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

Sunday morning coffee pot post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coronavirus Chronicles

01-14-21

When everybody is talking about the same thing, I don’t have much desire to write about it. Kind of like when I was blogging about local food and then suddenly it seemed like there were so many local food blogs out there doing it better. I’d just as soon step back and let the others talk as long as they speak my mind well. So I’m not writing about impeachment or the danger that we are all in here.

I said to Sandy today that I sometimes fear that we may not get out of the country in time – thinking of Germany or Russia in the 20th century – and by waiting for the best time, miss our chance. I feel like that happened somewhat by waiting until we were older. Canada doesn’t want retirees, unless you are rich. It is heartening to know that after my birthday in February I can draw my pension at a reduced rate if absolutely necessary. It won’t be enough until I can add my social security to it though, and that will be a little more than two years from now.

Prices on airfares from NC to Europe dropped and it’s worth checking it out on Google Flights if you are planning on traveling next year.

I’ve started looking at some Portuguese recipe websites and maybe that would get me excited about cooking again. I feel so flat and blah right now. It’s probably that psychological freeze response since I can’t take flight.

This is the beginning of my busy work season. I don’t mind. I just wish I didn’t have to go to the office tomorrow because cold rain is forecast. Today was my staff meeting on Zoom and the four of us mainly talked about politics and joked around. It was good. I miss my co-workers because we are all good friends.

North Carolina changed their vaccination priority schedule again and now Sandy and my sister and brother-in-law are in the group ahead of me. I am happy about that. I’m considered an essential worker because I am educational staff and will be in the next group, but this group that is up now is huge and it will probably take weeks for them anyway. There aren’t enough vaccines. However, I am perfectly capable of doing my job at home. I have digital files and I seldom need to look at the paper files any more. The only part we can’t do is answer the office phone from home, and let the mail delivery person into the mailroom.

Ho hum.

Coronavirus Chronicles

01-11-2021

Yesterday was another wasted day. I did dishes and laundry and put them away, but other than that and blogging, nothing of worth. We ordered a pizza from New York Pizza a couple of blocks away and got contactless delivery. It was not nearly as good as I remembered. I think that Slices by Tony has spoiled us. We watched an episode of Schitt’s Creek, which I am forcing Sandy to watch one episode at a time with me to spread it out. He’s a binger; I am not.

We both spent a lot of time on Facebook and reading the news and watching new videos of the coup attempt. I bet some people regret running for Congress and Senate. I worry.

NC Health Department is recommending everyone over 65 or with high risk health conditions to stay home and get delivery for essentials if possible. It’s that bad right now.

Sandy is still weak but much, much better.

——Lunch break——

Some more earliest memories, percolating with the news about vaccinations:

Terrified of doctor visits and needles – I had tonsillitis and ear infections in early childhood. I had to be held down for vaccinations. When I was five, I had a tonsillectomy and my adenoids removed. I would try to hide any injury or pain if I thought it might result in a doctor or dental visit.

What are adenoids anyway? Ah, thank you, Google: “The adenoids are glands that sit above the roof of the mouth and the tonsils. They are part of the immune system. These glands help trap germs that enter the nose or the mouth, in an effort to prevent infections. The size of the adenoids increases until a child is 6 years old, then they slowly shrink. The adenoids usually disappear by the time a person is 16.”

Also major dental problems. My teeth came in yellow and soft, and our dentist was my father’s cousin, and he was an asshole. When my permanent teeth came in, they were also yellow and soft, so I got a lot of fillings. I’ve been told this was because my mother took tetracycline when she was pregnant with me. It was new, then, and they didn’t know the risks. I’ve learned that a lot of people my age have yellow teeth. But my father also had terrible teeth. Who knows how much was genetic? The Army Air Force pulled his entire upper plate before he left for the Pacific in World War II.

On the other hand, I was perversely stubborn about not brushing my teeth. I have no idea why other than I was a very strong willed kid. I remember sometimes wetting my toothbrush to make it look like I had brushed my teeth. I also remember having an abscessed tooth and I chewed on a bedsheet and cried and waited as long as possible to tell my mother about because of my fear of the dentist. Yet, I resisted basic dental care. Maybe it was me.

Nowadays, I know that Novocaine has an unpredictable effect on me. Sometimes I have to have multiple shots to numb a tooth, and sometimes even then it would wear off before the dentist finished. My mother started giving me Valium to get me through a dentist visit, and Cousin P.C. made me sign a humiliating contract “not to cry,” which he showed me every year until my last visit at age 18, when I was finally able to get free of him. Then I found that that other dentists had methods that reduced pain that he never used.

I remember when I was a teenager that after he told me that a shot in the roof in my mouth was not going to hurt, his assistant stepped in and told me that it would but it would be over quickly. He was furious. She said that I should be told the truth and he said that she had no idea what he had to deal with with me.

I have a wonderful dentist now. I will hate to have to switch when I get to Portugal. She is so kind about my panic attacks and my hypersensitivity.

Zoom meetings have made me ultra aware of my yellow teeth. I read that is a common complaint these days – it seems to exaggerate every facial flaw. Other than that, I like Zoom.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, Family, Reading

Sunday morning coffee pot post

The shelf next to my “work” table. The small bone is a vertebra that I found at the lake. I think that the lovely carved wooden container is bamboo, and probably came back from the Philippines with my father.

Yesterday I started blogging some of my earliest memories and I’m going to continue to do that from time to time. I think a lot about them when I am in that world between wakefulness and sleep. Plus, there is not really too much else to write about in my personal life, and I prefer to not write about politics, although occasionally I will have to put my opinions out into the world. I don’t want anybody assuming that because I am a white Boomer from North Carolina that I am right wing. I am a leftie all the way, and I have been since high school when I began to understand what humanity is doing to our environment. I can’t say that I understood racism then, although my heart was in the right place.

My mother and father always voted opposite parties, until my father started catching on to Reagin and voted against him in his second term in 1984. He still voted for Jesse Helms, though, bless his heart, because he said Jesse was head of the Senate Ag Committee and everything was about small farms for Daddy. After Jesse was re-elected, he moved to the Foreign Affairs committee so Daddy’s reason was moot.

I am a leftie to the point that Portugal not only calls me because of its affordability, beauty, and friendly people, but because it has a democratic socialist government. I am going to do my best to get there and get EU citizenship when I retire in 2023, and Sandy seems to be committed to this as well. What is going to be the big headache is downsizing our hoard and fixing the house and yard up to get our property sold. It will sell quickly, based on what I’ve seen on this street. We invested well.

Once we get Portuguese citizenship, I hope that will be my back door to moving to Ireland, which has always been my dream, but its income requirements are beyond what we make.

I keep saying that I will get back to artwork but I just can’t seem to do it. At least I have started exercising. I joined Sandy for his “one mile express” low impact exercise video yesterday and my feet were fine last night. Hopefully my tendinitis has healed enough that I can continue to exercise and sleep without pain.

Yesterday afternoon, I retreated here again and played games on my Kindle and read news articles and my current book and cuddled with Diego.

The bed frame is from my Aunt Lib’s bedroom from the Parham house. It traveled to my parents’ house, where it became my grandmother Jones’ bed while she lived with us. It is just the right size for this room, big enough for me, the cats, and my books.

Right now I am reading “House Made of Dawn,” a slim book with beautiful prose that takes place in New Mexico. Given my renewed interest in writing, I may read Natalie Goldberg’s book on memoir writing, “Old Friend from Far Away,” next.

Coronavirus Chronicles, Local food, Reading

01-08-2021

Sitting here in my office during my “lunch hour.” The snow either didn’t show or didn’t stick today. I walked to work in a light sleet that melted on the ground.

Yesterday I got out for the first walk I’ve taken in days, and puttered around the yard pulling up tomato plants and tidying a bit. My Achilles tendinitis only smarted a little bit, so the break I took helped a lot. However I can definitely feel the changes in my body from lack of exercise.

We are ordering delivery for our groceries again. Sandy was very bad and stopped in for cheesecake take-out at Cheesecakes by Alex, though. We get take-out a couple of times a week from different local restaurants. Although we try to limit our shopping to small local businesses, we got salads from Mellow Mushroom recently. I really love their Enlightened Asian salad. For pizza, we have fallen in love with a local joint called Slices by Tony. They also have incredible sandwiches and calzones and desserts. I haven’t tried their pastas yet.

Today we received the last packages that we have ordered since mid-December – yay! I have art supplies for all my classes now so there are no excuses left.

I spent a good bit of time transferring zipped folders of my Flickr albums to three different Google Drives this week, and I deleted about a thousand photos, which means that there are only 10,410 left up on Flickr – LOL. They haven’t deleted my photos yet. I imagine that they are waiting to see if I change my mind about paying up. One thing I have realized is that I have to edit my photos before uploading them to WordPress, else they will take up all my space. There is still plenty of space here, though.

I finished “This Must Be the Place” by Maggie O’Farrell, and I was pleasantly surprised. After the first two chapters I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read it all the way through, but I’m glad that I continued because I loved it. Novels that jump around in time don’t bother me, and I love books that give perspectives from the different characters’ points of view. These characters were very complex and the writing was great. I’m going to look for more by her – I know that her current bestseller is “Hamnet.”

The other reason that I almost returned it to the little free library was because of the perfume smell. I suppose that some books smell like this because of hand lotion. Sometimes I can take it, sometimes I can’t. It’s almost as bad as books that come from a heavy smoker’s house.

Which reminds me – I gave masks to a few of my co-workers for Christmas and one, who is a super-taster and thus has an excellent sense of smell, said that hers smelled like wood smoke. We’ve only had one fire in the wood stove one time this year, so that goes to show how much that permeates everything. Fortunately it’s not a bad smell. I’m glad that she didn’t say that it smelled like cat litter or mildew!

Next up is “House Made of Dawn” by Scott Momaday.

I have no idea what I will do this weekend. Lunch hour is over. Bye.

Coronavirus Chronicles

01-04-2021

Yesterday I wrote my 1500th post, and that doesn’t include all the ones I’ve deleted over the years!

I finished sewing the last four masks yesterday, and put away my sewing machine for a little while. Not for long, but I wanted to be able to get to stuff on the shelves behind it.

Started telework again today, but there is not much to be done right now, knock wood, because I’d like to ease into the semester. Late January through April is my busiest time at work. Right now I’m working on planning next year’s class schedule, which is tricky because the university totally revamped their general education requirements, and we don’t know how that is going to affect our enrollments. Graduate student application season is starting this month, with Jan. 15 as the deadline for PhD students and Feb. 1 for MA students. I’ve learned that there is not much point in dealing with these before the deadlines, since so many people submit on the very last day.

Even though my work is busy this time of year, it is work that I enjoy.

Last night it seemed like I was going to fall asleep before midnight, and I tried counting down from 50 and visualizing going down steps that ended in a beautiful relaxing place. I was getting there but somehow my brain then decided it was a good time to begin writing my autobiography. I went over my earliest memories, then how much I remembered from elementary school. (Lots from 1st and 4th grades, almost nothing from 2nd and 3rd grades.) I was baffled that some years seem so blank to me. I don’t even remember what bedroom I slept in when my grandparents moved in with us. Was that when we turned the garage into an apartment? Did they sleep out there? Later, after my grandfather went to live with my uncle, I shared a bedroom with my grandmother and my brother slept in the garage. I adored her.

I wish that I had taken photos of the insides of both of my grandparents’ houses and my parents’ house. I tried to remember the details of the rooms. I could not turn off the flow of memories. And for once, Pablocito slept in the front room all night and didn’t bother me once. What a wasted opportunity! Finally I took a Xanax at 2 a.m. Honestly, I am trying! I got up early, fed the cats, made coffee, checked my work emails, dealt with a few of them, then took a nap. So happy not to be at the office on days like today!

Today is supposed to be my last day on Flickr Pro. It will be interesting to see what happens.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, GTFO

01-03-21

Last night was not a success. I discovered that I was out of melatonin. I read a book until 1 a.m. – a real book in print – “This Must Be the Place” by Maggie O’Farrell. I recommend it. There was heavy rain and it sounded soothing, but at 2 a.m. I took a Xanax. At 3 a.m. I got up and fixed myself a cup of chamomile/lavender tea. By the time it cooled down on my bedside table, I was asleep. In the meantime, my husband exercised to his video at 3 a.m.! This household schedule is absolutely fucked up.

I do understand that sleeping with cats is a huge part of the problem. However, if I close the door to keep them out, there would be howling and scratching at the door most of the night, and that is worse than them disrupting my sleep in bed. Maybe I need to give them sleeping pills.

Yes, I am talking about YOU, Mr. Pain-in-the-Ass.

The supplement that I started taking is Source Naturals Sleep Science Night Rest with Melatonin. It also has GABA and magnesium. It works pretty well most of the time so I will order some more. I can’t take anything with Benedryl as an ingredient because it sets off restless leg syndrome. I don’t want to take Ambien or other prescription drugs because I have a history of sleep walking that extended well into my 30s.

There are few things more frightening than waking up in a panic and not knowing where you are. It was worst in my early 20s. Once I tried to go out the front door and when I found it locked, woke up as I started to go out a window. Another time I pulled down a bookshelf with lots of heavy stuff on it – it was a miracle that I didn’t get hurt. Those are the two dramatic times that I remember. Most of the time I only knew that I was sleep walking because I would wake up with my head at the foot of the bed, or I’d wake up confused in the dark somewhere inside.

Dreams. For once I had school dreams that ended well this morning! In my recurring dream life, I am a formerly gifted student who has gone back to school/community college and I am sinking fast. I don’t understand any math or science or foreign language and I have to pass these classes to finish my degree. I fail them over and over until my GPA has gone from all As to “fail one more class and you are cooked.” Some, of course, I simply didn’t attend or do the work required. I constantly lose my textbooks so I can’t study. This morning, I had a teacher who I adored look up my grades for me and I had all As, even in the classes in which I had failed multiple tests. She praised my work and uplifted my spirits. So that was a nice feeling to start the day with.

Sandy is still struggling. I worry about him.

I think that I figured out an itinerary for Portugal. Dublin-Porto-Lisbon-Tavira-Dublin. 3-4 days in Dublin, Porto, and Tavira, and 4-5 days in Lisbon, and the second Dublin visit will only be at an airport hotel to catch a flight back the next morning. I realize that I have to schedule in travel time, but some of it will be on trains where we can look at the countryside and towns that we pass through. Portugal is actually 73% the size of North Carolina, the state I live in. It’s hard for us Americans to remember how small the countries in Europe are. I think that September will be a nice time to visit, although it means that I will have a pile of work waiting for me when I get back.

Almost finished with the masks! I have four more to sew the elastic into, and I am done with masks, maybe forever!

Coronavirus Chronicles

01-02-2021

I am going to try to continue to write or post a photo every day, even if I make my post private. The other day I wrote for an hour and then deleted the whole thing. It still made me feel better to write it.

I was a diary and book making kid – I loved making autograph books of paper stapled together, and I had various hide-outs where I went to write in my diaries. One was in the crook of a large white oak tree at the edge of our property – boards were nailed to the side to get to it. I had a couple of lean-tos in woods on other people’s property that I built – one from logs and branches chinked with mud, and one from scrap wood I gathered from a trash pile. There was an abandoned old schoolhouse in that patch of woods where a farmer had stored hay for a while where I hung out. My father probably went to elementary school in that old wooden building. It finally burned down when I was an adult. I was visiting Mama at the time and I wept to see the big flames go up. And there was a spot beyond the “No Trespassing” and “Danger” signs on the dam at Page’s Millpond where I retreated as a teenager with my sketchbook and a pack of Salem Lights.

Yesterday was pretty much wasted. I have to get my sleep back on schedule. I will take melatonin tonight and a Xanax if I have to. I was awake until 4:30 a.m. this morning, not for lack of trying to sleep, but it was one of those nights that I was constantly on the edge of sleep and then the parakeets would begin to squawk, or the cat would jump on my pillow, and more often, I felt like I had to crack my knuckles or stretch my back. I thought a lot about Portugal, so I can’t spend time looking at AirBNB before I go to bed. So I was too sleepy to make the judgement to take the pills to get me over the brink. Tonight I will go ahead and do it. I have to start getting up for work on Monday morning, even though it will be from home.

I did make a few masks, and I’ll finish up the rest that I cut out this summer today. Then I’m going to begin weaving together cloth strips again.

Like many people, especially around here where, ironically, our billionaire saboteur of the Postal Service lives, I have packages waiting to be delivered that have been at the distribution center in our city for two weeks. I wish that I could just drive over and pick them up myself. I am going to try using sewing clips instead of pins once I get that package. I also ordered a wool ironing mat from the same company after a friend mentioned online how much they liked theirs.

I also will have art supplies from Rio Grande and Dick Blick waiting, I guess. I didn’t think about that when I ordered, but I think it is important to support the post office right now.

At some point this weekend, when it dries out a little, I need to go clean up my garden plot at UNCG so that someone else can have it. It will be a messy job with lots of pea and bean vines to pull out. Then I’ll have to decide whether I need to keep those wire supports or to donate them to someone else. I’ll probably give them away.

Blather, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, whatever

Looking ahead in 2021

Well, this is certainly a crap shoot, isn’t it? But I will take a stab at it. I can at least visualize what I hope for.

I actually started writing this post several days ago just in case I got a case of the blues and couldn’t do it. But I woke up fairly bright and sassy this morning, after a shower, under clean sheets, with clean leggings and shirt on, which is a step up in my world! I made coffee and oatmeal, and put on earrings. I haven’t worn earrings in months, and my ear holes were starting to close up. So in went my beautiful earrings that I bought in Santa Fe at the market in the plaza. We will eat some field peas and collards at some point today for luck in money.

Tapestry Weavers South plans to have a retreat and exhibition at the same time as the Blue Ridge Fiber Fest. Tapestry Weavers South has its “headquarters” at Yadkin Valley Fiber Arts Center in Elkin, NC, and the Blue Ridge Fiber Fest takes place in Sparta, NC, about a thirty minute drive from Elkin. The plan is early June. All this is within a couple of hours’ drive for me.

Whether I’ll have a tapestry to exhibit remains to be seen. I’d like to finish the lake rain tapestry that I started with my naturally dyed silk threads.

We hope to visit Portugal for two weeks in September, with a stopover in Dublin on the way for a couple of days, since we will fly through there anyway and my sister wants to see Dublin. Some of this may depend on our health. My husband’s health is particularly troubling right now, but we all have issues of some kind. I booked my one plane ticket to get my refund from Orbitz so I’ll be flying on my own and will meet the others in Dublin. I also reserved a couple of rooms in the B&B in Howth where we stayed before, just to make me feel good.

This means that I definitely won’t be doing the art retreat in western Ireland next summer, and maybe not at all.

I anticipate that I will be working from home except for Fridays again through the spring semester depending on how the vaccine gets distributed. I’m not sure how I am going to adjust to going back to work in the office full time. It will be tough, considering how this feeds my agoraphobia, and how my sleep pattern has changed, and how my physical pain has been better working from home.

Yesterday, the state government changed the vaccine schedule so that I am actually in phase 1b group 2, and my family members with serious health risks are in phase 2! This is due to me being educational support staff. I assume that universities are included. If not, I’ll be heading to the back of the line again. I was not particularly happy about this change, due to my intense worry about my family, and that I can actually do my job well from home, but as Sandy said, they can’t really micromanage this to that level. Teachers are essential frontline workers, and so are the housekeepers and other support staff that can’t do their jobs from home.

Hopefully I won’t have to attend any protests, although the state government is probably in worse shape than it was pre-election. Thank God we have Democrats for governor and attorney general, at least.

My main focus is probably going to be downsizing, and getting some house repairs and improvements done once it is safer to let people in the house. However, my expectations are lower about actually being able to move away from here. For one thing, I see how much rent is in places in the US where I’d like to live. Good God. We can’t afford that. It is more than our house payments were! Portugal is still my hope but I’m not sure that I will be able to get the house sold and packed up if Sandy’s health issues do not get resolved or worsen. (And Sandy needs to raise the rent on his condo for sure!)

I’m not going to waste effort on food gardening. Other people can feed the groundhogs.

I’d like to get back to weaving strips of cloth since that seems to be the most relaxing and satisfying thing that I could do. Make some books and use up a lot of my supplies. Get my Etsy shop up and running again. Sell collage packs. I wonder if I can sell old copies of Handwoven and Cloth Paper Scissors and Quilting Arts magazines on Etsy? I’ll have to check. If not, maybe on Ebay.

I hope that Leslie Marsh will do some more workshops at her home/studio at Topsail Beach. I bought her online class for making a tiny book necklace with metal covers, but I have a hard time following through on online classes. I ordered some supplies for soldering. I’m nervous about this one because of my klutziness, but it will be a good skill to master. The book that I made in Leslie’s in person class is one of the nicest books I ever made.

Maybe Kevin will invite me to participate in his home studio show next year. He likes my collage work.

Most of all, I desperately want to get over my artist’s block. To have all this time at home and feel so frozen is incredibly frustrating. I made a couple more masks yesterday, and I’m going to finish up the others today so that I can move on to something else. I have so many online classes on deck that it is crazy. I don’t even remember how many, so I am working on a list. I will need to add one more…after watching MaryBeth Shaw do a live Facebook art journaling session last night, I bought another one called 21 Secrets. And then I remembered that I bought an online class from MaryBeth this summer that I never finished! This is getting out of control.

Coronavirus Chronicles, yearly wrap-ups

2020 Wrap up

Well, there won’t be anything exciting in this post, as you might guess. But it is a tradition for me.

In January, I only posted once, on New Year’s Day, with my aspirations for the year ahead. Of course, nobody could see what was coming. Sandy retired on Dec. 31, so this was his first year of retirement. I moved my studio from the front room to the dining room and bedroom, and the front room became our living room again. This meant that I purged a lot of stuff, but of course, it has still not been enough.

In February, I posted a lot! I was really into collage, and was traveling to Chapel Hill to meet with a small group from the Triangle Book Arts group who were doing an online class with Melinda Tidwell. I was also working on a caterpillar tapestry for the ATA Renditions exhibition, an unjuried small format tapestry exhibition done in conjunction with the Handweavers Guild of America’s Convergence every two years. I was getting together with new friends that I made through the Tiny Pricks Project. I was also very depressed, but that’s nothing new, especially in an election year. We saw Gordon Lightfoot in concert. We voted for Bernie. I got a haircut in February, and unfortunately rescheduled my massage appointment because I felt sick. I haven’t had either since. My friend Jeanne expressed concern on Facebook about her husband getting pneumonia. It turned out to be Co-vid.

March 2020: The shutdown. I finished the caterpillar tapestry and was still going strong on the collage. We went to our last social outings for a long time: a seafood dinner at Full Moon Oyster Bar and an Irish band at Oden Brewing. Then UNCG and the state of North Carolina shut down for several weeks to allow the health system to catch up before the full brunt of the virus got ahead of their capabilities. I started working from home on March 19. Diego had major dental surgery. I was trying to start seeds inside. At that point I still hoped that I’d go to Ireland even though the retreat had been rescheduled to 2021. The Topsail Beach workshops and Convergence in Knoxville were still on. I thought that I’d be able to get a lot of artwork done and did some online Facebook activities with Crystal Neubauer.

Jeanne’s husband did not make it. His death from Co-vid made me understand secondhand how terrible this disease was, both on the person and on their loved ones.

April 2020: Gave up on seed starting under the grow light. I started sewing some masks. I tried to tie on the next set of warp threads to the previous threading on the Macomber loom, but had too much trouble with the knots going through the heddles and pulled it all out. I noodled around on my Beka rigid heddle loom, using the warp threads to weave useful things like dish towels, but also wild Saori style stuff. One day, maybe this weekend, I will cut them all off.

May 2020: Reality bites. Bought plants from Weatherhand Farm at the drive through farmers’ market. Spent a lot of time on the front porch and moping. Started baking sourdough bread like everybody else was doing. I eventually let this go.

June 2020 began with posting about the George Floyd murder and protests. We spent a week at Lake Waccamaw during the time I was to go to Ireland. It was good to be with my sister and her husband. I did some of Roxanne Stout’s Notebook Journeys class, and some more collages with Crystal, but my artwork pretty much ground to a halt after this. Fireworks going off nearby in the middle of the night every damn night. I am glad that we don’t have a dog.

In July, I finally finished this collage, “Illustrated Question Box”. See the top photo for the beginning of this one. I mounted it on a wooden panel and I’m very pleased with it. I decided to work from the lake house for two weeks since the wi-fi there is actually better than the wi-fi here, and it helped me to have some solitude and to see my sister. And boy, did I have a lot of work to do, with our history class schedule going almost completely online or in hybrid format.

In August, I began working in my office on Fridays. I set up my workspace at home ergonomically and actually starting feeling better physically than I have in years, as far as my back and neck and hands go. Sandy and I took a road trip to Town Creek Indian Mound, which was reconstructed under the supervision of my grand-nephew’s grandfather, Joeffre Lanning Coe. I enjoyed taking photos on a hike through the woods there.

Went back to the lake in September, then a few days at an AirBnB near Sparta, North Carolina. We went to Stone Mountain State Park on the way. We were either brave or foolish enough to eat inside a few restaurants during this month. At the time that area didn’t have a lot of infections. It was an extremely red area and there were lots of Trump signs.

We hunkered down in October. My friend Pat Bush died. She had been sick with various ailments for so long. I harvested the “beautiful beans” that she gave me the seed for. I finished another collage, and did a fun collage workshop with Leighanna Light online. And I began writing about my fixation on moving to Portugal.

In November, I was all about Portugal and finishing moving the photos from Flickr to WordPress. I was obsessed. It was easier than thinking about what was happening in this country. I signed up for three more online workshops, all of which I took in person from the artist in some form, and I’ve barely looked at them. Susanne and I got together on the deck outside her studio and dyed and leaf printed some papers to go into our books. I made more masks for gifts. We ordered a take out Thanksgiving dinner from Deep Roots Market. No family gatherings this holiday season.

I’m not even sure that I need to recap December, as it was mostly about me finishing the Flickr move and worrying over Sandy’s health. More obsessing over Portugal. When will we be able to travel overseas again? Staying awake at night thinking about what I can get rid of, what I will try to take with me, how will the cats adjust…and will we even be able to do it by the time that I retire in May 2023?

It will be interesting to compare what I write tomorrow against the yearly wrap-up for 2021. Who knows what could happen? Nothing surprises me after this year.