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.”

 

collage, Coronavirus Chronicles, Nature printing

New Year’s Eve Eve

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I am about to undertake my yearly wrap-up post, in which I pretty much read my blog posts from the whole year and pick one or two from each month to highlight. Ugh. 2021 was so boring. And depressing. There were a few fun events though, mostly later in the year. Maybe I’ll feel better about it once I get to June.

Yesterday, after my rant here, I went to the print studio and Jay was there. Jay is there every day the art center is open from 9-6 except for Sundays, when I usually go. He is an elderly gentleman, well versed in art history and printmaking, and a very pleasant person. He didn’t have on a mask, but I just sat away from him – he doesn’t go anywhere else much and he is usually careful, from what he’s told me. I wore mine, though. We talked some about the maskholes in Greensboro. He coughed and excused himself, and said that he was coming down with a cold. I suggested that he get checked, since “a lot of people are sick now.” Then he must have realized that he didn’t have his mask on and put it on. I finished up and left soon after, mainly because it was really hot in that room, and I decided not to go back today or tomorrow. Then it is closed for three days. Oh well. I hope that Jay is okay.

Then I went to Deep Roots where there was an unmasked customer who seemed stoned out of his gourd walking around. I ranted on Facebook and let that shit go. I am so thankful that I do not have to deal with this kind of bullshit at work. My heart is with the public facing workers.

I accomplished what I set out to do, which was to mount one collage on a wooden panel and do another collage. Believe me, I will try my best to make sure the hanging mechanism holds when I put it on.

I had been printing a lot of monoprints with leaves a while back for using in collage, and I decided that I also wanted to use the leaves I printed with. The shapes of oak leaves are fascinating to me. I bet that I could go out on my street and find about ten different kinds of oak leaves.

 

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I am at that squeamish point when I don’t know whether to leave this one alone or not. I think that I’ll print it out in color and play with a sepia colored pen on the light side on the printed copy and see if that helps me decide. That way I’m not committed to it. I guess I should brush some matte gel medium over it to preserve the leaves.

That text page is from the 1896 agriculture book that I’ve been mining for years.

Here is the beginning of the next one. It will probably be mostly covered with another layers by the time I’m through with it, but it’s nice to have a before photo sometimes.

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Today, I wove on Cathedral. I am not going to make my goal of cutting it off the loom by the end of the year, mainly because I’ve decided to try for another inch or two or three. There is a section in it that I’d really like to extend if I can because it was an important part of the design to me. But if the tension gets too crazy, I’ll call it done and weave a hem. I’m trying to weave across the whole thing now to keep it fairly even across the top in height instead of weaving sections so that I can do that.

I managed to watch “Just Look Up” – half yesterday and half today. I found it very depressing, but well done satire. I love the way it skewered the media because I’m pretty disgusted with most of the media these days too. I’ve been spending too much time on Twitter.

Now I’m going back to reading “The Overstory” and hopefully Pablocito will not wake me up at 3:30 a.m. again tonight or I might have to kill him. Diego is doing fairly well, and taking his nose drops like a champ.

 

collage, critters, Lake Waccamaw

Happy Buy Nothing Day!

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Now I remember why I bought a Bluetooth keyboard to go with this Kindle. At the time I was trying to avoid buying a new laptop. The space that the on screen keyboard takes up is annoying. I will have to remember to take that keyboard with me when I travel.

Anyway, we are at Lake Waccamaw (which autocorrect always wanted to change to “Saddam” before I added it to the dictionary. I’m not sure how you get from one word to the other on that one). Thanksgiving dinner was awesome, thanks to my sister who cooked ALL of it. We got here mid-afternoon and found out that the big meal would indeed be on the actual holiday, since my brother declined the invitation to come on Saturday and my niece is departing this morning. So I will be cooking my asparagus casserole and butterbeans and deviled eggs today or tomorrow to go with Lisa’s wonderful leftovers.

Tim is doing really well. We spent some time around the firepit before dinner. The kitten that they rescued from a local parking lot came to visit with my niece. It turns out that Milo is a Bengal cat and his nickname is CujoCat, because he will bite. He is already huge for his age and although he was subdued yesterday usually he is constantly running around. He finally let me pet him but you have to be vigilant. He bit Sandy but it was a play bite. He still has those needle kitten teeth. A beautiful cat!

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The heat is broken here in our house, and waiting on a part. However it hasn’t been a problem because Lisa and Tim brought over several electric space heaters, including an electric fireplace, which is a nice touch. We were both actually too warm last night. Tonight will be the test when the temperature dips below freezing.

We brought art supplies but I doubt we will use them. If I do anything it will be to paint this base, which will have many layers and components if it goes as planned.20211121_160616

Last Sunday I had some good studio time by myself. I completed this collage from three of the painted papers I made earlier this month.20211121_16012120211121_16025620211121_160241

I also worked this one a bit more. It needed more contrast. I might put some embossing powders on it too. IMG_20211121_184724_341

Finishing my coffee now and about to head back to my sister’s. Even though it is cold now, November is a beautiful time at the lake, with different birds passing through. Yesterday as we sat on the beach we could hear the coots making purring noises out on the lake somewhere. Apparently they do this in a group as a comforting sound. Seems like there is something different here every time I come here, and I’ve been coming here for sixty years. 

art, butterbeans, coffee pot posts, collage, consumerism, Coronavirus Chronicles, Mixed media art, Reading, voluntary simplicity

Sunday morning coffee pot post

And, OH! This coffee is so good. I put a big scoop of Trader Joe’s salted caramel hot cocoa mix in it. Divine. I’d really like to go back to Trader Joe’s today and buy more of this and a bunch of frozen dinners to take to work, but I considered what it would be like to go to TJ’s on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I think I’ll wait on that. I’m pretty new to Trader Joe’s since my first grocery shops were always the farmers’ market then Deep Roots then a local grocery. We listened to a story about Trader Joe’s on NPR and were fished in…it was a lovely experience. It’s good that it is on the other side of town.

The other place we shopped heavily during the pandemic was Costco, and we had a lot delivered. Once vaccines became widely available I stopped doing grocery delivery, realizing that between the mark-up on the products and the tip that I gave the shopper, I wasn’t saving any money. Sandy and I are – gasp, I’ll say it – hoarders and we got ahead on groceries at some point several years ago and our closets are generally full enough that we can get by for a few months if needed. I also have water stored in sterilized glass apple juice bottles. At first it was prepping in case of civil war or some other calamity. Little did we know how useful this would become so soon. I have to remember to rotate out the food, though. I donated some to the graduate student food drive for the food pantry this week.

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I have most of my grocery shopping for Thanksgiving already done so I’ll go to Deep Roots for my coffee, bread, yogurt, etc. today. My sister provides the turkey and cornbread dressing and dessert and lots of casseroles since she is the primo chef in the family, and retired, and enjoys it. I’ll bring my asparagus/mushroom/almond casserole and marinated goat cheese from Goat Lady Dairy and butterbeans from Smith Farms. We have our assignments and that has always been mine. Usually I grow the butterbeans, but I let that go this year.

One thing that we WON’T do is go shopping. I’ve celebrated Buy Nothing Day for years now, which is the Friday after Thanksgiving. It blows my mind that anybody actually enjoys that frenzy. We stopped giving physical Christmas gifts a long time ago. We still give each other presents, but they are not tied to any one day or obligation. It happens by whim when we see something that we know that someone would enjoy. I strongly believe that is the way gift giving should work.

Frugality is much on my mind, as I spin toward the goal of early retirement. I never thought that there was a chance that I might be able to do it, until my financial advisor at work told me that if I could live on 11% less, I could. Well, I have cut out a lot of fat during the past twenty years, but there is still 11% that I can cut. One thing that I did was I started putting a lot more in my retirement account. So now I know that I can live on what’s left.

I just don’t know how people can rent these days. We are so lucky (and smart) that we bought our house in a decent neighborhood at a good price and paid the mortgage off. Sandy rented his condo out so much more cheaply than the surrounding apartments. He said that he always remembered that when we first moved to this street the landlord said that he wanted to provide young people with an affordable place to live. I really liked that guy and it sounded really noble but we also had leaks and a hole in the bathroom floor. It wasn’t totally altruistic – he didn’t want to fix the problems. Then he sold us the house really cheap! Still, rents are insane these days and I don’t think that I could afford to rent an apartment on my salary if I had to do it.

Yesterday I broke down and decided that I had to take some allergy meds. I had stopped them when I realized that they were triggering my restless leg syndrome. It has been rough. Sleep was weird for the past 24 hours. I slept well on Friday night and late on Saturday, took the 24 hour Allegra-D, then Sandy and I went out for lunch and checked out Jerry’s Artarama. I came back and sat down on the sofa looking at my Kindle, and each cat settled down on each side of me and purred. I was so content and relaxed, I didn’t have a headache, and I could breathe! Then out of the blue I got really sleepy and took a three hour nap. The kind where you lay your head down and don’t move for three hours. These two things totally screwed up my sleep last night, so I spent from 1-4 a.m. stretching my feet and legs and back and cracking my toes and knuckles. At some point I turned on the light and started reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and wow. That was hard to put down. So it was another late sleep this morning. I’ll try to make it through the day without meds and a nap until bedtime tonight.

Jerry’s Artarama, which I didn’t even know was in Greensboro, y’all. It’s in a part of town where I never go any more. I need a source of inexpensive framing supplies for my artwork that I plan to sell, so I joined it. I bought a cool little device that you pour acrylic paint into and it has a marker tip – I chose the inch wide one. I hope that it will work well with stencils. I also bought a cheap stand-up easel for Sandy, black gesso, and a clip on glass panel for a matted print that we had bought from Ireland back in 2012.

One thing that I learned from this trip and the Dick Blick catalog, is that I need to get away from the 8×8″ size work. I bought a lot of wood panels in that size and I can make those hang-able, but there isn’t much choice in pre-made mats or frames in that size. When I make my prints this winter, I’m going to pay attention and cut my papers to standard sizes before I print them. I want to mat or frame my collages and prints and paintings for sale, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money on it. I’ll use a local frame shop for the ones that I want to keep or put in a show.

I spent in the wee hours of the morning thinking about what I’m going to do with this…thing…I made last weekend. And, as often happens, my inspiration took off when thinking about Lake Waccamaw. This is going to be the base for a real mixed media piece, with painting and leaf printed cloth and driftwood and maybe bones?

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I worked on this collage some last week and I like it. It will probably be part of a book, though.

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art, coffee pot posts, collage, Printmaking

Sunday morning coffee pot post

I’ll head to the studio after lunch, but in the meantime, I’ll do a catch-up post from this week. Which ain’t much, but this is my journal written to my future self to read.

Last Sunday afternoon when I went to the studio I decided to do much of the same thing – gelli plate printing – but on dictionary pages and with leaves that I found tucked into the dictionary. Thank you, past Laurie. It didn’t go as well as I expected, but the idea here is that I’m going to go to the studio at least weekly and do something, no matter what. Then I spilled a bottle of Golden raw sienna paint and so I spent the rest of my time painting everything in reach with raw sienna because I can’t stand to waste paint, especially Golden paint!

I pretty much ruined a lot of what I had done, but I picked up this monoprint from the mess on bookboard from an old book I had stripped down for parts and it reminds me of a weaver. There was one sheet with leaf prints that was pretty good.

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I’ve pronounced this collage finished before but since its inspiration began with a song and then the death of our parakeet Liz, I started feeling like Liz would not actually enjoy eating bugs in heaven and had the bright idea of gluing down pearled barley over the bugs at the bottom. Well, that did not work out at all. So I scratched off the pearled barley and painted acrylic glass bead gel over the bugs to blur them out with something sparkly. I’m happy with it and I’m leaving it alone now.

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Man, my brain and body this week – hoo boy. It’s hard for me to even write this post. I typed it’s when I meant its previously and that is one of my biggest grammar annoyances. I hope that I continue to catch them all. Yesterday when I went to the studio I had a persistent headache just bad enough to keep me from thinking clearly so I spent a couple of hours just painting bookboard and wooden panels for later use. I’m not sure what I’ll do later today.

I came home on Wednesday afternoon so exhausted that I lay down and took a three hour nap, got up for three hours, and then slept hard for another eight hours. When I got up for work I was STILL fatigued so I called in sick and got a covid test that afternoon. It was negative, as I expected because I am pretty feckin careful, but my co-workers encouraged me to get it. These allergies are getting to me and I know that I should go get a blood panel done soon. However, it’s not that unusual for me for my battery to suddenly run out of juice and have to recharge for a day or so. I have to get a new doctor soon because my doctor is retiring and I dread that. So far I feel fine today and I have definitely had enough sleep for once.

We went to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market yesterday morning for the first time in a long time. I was able to snag a jar of marinated goat cheese from Goat Lady Dairy, which is usually one of my contributions to Thanksgiving weekend if I can get it. I bought some bath salts from Carol at Mimi’s Soaps because it is cool enough for me to enjoy my old clawfoot tub again, and I bought shelled butterbeans and zucchini from Smith Farms, and a pound of jumbo shrimp from whats-his-name – damn, I cannot remember. Then I went to Deep Roots twice because I forgot all I needed the first time. We had our favorite dish last night – shrimp with broccoli and onions and garlic and basil with a light cream/feta/parmesan sauce over fettucine. We have bought a ton of food in the past two weeks so I hope that we are stocked for a while.

I was talking to Jim (another artist in the print co-op) about my past local food activism yesterday and it reminded me that even though in the two big local battles I was on the winning side, I am very glad to let that go and concentrate on art now. It is interesting watching the global food supply bottlenecks – which prove the point that local foodies were trying to make all along. We need to strengthen our local food systems here and all over the world instead of relying on global trade for products that we could make here. (I just wish we could produce coffee here.)

It’s noon, time to quit writing, although I have more to say later.

coffee pot posts, collage, Mixed media art, Printmaking

Sunday morning coffee pot post

I stayed up way too late last night. In my defense, I discovered that you can borrow e-books from Internet Archive for one hour at a time. I’m not talking about just public domain books – library books from all over. Every now and then I shoot them a few dollars as a donation because what they do is incredibly valuable for the planet.

After I blogged yesterday I went to the print studio and played with printing on old book pages on the gelli plate. The best paper was from a 1954 paperback on how to sight read music. After I had starting printing on it, I realized that it was a really good reference for learning (re-learning) to read music, and I regretted tearing it apart a little. It’s astounding how little I retained about reading music from all my younger years of piano and percussion and saxophone lessons, but honestly, I never had a knack for it. Can’t say that I didn’t try, though! I saved a page on identifying the notes on the page and kept on printing. We have an electric piano among the many unused musical instruments in our house that my husband has collected.

I took photos at the end of my session, which wasn’t very long because I had other things to do, such as jumping off the dead battery in the Honda and a trip to Costco, which was kind of a nightmare. I have only been there once during the pandemic, and the number of people who whipped off their masks or wore them under their noses or on their chins was shocking to me. You could see the smirk on the young guy’s face in front of me in line. He had on a t-shirt with an upside down flag declaring his love for God, country, family, and freedom and a cross around his neck. It was more offensive than I am describing. I tried to stay back from him, although the woman with him was masked and friendly. It was crowded. We bought a lot of food for the pantry and the freezer, as we finally worked through the last bit of hoarded food from last year.

They had a good deal on socks so I bought two packs and I’m taking some down to the Interactive Resource Center.  Since I have become more frugal than usual these days, although not to the point where I’m shopping at Dollar General or Dollar Tree for food, I’ve been thinking about the needs of women who are really poor.  Spartan Pantry is right around the corner and it serves the students and staff of UNCG. (Isn’t it sad that UNCG staff is included in this distribution center? You’d like to think that we would all earn a living wage.)  So new underwear, socks, deodorant, baby wipes, menstrual supplies…I’m trying to think of things that people need but they have a hard time finding at donation centers. Sandy and I were talking about how we didn’t know how people made it with rents being so high. Our house payments were less than most people’s rent these days.

Anyway, here are photos of the monoprints I made yesterday.  I will keep a couple as is and use the others for backgrounds or collage fodder. I like the “Gospel Pearls” page and a couple more of the music pages. The one that is smaller and looks solid is a page from a 1894 book on agriculture. It was interesting to see how differently it took the paint than the others. It was more fragile, too.

Most of the stencils I used were bought from Mary Beth Shaw at Stencil Girl. Her stencils are high quality and she provides so many free videos on You Tube for instruction and inspiration. She is also a delight, seriously.

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I also have a few little collages on hand down there to work on as the inspiration hits. I didn’t like these much so they are works in progress. As some point I plan to use Seth Apter’s embossing powders on them, but since this studio doesn’t have a ventilation system or windows that will open I will bring them back home for that. I think that I’m done with the one on the top right.

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coffee pot posts, collage

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Note: This post began on Tuesday morning and I saved it as a draft and forgot to post it.

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I can’t say enough how much I am grateful to my sister and bro-in-law for giving us their 2007 Volvo wagon. Even though it has some wear and tear after 189K miles it is still an awesome vehicle. We are going to be good to this one, which means we are going to find a Volvo certified mechanic and/or take it to a Volvo dealer for service regularly. In the meantime, we will save for and shop for a car to replace the 2008 Honda Fit.

We drove to Chapel Hill to pick up the car and only visited with my niece very briefly. Their tabby rescue kitten, Milo, dashed out to meet me and what a cutie he is! Lisa and Tim found him in the parking lot of the strip mall in Lake Waccamaw. My niece says that he is a little psychopath and bites hard. He didn’t bite me, though. I’ve never had an issue where I had to train a kitten not to bite, at least, not more than the normal play bites. I never could get my boys to understand that they can’t flex their claws into my skin, though.

Then, even though we tried to time it so that we didn’t drive in a storm, Sandy drove the “new” car back in a bad thunderstorm with lots of water on the road. It was a little tense, but he did well. At least we drove a back road halfway home. Sure wish we could send some of this rain west.

Margaret Atwood is speaking at the auditorium close to my house, but wow, the cheapest tickets for us would be $60! I’m becoming one of those old people who bitch about how much everything costs nowadays, blah blah blah. Maybe I’ll hang out by the back door and say hey to her. I know that building pretty intimately from my theater major days.

On Saturday, I cleaned up my studio and divided the work spaces into a wet work space for glue and paint and a dry work space. I cut out the wonky endband on the book that I made in Dan’s class and added those pieces of thread to some small collages I made last year that still needed a little something. I think I’m done with the “handmade” one but the other two still bug me and maybe I’ll just paint over them and start over. I’m thinking about what I will put in the Artists Over 50 show in Greensboro next month.

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Saturday update: I watched Seth Apter do a live demo with a couple of his embossing powders on Wednesday and that inspired me to order most of them, so maybe I will experiment with them on these two collages that are too busy for me. Two of the powders create a faux-encaustic look which is really cool.

I continue to fool around with this collage, which was inspired by the lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven.” At first I was focused on “and you know sometimes words have two meanings.” But as I added to it, the line “on a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings” pushed the other line aside and it became an homage to Liz, our white parakeet who died this past year, and imagining her free. I think that I might layer some millet seeds there on the bottom where the bugs are, since those would be what Liz would prefer.

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The other news from this week, since Tuesday, is that I went back to get my injured foot checked and x-rayed and the PA who saw me doesn’t think it is broken now. The swelling went down and I was nearly painless. I told her that I could no longer wear the boot because it was causing me more harm than good. So I am no longer in the boot, but I have to be careful and remember not to bounce around as if I am healed, because I am not. I proved that right away by using the stairs this week and paying for it later in renewed pain. However, it has been good to be able to walk to work again. My hips and back need the exercise badly. I just wish that I could do more. I see my other podiatrist on Sept. 1, the one that I started with in June about my bone spur and tendinitis in the same foot.

It’s good to be on the front porch this morning, but I am terribly bored and itching to travel. Sandy was able to get a booster vac on Monday. He had tried to get in touch with his rheumatologist, but couldn’t, so when he went in to get his meds refilled, he asked the pharmacy manager about the booster shot. She looks at his meds, said that he qualified, and gave him one right then. So I am happy for him, but I am still too anxious to get out among people, and I want to be sure that I don’t carry the virus back to Tim when I see him in a few weeks. According to the new guidelines, I would be able to get a booster in mid-November if I had gotten the Pfizer or Moderna, BUT I got the J&J, which continues to be a source of frustration for me. Tim is much more frustrated because he has not been able to get the booster even though he is in chemo, but his medical situation is very complicated.

I have been working on my gratitude and my attitude, but this week has been a tough one mentally and physically, with headaches, sleep deprivation, depression, and anxiety. Therapy has been good for me. I wish that Sandy would go out and do some things without me. He needs the interaction with people. I don’t want him to eat inside restaurants yet until his booster settles in, but I feel like I am holding him back by wanting to stay home.

art, collage, North Carolina

Looking back at the TWS retreat and class

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 ^^^Signpost in downtown Elkin, North Carolina

During the TWS retreat I was so anxious that I babbled for the first two days, then started calming down by Tommye’s class on the 3rd and 4th days, a class that I’ve been trying to take in one form or another for a couple of years.. But I was still anxious and burst into tears twice, once from hurtful behavior that I overreacted to, and the second time from sheer kindness that was showed to me. (I was probably a bit cranked up on steroids too.) I got some good ideas for design work though. The design exercises weren’t new to me, but getting Tommye’s perspective of what works in tapestry was valuable. And it was fun to just play with pieces of paper. Maybe once I finish the lake tapestry I will do some of these at a larger sett with larger yarns.

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I really enjoyed having a meal at Southern on Main and at the Angry Troll Brewery on Main St., and I even considered renting a studio space in the Chatham Mill that Foothills Art Center is renovating, right there next to the Yadkin Valley Fiber Center on the second floor. It was so tempting, but I know that I won’t have the time or energy to drive a little over an hour to Elkin even once a week. If I lived 30 minutes away, I would be all over it. Elkin is a cool little town near Stone Mountain State Park, and it is drawing more artists and foodies and nature loving types. In Mayberry land, from the Andy Griffith Show (note the sign that points to Pilot Mountain in the top photo).

bloggy stuff, collage, Coronavirus Chronicles, Obsession, Reading

Rainy Sunday Afternoon

I start out every blog post I write with a rant about the new WordPress block format, and how tired I am of having to learn new tech and software when the way I did it before was perfectly fine. Sometimes I mess around until I find a way to go back to something similar that they had before, but I never know how to find that way again. Then I usually delete the paragraph. So THIS TIME, I have figured it out and I’m documenting it. I saved the draft of this post, then when I opened all posts to work on it again, when you hover over the name of the post, links appear beneath it and one of them is “classic editor.” Whew!

Last weekend I had a lot of fun in Leighanna Light’s “Layered Faces” Zoom class. It is definitely not my style but it was a lot of fun and got me out of my head. Here are the photos from my piece after day one and at the end. I got a wild feline feel from the face as it was developing so I went with that. Sandy was all blah about it until I finished and then he was saying “Don’t do another thing to it! It’s perfect!” LOL. I won one of Leighanna’s faces in a random drawing on the second day, so my luck was with me this week.

I’ve mainly been concentrating on work, cleaning up the garden, cooking, and today, cleaning house, so I don’t have anything exciting to report. I voted in person on Wednesday with a friend, and I didn’t have to wait long. No funny business going on. Paper ballots, but no straight ticket options. I painted another section of the front porch yesterday, but a cold front came in last night and it is about 25 degrees chillier and rainy today.

Some fall shots from my yard and my walk around the block:

Reading: I finished “The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi. At first it was a bit of a slog only because it is dystopian and my emotions are on edge. It ended up being very good with a complex plot and several different points of view. Now I am reading “The Good Lord Bird,” and had I known that it would be this funny (I mean, it’s about John Brown, what a surprise!) I would have started it long ago.

My fixation on traveling to Portugal with the idea of scouting out places to live is back, and I almost booked tickets to go in June, but the fricking searches were confusing, and then I figured out that to get my Aer Lingus travel credit I have to go through Orbitz, who is charging $100 more per ticket than going straight through Aer Lingus. I got disgusted and decided to start over again this coming week. I have until the end of November to book Aer Lingus tickets to get my credit for my cancelled flight this past June, and their prices went way up.

This year my sister and brother-in-law are going to travel with us. This should be interesting to see if we get sick of each other. We have not traveled together before – just stayed in one familiar place like the beach or the lake. Of the four of us, only Sandy has a lot of patience, so he will be fine. I have been looking forward to traveling with my sister for a long time but they haven’t been able to do it for eldercare and other family reasons. All four of us are interested in emigrating to Portugal, although that’s might change after the election. I’m ready to go regardless, but for financial reasons I need to either wait 2.5 years or get permission to work remotely from there.

We’ll spend a couple of days in Dublin since they haven’t been to Ireland before. It’s cheaper to fly to Dublin from Raleigh and then catch TAP or Ryanair to Lisbon from there.

This also means that I will not be going to the art retreat in west Ireland or FOBA this summer. I hate like hell to miss these, but this is more than just a vacation – it is also a scouting trip. It’s important to do it soon, and I promised Sandy that we would go in 2021 before we knew that my trips would be canceled this year. We need to spend enough time in Portugal to explore different areas to see where might be the best fit for us. I am reading a lot of ex-pat advice.

Of course, all bets are off if there isn’t a vaccine by then.

coffee pot posts, collage, Coronavirus Chronicles

Saturday Morning Coffee Pot Post

Woke up today to the lovely sounds of roofers across the street. I’m grateful for ear plugs and the ability to catch up on my sleep these days. One thing about working from home is that if insomnia keeps me awake until 3 a.m., I can generally shift my schedule to accommodate it since I don’t have office hours from 8-5 on Monday through Thursday. That’s crucial for managing my panic disorder. Next week will be different because I am administering tests through email to PhD students beginning at 9 a.m. every morning for a couple of weeks. Still much better than having my butt in my office at 8 a.m. every day! So there are some silver linings, and I try to focus on that most of the time.

My anxiety is more about the election than anything else. Sandy voted in person on the first morning of early voting and I had planned to go with him. I mean, that is the whole reason that I didn’t vote by absentee ballot. But I had work meetings that day and he was determined to go on the first day, so I will go vote during a lunch break next week when it is less busy.

This afternoon and tomorrow afternoon I am taking a Zoom workshop with Leighanna Light, one of my favorite people. I hope that the Zoom format in person will help me stay on track, instead of like the many online video workshops I have bought and abandoned over the last few years. I also bought a video workshop from Sharon Payne Bolton. It is a workshop that I’ve done in person with her before, but the price was relatively cheap and it will be a good jumpstart for when I need it, I hope.

This week I finished up a collage that I began several weeks ago on my mountain vacation retreat. I got very good feedback from Crystal Neubauer’s Facebook group and that helped me over the finish line. The branch, root, and duck feather are from Lake Waccamaw. I repurposed the piece with the word Inspire from a cardboard pin I was given by a classmate in one of Sharon’s classes at Art-is-You, because I knew it wouldn’t be long before I put it in the washing machine by mistake. (If you are reading, thanks, Maria!) I replaced the blue button that was on it with a tiny spiral shell I picked up at Topsail Beach. The music is from an old booklet titled “Gospel Pearls.” The background book cover I found in a free box of old books outside a used book store.  The panel and the bit in the top right corner is from an old book I took apart.

This is one big reason that I love collage – especially the ones in which I gather things that have meaning to me. Each element has its own story, like chapters in a book, that pull together to make their own story together.

I had problems getting this saved and published and had to rewrite some of it. Now I need to get ready for my class at 2 p.m. Hopefully I will have more to share later!