coffee pot posts, critters

Labor Day morning – the porch

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The snail is my souvenir from the gift shop at Trerice from our trip to Cornwall in 2017.

Pablocito being allowed to occupy the top bunk on the cat tree is a new development. Just the other day there was fur flying on the porch over it, and he did not seem to be winning.

I’ve had a good weekend, and almost finished painting the framework on the porch. According to my Facebook memories, I began this on Labor Day last year so today is a good day to finish it up. Sandy and I worked on purging and cleaning the laundry/junk/catbox room yesterday. I hope to fill up the garbage can to put on the curb on Thursday.

There’s petrichor in the air.

I used tomatoes and peppers from the container garden in my spaghetti sauce last night.

I didn’t wake up with a headache this morning.

I got a good solid night’s sleep last night.

coffee pot posts, critters

Tuesday morning

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Time to get the dehydrator out for the cherry tomatoes.

Much better spirits this week, all the way around. I’m working from home this morning but I don’t have much to do other than social media and email answering. I have an eye doctor appointment right after lunch and then a therapist appointment. I need the eye appointment, the therapy not so much today, but I’ll go anyway just to stay on track.

I had a real breakthrough on my bird phobia! Bernie got out of the cage and he was trying to get  in on the back side of the cage beside the wall. He had pretty much worn himself out and I went into the room and said to Sandy, “I think that I can catch him.” And without thinking about it much, I did, bare-handed. He nipped me the first time and I lost my grasp on him, mainly because I was holding him more loosely that I realized, and then he flew behind the computer monitor and I caught him again. This time he drew blood and held on and I had to disengage his claws from the computer wires, but I didn’t let go and I got him back into the cage. After this, I won’t be afraid if I have to hold him again. It was painful, but nothing that I can’t get over quickly.

We are going down to the lake this weekend and a few friends are going. My sister and brother-in-law should be there too. He’s out of the hospital and feeling pretty good. They are both making plans and a bucket list, and right now they just want to have some fun. Friends are cooking and bringing supplies to make paste papers and I’m bringing my stash of stencils so I should come home with a nice stack of decorative papers for bookmaking. Making paste papers is just plain fun and calming…I spent three days doing pretty much nothing but paste papers with Albie Smith on my 50th birthday at An Artful Journey.

I finished reading A Game of Thrones and it whetted my appetite for more fantasy/sci-fi, so it’s hard to go back to my reading list as it stands now. What I’ve been trying to do is read the books on my shelves and then putting them in the local little free libraries in an effort to downsize. Sandy took a huge box to the used bookstore for credit, but they give us so little in return that it is hardly worth the effort. I took a big bag to my favorite indy bookseller who sells out of a refurbished school bus and donated them. Right now I am trying to read The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash but I need something lighter. I found a signed first edition in a LFL and in my old life I would keep it but I’m trying to get out of book collecting. It’s a tough thing to leave behind!

We are almost at the end of the first season of Sweet Tooth on Netflix and I am enjoying that despite the apocalyptic nature of it cutting a bit too close to the bone.

I moved most of my home office back to my real office since we have returned to a semi-normal schedule. It’s nice to have some room back in my studio.

The mini-calla lily bloomed but I had to prop it up.

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coffee pot posts, critters

Saturday afternoon

Hydrangeas on my walk to work

I’m getting more used to this new WordPress editor system – I don’t think that it is very intuitive but by experimenting and doing a lot of drafts I’m beginning to get the hang of it. What I really dislike is that when I go back to edit a page often it gives me “block error” messages and I have no idea what it means. I keep reopening the edit page in different ways and eventually I get it to load. I’ve been working on the Tapestry Weavers South website and making artist pages for the members as they send in information and photos. In doing so, I found the slideshow block so I’m playing with that for my page now.

Today I got up to feed the cats and went back to bed. When I woke up it was 10:40 and Sandy and I hustled to get to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market before it closed at 11:30. We have not been there in a long time. I bought from three different vendors: Zephyr squash, white potatoes, and flat green beans. I meant to buy shrimp but the market was closing down and I had a headache from rushing out without my coffee. I’ve had my caffeine and acetaminophen now but I’m not quite over it.

In the past year, too often have I bought fresh produce and then let it rot in the fridge. The cooking muse not only left me, I wonder if she died of Covid. I wonder if she is ever coming back. Pretty weird for a blogger who used to focus on fresh and local food, huh?

I did a little bit of weaving on the lake tapestry though.

I have since added another black spot and wonder if I should take them out and tone them down a bit. Funny because in my brain I was excited about these three little black spots. I will sit with this one for another day or so. It is really hard for me to unweave given that it takes me so long to weave anything these days.

Thursday was my last day working from home because of the pandemic, if all goes well. My coworkers will take vacation days in July so I will be in the office without much to do for a while. I am going to take two long weekends, one to return to Lake Waccamaw and another to go to Topsail Beach for a book workshop with Dan Essig at Leslie Marsh’s studio.

Sandy and I have gotten out and about this week. He is still going to his water exercise classes every morning. I have been walking more and interacting with my neighbors more. We had delicious jambalaya and shrimp and grits at Elm St. Grill Wednesday night, and sat outside at Oden Brewing eating sloppy Chinese dumplings from Chirba Chirba Dumpling truck and listening to music. Last Sunday we went to the Artists Over 50 potluck at the former site of Healing Ground, now known as Penns Grove Retreat. I showed my tapestry of the labyrinth there and my lake tapestry in progress and said a few words about them. This is the group that we joined a few months before everything shut down. I hope to show some of my collage work in their shows.

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This afternoon Sandy scheduled massages with the students at Kneaded Energy for both of us. I texted my former massage therapist, and sadly, that is over. Her studio (A to Zen) shut down and I am not sure if she is going back to massage.

Pablocito relaxes on the front porch
Diego being extra cuddly one evening.
critters, Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, Wilmington

Lake Waccamaw, June 2021

This time, Sandy came with me and friends visited for a few days. The weather could not have been more perfect – low humidity and in the low 80s most of the time. We turned off the air conditioning after the first two nights and didn’t turn it on again until the day we left. It felt like the old days with fans whirring all over the house.

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As usual, the lake provided us with a few stunning sunsets and lots of gator sightings. All gators were well behaved and stayed in the canal on the other side of the road.

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One day Susanne and Susan and I played with fibery things on the back porch while Joseph played the dulcimer on the old glider. I didn’t get much done on my tapestry because of my eyesight problems and the super close sett on this weaving. We went to Pierce Hardware and Dale’s Seafood, so they got the local flavor of the place.

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After Susanne and Joseph left, my sister and brother-in-law and Susan went with us to Indochine in Wilmington. It’s a bit of a drive, but oh so worth it.

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I didn’t do much walking, but I did go for a swim one day and Susan kayaked. Tim picked us all up on the pontoon boat one afternoon and that is always a treat. Susan is laughing because she just retired as a big rig truck driver and we made her drive the boat.

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Even though there was the threat of Tropical Storm Claudette, it was mostly a lot of wind by the time it got to us. The lake is way down because of drought, so we had hoped for more rain. We spent a quiet weekend with naps on the gliders and zombie TV and ate with my family, then packed and drove home on Monday. It was a much needed mental and physical rest for both of us.

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Back Forty, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters, depression/anxiety, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

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^Statue on the corner of Walker and Elam Avenues, Greensboro, NC

It’s still comfortably cool on the front porch, but according to the weather forecast it will be turning to summer temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s soon. Dry, too, with some drought concerns beginning to pop up. When I was at the lake last time, the water was already pretty low.

Both of us have been in better spirits this week. Sandy is going to the Aquatic Center for water exercise classes and swimming laps, and he started the steroids on Thursday. He will be on them for a month and then the doctor switches him to something else.

I’m kind of craving a steroid shot in my wrist again since of course I have overdone it with the yard work and otherwise usually holding a book, Kindle, or phone in my hand until my Dequervain’s tendinitis in my left wrist has flared up and my carpal tunnel has flared up in my right wrist. So I’m typing this with two different kinds of wrist braces on, and will try to hold back on the gardening and weeding this weekend. However, this pain is old news to me and even though it is distressing (I had surgery on the left wrist 8 years ago) I don’t struggle with it as much mentally as I used to.

I bought some more tomato and pepper plants at Deep Roots Market on Sunday afternoon and planted them into the pots: Pink Brandywine tomatoes, hot banana peppers, and jalapenos. Then when we popped into the Bestway for a couple of things I noticed that they had a small pot of sweet basil with lots of seedlings crammed into it for $2.99. They are not particularly happy now that I’ve pulled them apart and planted them, but I didn’t really expect them to be. If I get two healthy ones out of the dozen or so that are in there, I win.

We both had massages Monday night and the therapist, who teaches it at the local community college so knows her stuff, basically said that I needed more work that one hour could handle. Ha.

Late Tuesday afternoon I saw my therapist for the first time since November, 2018, when the election results helped calm me down for a while. I told her that I was seeing her on my best day in at least two years and I couldn’t make the appointment to get help earlier because I was too depressed to do it. Such a vicious cycle, depression and agoraphobia. I really like her and was happy that I started it up again. There was also a nice surprise – my insurance doesn’t even charge a co-pay now. I don’t know how long that lasts, but yay.

Anyway, the point is that Sandy and I are both busy getting our shit together and back to living the best life possible. I have a podiatrist appointment on Monday, too, so new shoes will probably be in my future. We both need to do a bit of clothes shopping.

We are planning our summer – in two weeks we go up the road to Elkin, NC, for my Tapestry Weavers South retreat. I’ll be taking a tapestry design course from Tommye Scanlin on that Monday and Tuesday.

Speaking of Tommye, I set up a Bookshop of my own and right now I am featuring tapestry design books. I get a small commission, and a book wholesaler, Ingram, hosts the sites. It’s a way to support local bookstores and publishers online without going through Amazon. You can buy Tommye’s book “The Nature of Things: Essays by a Tapestry Weaver” or pre-order her upcoming book “Tapestry Design Basics and Beyond” there. The link is on my sidebar and also here: Slow Turn Books. I ordered “The Nature of Things” from my shop and it arrived within a week – what a lovely book! I have ordered from Boomerang Bookshop as well, and the entire Bookshop website is fun to search.  You can order from many independent bookstores there.

I will be adding more book lists as the summer goes on – probably focused on the fiber art/mixed media/collage artists who I’ve taken courses from and love the most. I’m not trying to compete with any bookstores or make any money off this – just promote the books and art that I love and have some fun. I miss my bookstore days, but I don’t miss the poverty wages.

Here’s a wildlife shot: The mighty cougar stalks his prey.

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critters

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Okay, here goes.

I was getting ready to drive down to Lake Waccamaw for several days, see my sister and brother-in-law and work remotely from the lake house. I put it off until tomorrow because of a dinner invitation (!!!) and my sister reports incoming mayflies. That is normal for this time of year, and I don’t think it is going to make a difference in my decision since I can sit on the screened porch looking out at the lake, but I do enjoy sitting on the edge of the lake unless it is in a swarm of mayflies or midges. I usually do a Easter visit every year but we missed this year because of Sandy’s health issues. (Update: I just had a crown come off a molar, so I guess I will go to the dentist on Monday instead. Damn it.)

Sandy will stay here. Apparently the lab results are back but the doctors haven’t looked at them and Sandy needs to make an appointment. He has been busy because YAY! He sold the condo! As is, a little over tax value. I am so glad to have this burden off our backs. It seemed like every time we went out of town for more than a couple of days something major would go wrong at the condo. This last renter was okay, but we have had a couple of nightmare renters in the past, including one who we had to evict who stopped paying rent and then trashed the place. This condo was my mother-in-law’s residence in the late 80s/early 90s.

Anyway, he is heading now out the door to meet the buyer and do the transfer. The buyer has a real estate license so hopefully this will be quick and simple. A friend recommended him so we feel pretty good about it.

This week’s other big news for us is that we adopted another parakeet. Meet Senorita Frida.

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A farmer friend of mine posted this photo on Facebook after she was found in her chicken tractor! So I wrote to her and told her that Bernie could use a budgie friend if she didn’t find the owner. Fortunately we did not get rid of the other big cage that we bought for Bernie and Liz, the one we bought before Sandy ordered the HUGE cage for them. Miss Frida is isolated in the next room over from Bernie for a month, then we will move her close to Bernie, then transfer her into his cage.

She is tame, although a bit traumatized and angry. Right now she is very active.  She likes hearing the budgie video and chirps and climbs around the walls of the cage, so I think that she will be fine. She has been very tired. We have no idea of how old she is, but she is definitely an adult. She and Diego gaze at each other calmly and so she seems to have no fear of cats. This is probably not a problem with Diego, as he went to the shelter at a week old and didn’t learn about hunting, but it is a problem with Pablocito, who has jumped at Bernie’s cage a few times. Bernie figured out a while back that he is safe from the cats in his cage, but if Pablocito jumps at the cage Frida is in, it is much more lightweight and he could knock it to the floor. So he needs to be kept out of that room.

Anyway, as I have said before, we are accidental parakeet people. Bernie and Liz were rescues from a relative who had them in a very small cage and they seemed to be an afterthought to him. We do not like the idea of birds in cages, and we don’t want to contribute to the pet bird industry. Sandy has enjoyed the keets and my fondness for them is growing. It is nice to have a tame one, although we haven’t handled her yet because we are trying to give her a little time to adjust to her new home.

bloggy stuff, coffee pot posts, critters, More gardening, Reading, Wildflowers

Good Friday 2021

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^^^My favorite flowers are multiplying well.

I dislike this new WP block editing mess. I have fooled around with pressing different buttons and got the text editor bar to appear, but I’m not sure that I could find it again. It is under Options/Visual Editor/Block and I unclicked all the buttons except Classic. Now I can’t find that again. Good luck, friends, who also relied on the classic editor, that is the best hint that I can give you. I suppose that I will figure it out eventually. I switched the Tapestry Weavers South site over to WordPress because I liked the interface here, grrr. Now, at a time when I am stressed out over having to learn too many new software platforms at work, WordPress throws its hat in the stress ring. Anyway, I guess it was inevitable and I will get used to it.

Mama always planted her garden on Good Friday. I planned to plant a few lettuce and borage seeds today, nothing major, but we had a hard freeze early this morning and will have another tonight, so I’m going to wait. They will go into the containers in the front so that I can protect them from being eaten by critters.

Here are some of my favorite flowers from the front garden: bloodroot, grape hyacinth, and dandelion. There are lots of Lenten roses also, but I am not so fond of them anymore. They reseed like crazy and I think that I’m going to have to dig up a lot of them.

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The groundhog is definitely back and I haven’t seen Robbie Rabbit lately. I would not be surprised if Robbie became dinner for a fox family, since there have been many red fox sightings in the neighborhood. Robbie was never very careful.

Sandy had his muscle biopsy yesterday and he is sleeping right now. I imagine by now the numbing medication that the surgeon put into the incision has worn off and I haven’t spoken to him yet this morning. He has a two inch incision that they closed with waterproof super glue! We are amused that his surgeon’s name is Dr. Martin. I hope that we get some answers from this and that it is not super expensive, since there was anesthesia involved. Sandy was in fine spirits yesterday, very alert on leaving the hospital, and focused on eating, as usual. He is taking some good pain meds, but he doesn’t like to take meds. I mean, if this condition turns out to be toxicity from taking statins for years, who could blame him. However, he is still convinced that it is all due to his shingles. I am anxious to get the results of the biopsy.

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^^^I want this shrub. It was blooming at the hospital.

A big front came through and blew a lot of the cherry blossoms into drifts. Last weekend, with the help of our neighbors, we got the Honda Fit battery charged up and running. I am going to clean the inside soon and see if I can get the musty smell out of the carpet with enzyme shampoo.

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See that brick wall? That is where I plant my lettuce. The old bird cage keeps the birds and squirrels out. When we get the steps rebuilt, I guess that will need to be rebuilt as well. It certainly needs a good cleaning and paint job, but I will wait. You can see how close the houses are in this neighborhood. My neighbor is back from Tanzania and his wife and son will be back from Thailand very soon. They are good neighbors and it is fun to watch his son play.

In the meantime, we received our 2020 tax refund and it included the $600 stimulus for both of us. We are still waiting for the big 2019 tax refund and the latest stimulus checks. I went ahead and booked the rest of my flight and saw that I could get a decent deal on the same flights for Sandy, and then went ahead and bought him tickets too.

I think that I’ll save this chat about the trip to Ireland for a separate post. It’s exciting.

Reading: “Holy Fools” by Joanne Harris. So far I am intrigued by it.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters

Saturday morning coffee pot post

It has been a real roller coaster week.

Last Sunday, Porfirio and his work partner began clearing out the back yard of the wood chunks and the vines invading from everywhere. They took down small trees that had popped up and were covered in English ivy and grapevines and wisteria. The vines were crawling over the roof of the building in the back. They worked their way around the border of the lot without needing reminders of what to do or asking a lot of unnecessary questions or proposing to do something else rather than the task I had laid out for them. Only cost me $400 and Porforio is going to do the maintenance on the back and side yards.

I cannot tell you how much this relieves me. And because Porfirio has worked for my friends for years, I know that he is really this great and it is not going to change on a whim.

Workwise, it was, and has been, very stressful because of egregious communication and decision making at higher levels. At one point I took off my headphones during a Zoom “training” meeting and stormed into another room and vented about the person leading to meeting to Sandy. I came back and noticed that I had not muted myself, and then I hit mute (my video was already off) and cried like a baby. I had such a panic attack that I didn’t get much of the rest of the meeting, but the little that got through was obviously not useful. Anyway, I doubt that anybody heard me, and like a co-worker told me, if they did, they probably all agreed with me.

I constantly try to remind myself of how great my job is, but meetings like that are so incredibly frustrating that I can’t wait to retire. I just wonder sometimes if I am going to last another two years before I either get fired for going off on someone or get carried away in a straitjacket.

Sandy’s rheumatologist appointment was on Thursday afternoon. We like the doctor very much – I had to participate by speaker phone, though. He looked at Sandy’s lab work, did some more tests and a chest x-ray, and is going to arrange for Sandy to have a muscle biopsy, which has to be done by a surgeon in the outpatient surgery center. He is pretty sure of a diagnosis but the muscle biopsy will confirm if Sandy has polymyositis. It can be treated but it is a chronic disease. He said that Sandy needs to get vaccinated ASAP because the treatment will include immune system suppressing medications, since polymyositis is an auto-immune disease.

So even though this isn’t exactly good news, at least we have a plan moving forward and that is somewhat of a relief.

You can feel the hope rising in the air as more people are getting vaccinated. Of course we will still have to do all the pandemic things until most of us are there, since the vaccinated can get catch and transmit the virus, but we’ll no longer have to worry about getting so sick that we will have to be hospitalized or die.

I was vaccinated with the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine yesterday afternoon. So far I have a bit of a headache, but I normally have a headache this time of year anyway. My arm is only a tad sore, which is a bit surprising since that guy jabbed me hard and seemed to wiggle it a bit. I jumped and yelped a little and only gasped once. It’s important for me to keep my breathing steady because I get vasovagal syncope and I hate fainting in public much worse that I hate needles. Because of that I had to sit for thirty minutes afterwards, but I was fine. The shingles shot was much, much worse, and I still have the second shot of that to look forward to in late April.

Sandy tried to get a vaccination appointment all day yesterday, even driving to the Coliseum to talk to the people out there about what to do. He was not successful, but last night as I was going through my email, there was an article from WFDD (our local public radio station) about how to get an appointment, and I followed a link and HALLELUJAH, Sandy now has an appointment next Saturday evening for the one dose J&J in the drive through FEMA clinic that is being set up next week in Greensboro.

The weather was beautiful this week and we have enjoyed being out on the front porch. Today is the beginning of cooler weather, and we may go to a friend’s house and sit on their back deck for brunch.

Yesterday, this guy sat on a neighbor’s fence for most of the afternoon. I think that it is a juvenile red shouldered hawk. I just hope that he doesn’t kill my favorite bunny who hangs out between our house and the house next door.

I hope to be able to go to the lake for Easter weekend and hug my sister and brother-in-law.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, critters, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

This time, in the morning!

I am waiting for Porfirio to come this morning to clean up this HUGE MESS in the Back Forty. He has worked for a couple of my friends for years, and they absolutely love him. He gave me a great price on this job, and will do the maintenance work for me after the big areas are taken care of. I say “huge” and “big” but our back yard is actually pretty small.

And here he is!

I guess that I won’t be calling it the Back Forty any more. Just my little garden in the back. I’m going to keep up the beds at the side fence and the one that Justin made for me next to the fig tree, and probably move my herb garden back to it. It will be a job that I will putter away at as the days get warmer. But my days of big urban food gardening are over. I’ll plant some more asparagus, since the groundhogs leave that alone, and leeks and onions. I’ll plant some tomatoes and peppers in the side beds and in containers.

The two-decade fight over the back yard design will be over because I am compromising and letting Sandy have a grass lawn in the area that is not my garden. I am done arguing about it and it might help us sell the house. And now I will be hiring someone to mow it. I (and others that I have confided in) have NEVER understood why he so disliked my garden, especially at the height of its beauty. I mean, there was even a big newspaper feature about it!

But, whatever. I am done with it. I can’t fight off the groundhogs and take care of all that anyway. Moving the herb garden will give me a doable project to focus on.

We saw this tree with a ribbed texture on our walk last Sunday. I wonder what it is and if that is normal?

Pablocito has been getting too much camera time, so here is Diego trying to take a nap. He doesn’t much like the camera.

This weekend I am making chili and we are going to Office Depot to try to find an office chair that Sandy will be happy with. He spends a lot of time in that chair and his is worn out. It reminds me of Martin’s chair on Frasier. Yes, it is that bad. He’s been trying to make it last until after the pandemic but it is falling apart.

Since I managed to get laundry done over the course of this week, and a bit of cleaning, I am going to try really hard to do something that is fun for me this weekend.

I finished “Gentlemen and Players” by Joanne Harris this week and I absolutely loved it. The fastest I have read a book in a long, long time. Now I’m reading “Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout, and seeing why it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters, depression/anxiety, Reading

Saturday noon coffee pot post


^^^In a front yard on this street.

Well, it’s been a week, all right. Many, many thoughts are tumbling around in my head. I am an INTJ personality type, so my thing is contingency planning. There are so many unknowns right now that it has put my brain into hyperdrive.

Sandy got his lab work done on Monday, and he was asked to go back and give more blood and urine for additional tests on Wednesday. He can’t drive on the pain meds that he is on, and so I drove and sat in the car. When the N.P. called about his results, it was scary. There were some good things, like his A1C is way down to 6.1, which put him at pre-diabetic level. That’s great. His kidney functions are fine. But his CK reading, which measures muscle deterioration and weakness, was extreme, and he tested positive for RA. That indicates an auto-immune disease. So, now he has an appointment with a rheumatologist in two weeks. I wish that it could be immediate because although his shingles are much better, his muscle weakness and inflammation markers got worse even between Monday and Wednesday.

I made the mistake of looking up what his CK scores might mean on a couple of reputable medical websites. Hoo boy.

So all kinds of possibilities are going through my frenzied mind. I am not the nurturing type, and of course I have my own problems. I honestly thought I was going to have a – what? what do you call it now? – nervous breakdown? intense depressive episode? nervous exhaustion? There was a day when I thought that I would quit, and I called my sister and she talked sense into me. Last week I had a lot to do. Some of it got done, some of it didn’t. What did had mistakes, which I opened a work email about this morning. But I am being kind to myself and reassuring myself that I can’t do my best at the moment, but I’m doing the best I can.

Some of what is going through my head is that I need to go ahead and hire someone now to help with the yard clean-up, and to install a handrail on the front steps. Then I need to get estimates on rebuilding those steps so that they are not dangerous, and we may possibly need to build a ramp. There is room if I move my herb garden to the back yard.

This also means that our trip to Portugal in September may not happen.

When I was at work yesterday, Sandy did not take pain meds and drove about 15 miles away to get take-out from one of his favorite restaurants. He managed to do it, but he was exhausted afterwards. He should not be driving, but I can’t stop him. I don’t think that he will do it again, but he can be stubborn about what he can and can’t do.

I did get my shingles vaccine last Sunday afternoon at Walgreens and my arm just stopped hurting almost a week later! The first two days were really bad. An ice pack helped a lot. It makes me dread the second dose, though. Some people say that they had worse side effects with the second one.

Pablocito and Diego caught a mouse last night. Well, Pablocito did and Diego crouched a few feet away, clearly fascinated. I saw what was happening but realized that there wasn’t much I could do about it, so I went back to bed. I found the mouse wrapped in a throw rug this morning. It probably died of the stress. The last time this happened I tried to rescue the mouse and I put it outside on the back steps, but it died out there. Oh well, the wheel of life. It is good to have a mouser. I just wish he would go after the palmetto bugs that sometimes invade the house.

Now that my arm doesn’t hurt so much, I’m going to weave some tapestry. Really. The weather is getting better, thank God, so as it gets warmer we’ll be spending more time on the front porch. Getting out and puttering in the yard during the two nice days we had last week did me a lot of good. I walked around the block, and talked to my neighbors in person and my friends and sister on the phone.

Reading: finished “The Silver Swan” by Benjamin Black (aka John Banville). He is a rather bleak writer because his characters tend to be lonely or twisted, but he writes masterful descriptive prose – almost at the level of Annie Proulx. So many descriptions of smoking. I guessed the ending of this “mystery” from the beginning, and there were parts of the book that I wondered why they were in there at all. I enjoyed the setting of 50s Dublin, though. He mentioned my favorite pub that we visited on our last trip there: The Cock Tavern in Howth.

On Kindle I am reading Rebecca Solnit’s “Men Explain Things to Me.” It has made me remember all the sexism I endured in my younger days, especially at work. These days, I feel pretty good about that area of my life, but what astonishes me is how much I put up with because I felt like either no one who could do anything about it cared, or that I was somehow responsible for it.

As for fiction, I’m not sure what is next, yet. Maybe “Gentleman and Players” by Joanne Harris. I have so much to choose from! Almost every book I read gets put into a box to donate or sell, and I am beginning to see some spaces on my bookshelves for the first time in years. Whether we end up moving from this house or not, I want to clear out some clutter.