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

Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety, Nature printing

Thursday

Continuing with the prints on cement. I didn’t arrange this. I think that the squirrels did. Under the black walnut tree. This is a fairly new parking lot, and since it is under a black walnut tree and a hickory tree and a pecan tree, it has stained to a dark color very quickly.

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It is difficult to manage my anxiety unless I block out the news completely. It seems to me that the whole planet is in chaos and at least half of Americans have lost their damn minds. The Co-vid rules where I work and in my city are insufficient to say the least. There is no way we should be here when we could have started remotely until this big surge is over. At least I have a box of N95 masks to wear – not that my employer has provided them.

The state of this country’s politics makes me feel that it is more urgent than ever to move forward with our plan to move to Portugal. I am nervous that we will miss our opportunity. After I retire we will have to get our house cleaned out and ready to sell, or find a rental management company to rent it. Either way, a lot of work will have to be done.

I really miss going out to eat and to the brewery for a pint.  In a way it might be good because I have cut down on my drinking so much and I’m saving money, but going out to eat was one of my favorite things to do.  I wish that I could jump forward in time!

I’m thinking about this for my next tapestry:

lake tapestry idea

I’ve been working on the most challenging part of my job for the past two weeks. I told a faculty member that it is like working on a puzzle that constantly has pieces taken away and new pieces added. Putting together the puzzle is actually quite satisfying, but the long process of tweaking it gets a bit tiresome. And frustrating when some of the rules and demands are unhelpful or illogical. Now that I am a year and a half away from my planned retirement, I’m starting to look at all the things I do and I’m getting pretty nervous about training the next person. It’s a lot to learn. I’ve pulled all this together over 18 years and take a lot for granted. But I need to focus on my future and not let this idea add to my stress.

Diego has started throwing up again (on my bed, damn him) and he and Pablocito turned down their Greenie dental treats this morning. They weren’t happy about the canned cat food yesterday. Why, I ask them, WHY do you prefer plastic? But giving them the pill pockets a few hours after they eat dinner seems to be working.

A three-day weekend is coming up and there is a pretty high likelihood for a big winter storm, which is not unusual for this time of year here. My guess is that whatever bread and milk that was on the grocery shelves is gone by now!

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.

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.

 

augggghhhh, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters, Rants

Is it Wednesday?

Hard to remember any more. I have to use a calendar these days to keep track of days. Now that Sandy is retired he has particular problems with not having a steady schedule, and I’ve encouraged him to start keeping a digital calendar, although any kind would do as long as he looks at it every morning.

Warning – long rant ahead. I might have to write two blog posts today.

Monday Diego went back to the vet and it was expensive and I had to leave him, which I do not like to do, especially these days. He didn’t produce enough urine for a urinalysis even after they pumped him with fluids so they didn’t charge for the urinalysis BUT I paid almost $40 for the fluids. So far I’ve spent about $800 on Diego this month, not including special foods and pill pockets. And it will most likely continue because he is on a very expensive anti-histamine now. Doc says that after this week I can alternate them with Claritin to bring the expense down. I am giving him nose drops, one in each nostril. This is fun. I’m putting this off because DREAD but as soon as I finish my coffee I will do it again. I have to get my technique down because I wasted a lot of it yesterday.

He is STILL stuffy, but it is better.

One thing that the vet suggested which has me reeling is the possibility that we have black mold in our house. This is very, very possible. All you have to do is look at the stains on the ceiling tiles in my bedroom to understand. The leak was fixed years ago, but…  to take care of that mold, my friends, would eat up my retirement plans and money. And, wow, I just killed a winged ant. Is it a termite?

So I am not well pleased today.

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I also was furious at the vet’s office when first I had to ask the staff member at the front who showed us to an exam room to put on her mask, then later a vet tech returned Diego to me after his blood panel and the vet tech did not have on a mask. When the vet, who IS always masked as far as I’ve been able to tell, told me that I needed to leave Diego and pick him up later, I asked her to make sure that the vet techs wore masks around him, SINCE HE CAN’T WEAR A MASK, and he is asthmatic! She looked surprised and said that everyone wore masks in the back, and I informed her that this tech did not.

(In case you are not a cat person and don’t know, cats can contract Covid-19 and die from it.)

Then later, as I waited in an exam room for him to be returned to me, I could see through the window in the door to the back area. Very clearly I saw this same tech handling another cat without a mask on, assisting the vet. So she is either lying, or she is totally oblivious to the humans around her. The latter is a possibility, but I doubt it. I stood there for 15 minutes, becoming angrier by the minute, watching this tech walk back and forth, maskless, interacting with other staff and animals.

Finally when he brought Diego in his carrier to me at the front desk, he had on a mask. I said, “I hope you had on that mask when you handled my cat.”

This maskhole said, “Of course!”

“Because I watched you in the back room handling other cats and you did not wear a mask,” I spat out, grabbed up my poor kitty, and marched out.

I really cannot abide a fucking liar.

I barely slept that night because I was so pissed off and conflicted. Then my phone woke me and it was the vet. She sounded so kind and concerned and helpful that suddenly I felt no anger. Obviously I’ve not let go of it because here I am ranting over it, but I do not want to change vet practices again if I can help it. What do I do? She has a great reputation, but her staff sucks. I left this practice once, and then they worked Diego in during an emergency when another practice would not see him. And veterinary workers are burning out in great numbers from the stress. I know, partially because I have a friend who is a vet that works at an emergency clinic. So maybe she has to be tolerant to be able to continue her practice.

What makes all this even more strange is that they went way over what they needed to do last year. Granted, the staff seemed pretty clueless in late March 2020 when I overheard one of them say as I walked out, “Did you hear what she said? She knows someone whose husband died of Covid!” Then when I went back in early April, everyone had on masks, they were selling masks, and then later they changed to pick-up/drop-off in the parking lot only.

Now, this attitude.

I’m looking for gluten-free canned food that Diego will eat. Today and yesterday, Fancy Feast Turkey and Giblets pate was a hit. Tomorrow, who knows. These cats usually wait for me to buy more than two cans of anything before they decide that, no thanks, they’d rather eat plastic. They love the Pill Pockets so far, crossing fingers, but I looked at the ingredients and you guessed it – wheat gluten. The vet recommended them though – I’m confused. My friends are suggesting homemade chicken and rice, including chicken organ meats that a farmer friend says that she can help with this spring.

Okay, time for the nose drops. Hopefully I won’t have to do this for more than a week.

Coronavirus Chronicles, fiber art, Slow cloth, Upcycling

Boxing Day post

What are you supposed to do on Boxing Day again? Knock out your family and friends?

Just so you know, I did get some creative stuff done yesterday. The photo of progress on my tapestry refused to turn out properly, so that is a sign that it does not want any more detail photos until it is done. I measured it at 19 inches with the hem at the bottom. This made me want to try to weave another inch of tapestry so that it will be about 18 inches wide. Maybe two inches if I can deal with the crazy tension problems that far.

And the old girl is performing well. I think it is one year older than me.

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It looks like we will be needing masks for a long time hence, maybe forever! I sewed until I had no more elastic. I’ll order black elastic for the next ones, if it is available. When I sewed the first wave of masks, elastic wasn’t available at all, so I used fabric strips that I sewed and hair bands.

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Here’s a pile of shirts cut apart with the seams trimmed off and stashed away for a rag weaving. The one on top was my favorite shirt of Sandy’s. I have a lot of photos from the 80s with him wearing this shirt. That is one of the reasons that I love weaving with old clothes. The memories.

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We got out and walked around the block twice yesterday and once again this morning. It doesn’t seem like much but it is what we both can handle right now. The weather is beautiful – 71 degrees F. I’m sitting on the front porch with the critters as I write this. Sandy is bringing me a very late brunch. We were up late and awake again early this morning. Pablocito was being a bad kitty around 4:30 this morning. It’s fortunate that I didn’t have to work.

More weaving on tap today and maybe some sewing.

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.