kind of shit I obsess over, and quite honestly, I enjoy the hunt. I read articles on the best ways to save money on travel and get the best plane ticket prices and follow Rick Steves among other travel gurus. I started telling Sandy about what I was researching last night and he doesn’t understand how complicated the plane ticketing process is. He brought up Google Flights and told me that flights to Boston weren’t that expensive. He was looking at today’s date and not looking at the different times at all. Then he told me that we could stay in a Boston hotel. I asked him if he had looked at the cost of Boston hotels. Then he said that I was lucky because other women’s husbands would have taken their credit cards away. A jaw-dropping sexist comment from my feminist husband. That got him cussed out. He immediately saw his error, and I didn’t carry that anger too long, mainly because I cussed him out so thoroughly, and also because I realized that we are products of a sexist and racist culture and generation, and both of us still carry these biases that will inevitably rear their ugly heads from time to time.

This morning I apologized for saying “FUCK YOU” and he said that he deserved it for being an asshole. This was a very rare occurrence for each of us in our marriage. This is also a good time to say that I firmly believe that one of the reasons we have been married for 34 plus years is that since Year Two we have kept separate financial accounts and instead assigned certain bills to either of us so that it worked out about equal. We are both extremely frugal and at the moment we don’t carry any debt. At all. No mortgage, no home equity loan, no car payments. If my credit card bill is over what I can pay per month, I have enough in my money market account that I pay it off from there. Then I work on getting that money back into my money market account.

In other words, I am fucking amazing at managing my money. And so is he, although we have different approaches to what we think is best. And today all is well.

I’m going to try to stay out of my bedroom and cook and weave tapestry and read in the front room, not in my bed. I’m going to do the exercise videos again – they are mostly dancing, and if my heel starts hurting too much I can do them sitting down. I don’t know whether I will go to the studio tomorrow. At least the city has mandated masks in city facilities again, but so many people who DO wear masks don’t wear the right kind or wear them correctly. I’ll probably be alone in the room if I go in at 1 p.m. though.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, fiber art, tapestry, weaving

Sunday coffee pot post

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Usually I write a post on New Year’s Day of what I hope will happen in the coming year, but I just couldn’t do it yesterday. If I have to choose a motto for 2022, it will be “I guess we’ll see.”

I spend a good bit of time between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s morning reading over past yearly wrap-ups, and although mentions of my chronic depression continued to pop up, they were much more positive in the earlier years of this blog. Even the years when I know that I was in a terrible, terrible mental state, my yearly wrap-ups didn’t mention or barely mentioned the events that drove me into the hole. I’m trying to decide if this is a good or bad thing. Or a gray thing. This is my journal, and I want to write honestly, even when it is public. I don’t have to, and I don’t, tell everything. All the writers that I admire let their vulnerability show. I suppose that I will continue to wing it, but I regret both the negativity I feel and the false positivity that I sometimes project.

Yesterday, I did move forward. I took a walk and looked for different oak leaves. Then I wove a lot on my tapestry throughout the day. Sandy and I did an exercise video and we ate vegetarian. Canned field peas and collards, with a big salad.

I succumbed to a Facebook ad and subscribed to Body Groove. I like the attitude of the instructor and the different videos. Dancing is one thing I can do standing or sitting.

Look at these oak Siamese twins, then some of the other leaves follow. I found at least a dozen different ones so far.

The reason that I decided to weave farther on Cathedral is because I wanted to include more of the blue skies peeking through the shadows on the north side of the tree. This was a particularly tough section to weave, but maybe the most gratifying. All those verticals! I used a lot of weft blending and crosshatching.

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I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that I have to return to the office tomorrow even though we are at a height of the pandemic. I am fortunate that I can isolate with my door closed, but it infuriates me that our administration will not let those who are high risk or have high risk family members work from home, especially since we proved that we could do it efficiently last year. I heard that an office worker with an excellent reputation in another department was terminated when she tried and failed to get permission to work from home because of health reasons. Yet our “leadership” is so proud of “getting back to normal.”

Anyway, I guess we’ll see if it all turns out okay.

So, for the coming year, here are my hopes and plans. In May, Sandy and I will adventure for 17 days in Portugal. He and I will be more physically fit by that time, with less pain, more stamina, and less fat to carry around. My brother-in-law will continue to improve. In early June, there is the Tapestry Weavers South retreat in Elkin. In mid-July, I have to choose between Convergence in Knoxville, Tennessee, a drive-able distance away, or across the country to Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove, Oregon. Susanne and I plan to go to Focus on Book Arts. It’s a shame because Convergence doesn’t often happen within driving distance of Greensboro, and my tapestry guild will be involved, but that is how it shakes out. It would be nice to find a place to go in September – maybe check off another national park on our bucket list?

Other than that, lake trips, the usual purging, and a resolve to go to the print studio at least once a week, even though it might not be for printmaking or collage or painting. I’m going to have a tapestry to finish trimming, hemming, blocking, and mounting.

coffee pot posts

Meeeeerrrrrry Christmas

HO HO HO

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Well, if you’ve followed me a while, you’ll know that I don’t really “do” Christmas. I like the pretty lights and the greenery, but the commercial part leaves me cold. I ordered Sandy and I some socks from Nordic Socks and surprised him with them yesterday. That’s as exciting as it’s gonna get around here, folks.

The studio at the arts center is closed today through Monday. I meant to go yesterday but instead I spent the day lazing about reading and playing games. I cut up some of Sandy’s old shirts with the intention of finishing up the blanket made from his old clothes that I nearly finished about 3-4 years ago. Since I gifted myself with some new clothes this holiday season, I’m going to do a major purge of my own clothes. most of which are not really fit to donate anywhere. According to the news articles I’ve read, our American cast-offs cause additional problems rather than helping the poor. Most of them end up in the garbage anyway.

One of the things I have pondered a lot in these last few months is what really makes me happy. There are times when absolutely nothing makes me happy. I just don’t want to do anything but turn my brain off or distract it with strategy games or reading. So it is important that I identify something that really makes me happy, not something that I think “should” make me happy. That is a prime Enneagram One sentiment – this should make me happy so I should be doing it. Sometimes those things change and we hang on to them. I think that happens a lot to me, and in art in general.

I remember having those “flow” days in the little studio in the church when I wove the denim strips into blankets, and Sandy’s shirts became cloth woven squares for the blanket that I mentioned above. And just playing with weaving the cloth strips into different colored squares, sometimes veering off into wild directions. Then sewing them to stabilize them was meditative, whether I did it on the machine or by hand. I owe this direction in my fiber art to Jude Hill, and I am eternally grateful for her inspiration.

So, even though the focus this week is to finish weaving Cathedral and to finish sewing these masks, in between I will be readying for this next phase of weaving cloth strips again and slow stitching. I’m also going to finish warping the Macomber loom and weave a rag rug from the knit shirts that I’ll be discarding. I already have a whole basket of these, as well as a whole lot of denim that someone donated to me long ago. A friend and I went to Reconsidered Goods, a really good local thrift store here with a focus on recycling and catering to artists, and they had a big bin full of torn fabric strips that you could fill a big grocery bag with for one dollar. Some of the printed fabrics were quite fabulous so I did that. If I wear out my hands cutting strips, as I often did before, I can play with them. But I’m going to try to stop myself from cutting too much at a time. I might manage this if I switch from project to project over the course of a day.

We also need to walk. We have to start moving our bodies. We NEED TO WALK, every day, several times a day. We have to do this whether we want to or not.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles

Mask weekend

Since it looks like we will be wearing masks for a while longer, maybe forever, I am whipping up some new ones this weekend. It is rainy and icky outside so it’s a good activity. These are the ones that I cut out last Sunday.

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I love this fat quarter with the faces from Norman Rockwell’s “The Gossips” painting from 1948, but I could only get three out of it. You can see the original painting here.

I only finished two masks yesterday – Sandy and I are modeling them here. I may need more elastic. Masks don’t stay on my ears very well, so from the beginning I used elastic hair bands to tie them around the back of my head. Now I would do that regardless of the ear issue, because it is nice to be able to wear them around your neck and pull them up as needed. It also makes them fit nice and snug. The design of these masks makes those metal inserts across the nose less necessary, although I might put them in this batch.

Sandy and I are the Tiger Twins. The backing on his is dark and the backing on mine is light. Today I’ll do the Rockwell ones and hopefully some spiderweb ones, if I don’t go to the studio.

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I feel pretty good today because I got my bedroom really clean. The ceiling fan, the walls, the curtains, and the windows. I threw out the mini-blinds. They are not worth the effort to clean them and the cats had broken several slats anyway. I put up some lace curtains that I had tucked away in a closet and there is a lot more light in here. That’s a good thing. These window panes need to be replaced. I covered the outside of them with bubble wrap for insulation and privacy. Actually, I need to get a home equity loan and get all our windows repaired and have insulated glass put in. This is one of those things that is more expensive because you have to get the historic preservation people involved.

Hopefully this will be helpful for Lord Diego Snufflebutt’s asthma. It did a lot for my mood! He seems a little better today.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters

Saturday morning coffee pot post

It seems that I did jinx things somewhat about Diego last week, but not about the food. His nasal congestion has gotten much worse, so I finally took him back to the vet on Thursday. It had been two weeks since his last visit and so she (a different vet) gave him another injection of Convenia and a different steroid shot, the kind that Theo used to get. When I told her that I was surprised that he isn’t breathing out of his mouth, she told me that cats will not do that unless they absolutely have to. A new cat fact for you. He is still very stuffy this morning. He obviously wants to play, but he’s not up to it. I am worried. He has another appointment on Dec. 27.

Sandy, on the other hand, is doing much better. He saw the rheumatologist and his CK levels were way down into the normal range, after they were so high this past winter that the doctor nearly sent him to the ER. So his medicine is working and the doctor is lowering it with the goal of taking him off this spring. Since this suppresses his immune system, this is very, very good news.

We were just talking about hats, and I was reminded of this hat that we didn’t buy in London because the shop owner wouldn’t get off the phone. I guess he didn’t think we were serious, but we were. We even went back and he still wouldn’t get off the phone and seems like I remember that he turned his back to us. So this photo is all we have of the amazing red hat. Didn’t he rock it? I told him that he should buy a new hat when we go to Portugal.

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Work has slowed to a trickle. I hope to get some new masks sewn up this weekend. Sandy and I were going to the farmers’ market but considering how high the Co-vid positivity rate is in NC with no mask mandate in the county, I talked him out of it. We are going to work on cleaning ceiling fans and dusting today. Isn’t “dusting” a funny word? Shouldn’t it be “undusting”? One of those weird English words that also means the opposite.

The Honda Fit is finally in the shop. We jumped it off and took it over on Thursday afternoon, where they told us that it might be 2022 before they could get to it. We left it anyway. I mean, it was just sitting in our driveway so it might as well sit in their parking lot. I’m going to spend what I need to to get it running properly, get it cleaned up, and consider selling it.

I bought plane tickets for Susanne and I to go to Portland in July for the Focus on Book Arts conference because I found a good deal on United, but then I started feeling anxious about the pandemic and canceled them the same day. We still plan to go, but I’m going to get their credit card so that I can get some perks such as free checked bags and hopefully the refundable tickets will still be at a good price. Then I’ll be looking at United again for our tickets to Boston in May, to connect with the Aer Lingus flight to Lisbon. Gah, this Portugal trip got so complicated, but it is a little bit better than it was when it also included TAP from Dublin to Lisbon. I get nervous thinking about the testing. What if one of us is asymptomatic and test positive before we leave on either side of the Atlantic? We will have to be very, very careful.

I hit the jackpot at one of our little free libraries in the neighborhood – three Louise Penny novels, ones written just after her first one, Still Life. This is significant because one of my “rules” is that I don’t read books or watch TV shows out of order. I left six books in their place, so I’m still ahead in my purging.

We are planning to spend Festivus with friends watching the latest Matrix movie at their house. There has been no mention of when the airing of the grievances or the feats of strength will begin. As for Christmas, I think that we will be spending it at home eating Chinese take-out. Then I have the whole week off!

Hopefully I will have photos of masks to show later this week. I cut them out last Sunday in the studio (see my Instagram @slowturnstudio, or on the right sidebar). I plan to weave more on Cathedral, with the goal of cutting it off the loom by the end of 2021.