Blather, crocheting, depression/anxiety, Obsession

Underwater

Rain, rain, rain. Puddles everywhere. That’s how we roll in North Carolina – drought or drowning, seldom in between. For years I have remembered my birthday as being in the season of mud, so it must be usual for February. We sandbagged the basement entrance again.

I am in an odd mood this week. Probably because I am not drinking and I started a diet yesterday. An actual diet plan, with an app, not my usual hey, I know how to eat healthy and I’ll just do that. I do know how to eat healthy, but it is not helping my weight and cholesterol issues. I kept seeing an ad for Noom, and decided to try it.

So now I’m eating SUPER DUPER healthy. With a calorie counter and a pedometer. And I am hungry and miss my cheese and peanut butter! Ah well. It must be done.

Underwater. That’s how I feel.

The weaving project is going well. I’m still plugging away at it and I hope to have the second curtain panel done by the end of the weekend, since the forecast is MORE RAIN. It is great to be able to weave standing up at my Macomber loom. I’m very glad that I decided to keep it. I should sell my Baby Wolf, though. It is just collecting junk on top. Once I get that tapestry off the Shannock loom (don’t ask an ETA for that, please) I will consider selling or trading it also.

I ripped out the entire 2019 Tunisian crochet weather scarf, charted all the high temperature data for Greensboro (the airport) for 2018, redid my color scheme a bit, and started over with a 2018 scarf. It goes more smoothly than doing a day at a time. I was very surprised that our highest temperature for last year was 95. That cut out two colors from my scheme so I shifted them all down one and rearranged a couple of other colors that made more design sense to me. The results are more pleasing and logical to me, and you know, logic is a prime concern for me. It will be interesting to me to compare the 2018 and 2019 scarves. This project punches all my OCD buttons so I have to make myself take breaks. Thank God for work or my hands would be aching by now!

Even though I have avoided the greenhouse, I started some arnica, calendula, and a variety of lettuce seeds indoors a few days ago. I bought a little pot of parsley at a grocery store about a month ago and it had probably two dozen seedlings crammed in there, so I separated the strongest ones and replanted them in the planter by the front steps.

There are too many things that I want to do, too many books to read, too many places where I want to travel.

There is a faint dread underlying my days, and I am trying to keep it from bubbling up. Perhaps re-engaging in political discussion and reading has not been the best decision. But how can I not? And there has been a few bright spots, although these bright spots often are relief that something awful is being undone, when it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I have no trust in anything any more since the 2016 election. I know that anything can happen, no matter how crazy and illogical. It is a surreal world, and I feel underwater.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, Solar energy

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I don’t think that there will be photos in this post. I’m just going to sip coffee and write about random stuff for a little while.

My birthday is tomorrow and I will be 58. Maybe it is because my job requires me to plan one year ahead but I’ve been thinking that I am 58 for several months now. I guess this year I will be thinking that I am 59. Retirement has been on both Sandy and my minds for quite some time. He is probably going to retire this year. I will see if I can retire at 62 so that we can do some retirement stuff together before he gets too much older. I will probably work part time or get temp jobs. We are lucky that I “should” be able to do this because I will have a pension and insurance from being a state employee. We’ll see as the time gets closer.

It baffles me that I am this old. Maybe everyone feels this way. I never had children and for years I was the youngest one in any group I hung out in (still am in some groups). I don’t generally feel the social constraints that I might feel if I was a parent or grandparent. But as I’ve said before, I have never felt that I really belonged here anyway. I feel at home with my artist friends but I seldom get to see them. They are either too busy with work or family or they live far away. Or I cocoon myself away to protect myself from hurt and bolster my energy and don’t make the effort I should to be a good friend. Introvert behavior in an extrovert world.

Low spirits this week with nightmares, an anniversary of a tragic event, and a political world emergency. My blood work came back and my cholesterol levels are the highest ever. I have to get my butt in gear or very likely have to give in to taking statins. At least for a little while. I’m going to try an Ayurvedic supplement called triphala in the next three months and pay attention to my diet again. Pescetarianism suits me pretty well, and I am a tofu/tempeh fan.

I also unfollowed and left a couple of liberal prepper groups on Facebook. I find them useful sources of information, but there is a lot of serious negativity and some wayout alarmist posts as well. I am sufficiently alarmed at humanity’s prospects already and don’t really need to uptick the anxiety.

The solar panels do make me feel like I am doing what I can in our little corner of the world. I refinanced them with my local credit union this week, along with an unexpected expense (new water heater). This is more expensive per month than what I had but it will force me to pay it off quicker and I feel more in control. The other financing was way too complicated – it turned out that the 0% for 18 months only applied to 2/3 of the loan. I was irritated about this misunderstanding and emailed the company about it. The owner of the company called me and sent me a check for 3% of the loan for the trouble I’ve gone to in setting up the first financing (a protracted, complicated pain in the ass) and refinancing. That was pretty damn impressive, and so I am again very happy with them. Duke Energy says they will be sending me a rebate check for 14% of the loan in the next few weeks, then I should get a 30% tax credit.

This weekend is a rainy one. I have not started any seeds yet! Today I am weaving and this afternoon will go to Gate City Yarns for the Tunisian crochet class and learn a couple more kinds of stitches.

Okay, back to weaving! Maybe I will post with photos tomorrow if I get around to taking any.

depression/anxiety, Festivus, Lake Waccamaw

Merry Christmas from the O’Neills!

Actually, we don’t really do Christmas in the good old Murican way any more. I’m much happier this way, and I think Sandy is too, as long as he gets to have Christmas with my sister and brother-in-law. We had a wonderful Festivus dinner with them at their rental house at Lake Waccamaw. Still too chilly to do any boat riding or pier sitting, but the sunset view was nice across the road. Lisa pinned Rascal on Christmas Eve morning so Festivus is officially over.

Today Sandy is working until 2, as he often does to let others have the morning off. He will be working the morning shift on New Year’s Day also, so I guess that means the Steampunk Ball in Saxapahaw is out for us this year, although he says he would deal with it if some friends decided to go. We enjoyed that last year.

We didn’t have a tree and I didn’t even bother to get the stockings or decorations out this year. Last year we strung up lights and two lighted Christmas balls on the front porch and never took them down, so I just plugged them in. Lights are my favorite part of Christmas anyway. I did not send cards. I am determined to unplug from the Christmas machine and do it in a non-commercial way. I am beginning to enjoy most Christmas music again, with the exception of very repetitive songs like Ring Christmas Bells and The Little Drummer Boy, which set my OCD a-twitchin’ and make me want to scream. I played bells in high school concert and marching bands and Christmas music is where I naturally got to shine. Sleigh Bells is one of my favorites because of this.

Being able to deal with holidays in my own way has been a key part of my mental health healing. It’s tough when your parents are gone or you have had other loss in your life. I’m not sure that you ever get over not having your parents during Christmas. I just saw a photo of Mama from Christmas five years ago in that house that a stranger calls home now and it was like a stab in the heart.

Anyway, I am nearly finished hand sewing the binding around the t-shirt quilt. I keep saying that it will be finished by this date or another, but I really think I will get it finished today. Then I will pull out all the quilting threads that are loopy or snarled and over time I will hand-quilt in those areas. I am very fond of this quilt. It is a nice weight and cozy. I doubt that I will ever do another one because ironing on all that interfacing was a big pain in the ass.

Once I finish that, I am busting out the big Macomber loom and warping it up. I’m also going to start back on the Cathedral tapestry. The tapestry diary is going to have to take a back seat, maybe for forever. It has negative connotations for me now. This tends to happen on the rare occasion that I weave a tapestry when I am severely depressed. If I manage to finish it, it is given away or rolled up and put in a closet. I was afraid that this might happen with the tapestry diary once I got my brain chemistry back in gear so I don’t see any point in finishing it now.

We have been invited to a Christmas party this afternoon at a retired history professor’s home, “to hang out with a diverse crowd for food and conversation.” I love this guy – he is known for showing up at music events all over the area and dancing by himself. So warping the loom may have to wait until tomorrow morning. I’m going to Susanne’s tomorrow afternoon for an afternoon doing creative stuff with the girls.

Then the rest of the week is gloriously free of any work, scheduling or obligation! I’ll do my annual yearly wrap-up blog post somewhere in there.

Merry Christmas, y’all.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety

Saturday Morning Coffee Pot Post

The title of this blog post was almost “The Vagina Couch” but I will leave that to your imagination, since I just want to make a journal entry and get crackin’ on some studio work/play. Also have to go stand in line at the post office to send a small package to Australia if I can find a post office that still opens on Saturday. Ew. Coffee first. You might not be interested at all in this post, so here’s a heads up that you could make your exit now. “The Vagina Couch” may appear another day.

So, the Thanksgiving holiday went okay. I did not have a mental breakdown after seeing the flooding damage to the two houses, and since most of the mountains of debris had been removed from Canal Cove Road it was not the shock that it could have been. Lisa’s house is still livable with some repair to reduce or eliminate the mold, and it is not the worst kind of mold so you can go in there for short periods of time. Even though the water was above her electrical outlets, her electricity works and the appliances and HVAC, although their lives are probably shortened, work. This proved to be fortunate when the water heater at her rental house burst on Thanksgiving night and since there was no cut-off valve the water had to be turned off. We ate leftovers on paper plates and took showers and washed dishes at the Canal Cove house. The next-door neighbor to the rental house had died and the house still had its water on, so we used the hose next-door to fill the toilets.

Good practice for prepping, I’d say. It also meant that the family dinner with my brother and sister-in-law was canceled, which I did not mind because I was exhausted from trying to sleep with my husband in a double bed for two nights. My grand-nephew decided to camp with his friend in the garage at the Canal Cove house, so I slept in his bed on the last night.

Anyway, one of my first actions when I came back was to buy three collapsible BPA-free 5.3 gallon water containers for our emergency supplies here. If you do nothing else in the area of disaster planning, you need to put aside plenty of water for your drinking, cooking, and cleaning. I’ve seen different amounts recommended, but 15 gallons per person per week is the one that I think is good. I’ve been storing water for cleaning and toilet flushing in sterilized glass apple juice jugs for a while, so these will be solely for drinking and cooking. Dehydrated food doesn’t go far if you don’t have clean water.

As the fires and earthquakes out west have proven, you never know when your whole life might be disrupted in minutes. Here, the main concern would be a tornado. One touched down in April three miles from our house and did a lot of damage in town. If it had been bigger or closer, that could have been a serious situation for us. You need to think about not only your property getting damaged, but also the infrastructure in your area going down.

So, as we buy emergency stores I am putting some aside for a Reverse Advent box that I am filling to donate to a food pantry for people in need. I have the box outside my office at work. Most people will be leaving for the winter break by the end of next week, but it is a gentle invitation to participate. I’m working on looking outward this Christmas season.

I almost used the word “trying” but I got a comment on Facebook saying to “do, not try” for something I plan to do today. I wanted to reach out to this guy and strangle him but he had a point, albeit a very rude one. How does he know what is going on with me? I didn’t reply, although it took a lot of “trying” to not do so.

Mama’s sewing machine is giving me fits, so I either need to clean and service it myself or take it to the repair place in town. I have detailed instructions in the manual, and I never heard my mother mention taking it out for service, so I assume she did it herself since she used it a LOT. This is a 1958 metal workhorse, and it is set in a cabinet so it is not so easy to move around. I have the supplies to clean and lube it so I got no excuse except laziness and anxiety. I dread the stupidest things.

Tomorrow I get my monthly massage. I decided to forego the monthly chiropractic adjustments. The last time I went I was charged a co-pay of 50 bucks for about 2-3 minutes of work. Anything else was extra. I have come out of my depression enough to realize that the reason I felt uncomfortable with this very friendly practice was because I felt more like a customer than a patient. My chiropractor of twenty years did not make me feel that way. He moved his practice about a hour and a half away. When I need it again, I’ll either make the trip or go to another chiropractor in town that I tried and liked. He cracked my neck in a way I didn’t like and doesn’t take insurance, but I can tell him NOT to crack my neck, and his fee is reasonable, especially since he gives you a vigorous massage to loosen up your muscles first. I need that, and I’m not paying extra for it.

However, I am feeling so much better physically and mentally. Such a relief to be over this extended period of major depression! Still tired at night, but not fatigued and mentally decimated. Having the election, Thanksgiving, and the selection of a department head has taken a lot of weight off my mind. Not my body, though, ugh. Getting back to my top weight after too much laying around and eating whatever is easiest. At least I didn’t revert to heavy drinking. I’m “trying” to be kinder. For example, I just listened to the man and his two sons at my front door who shared a brief Bible passage about dealing with grief.

He asked to come back next week, but I politely wished them a Merry Christmas and told them that was not necessary. Learned my lesson with the Mormons a while back.

After the massage, I go to the Triangle Book Arts holiday party. I don’t have much to show other than my workshop book from Sharon’s class, but they are a great group of people and worth the drive to Durham to celebrate the holidays with. I have a couple of big ideas for art books. The trick is putting the ideas in action.

I was between projects this week so I did a lot of research and planning and booked hotel rooms for our New Mexico trip in May. It’s ON, as my cousin said! She and her husband will be joining us and we are thrilled. I’ll get in a visit with my aunt also, which I wanted to do before too long. We didn’t visit in September like we usually do. We will visit Chaco Culture National Park on the way down from Colorado, but most of our time will be based in Santa Fe and we will explore outwards from there.

Okay, gotta go. Too much going on this weekend, and I want to get some studio time in while I still have spoons.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, fiber art, Permaculture, Slow cloth

Sunday midday coffee pot post

Sandy noticed this first – look what the Virginia creeper vine snagged from my rock collection at the front steps. Normally I would tear this vine down after it loses its pretty red leaves but I’m going to see how long it holds on to its booty. Love those little feet. I’ve made random weave baskets from Virginia creeper vine before.

This week has been fraught with emotions, since one of our students became so sick with anxiety that she had to drop out. Not only was it very sad, but I empathized so much. How many times did I think that this might be the time I would not be able to push through and get back to functional life? But I have, and I am grateful for it. When I was this student’s age, I self-medicated with lots of alcohol. That was not a good solution and not one that I choose these days. I know that I could not have gotten through graduate school at that age, despite having the smarts for it. However, I am in a good mood this weekend, so I hope that it is a permanent lift.

The t-shirt quilt hit a snag, quite literally. I think that I will get my Brother machine back out and see if it winds a Singer bobbin. My goal is to get all these panels put together somehow by the end of the day, even if it means with pins and hand basting. I want my floor loom and worktable free for other projects.

There are too many distractions here and I need to focus. I need a cook and a maid! We are getting caught up on house cleaning little by little. Sandy subscribed to one of those meal prep services that come by mail. If it will teach him to cook and he takes over some of that it might be worth it. We’ll see. I’m picky about the sources of my food but this is his expense and something he decided to do on his own, and I grew weary of cooking a long time ago.

Yesterday was a beautiful day after so much rain and I got into the garden and worked for a couple of hours, taking lots of breaks so that I don’t overdo it and undo my physical healing after many days of inactivity. I’ve gained several more pounds from my retreat to bed every night and eating too many sweets and peanut butter.

I pulled up all the tomato, squash, weeds, and annuals from the “permaculture” bed as I think of it. The guy who designed it intended for it to be heart-shaped. I think it looks vaguely like a heart, but more like a womb, which seems fitting. I didn’t plant it with permaculture principles in mind, though, and this year will be different. I’m going to keep those groundhogs in mind, and plant the womb with perennials and biennials and self seeding plants. I already have asparagus, elephant garlic, foxgloves and one artichoke there, along with a few plants that may or may not make it through the winter such as stevia. I have plants in the hugelkultur bed in the front such as hollyhock, evening primrose, coreopsis, and mints that I will move to the womb. And I will leave the the dandelions alone from here on out. They are important plants in the garden, pulling up nutrients from deep under the surface, breaking up the soil, edible, and food for the pollinators when not a lot of other flowers are available. (Although we have an enormous quantity of violets available as well.)

As I move these perennials out, a few will remain in my reconstructed hugelkultur bed. I am building it up and outwards where the potted plants were this year into a tiered bed for my culinary herbs, mostly. I’ll leave one hollyhock and a few taller flowers at the back. I have a pile of bricks that came from the chimney that fell down at the pre-Civil War homeplace at the family farm, and I decided to use them to make the terraces. I love objects with a story.

Everything will require more fertilizer this year. The few vegetable plants that survived the groundhogs suffered from blossom end rot. I’m going to get that greenhouse set up again soon. I’ve sent an email to ask to rent a plot at UNCG community garden again for my beans and okra. Hopefully they don’t have a groundhog problem there yet.

Thanksgiving is coming up and as usual we will celebrate Buy Nothing Day on Black Friday. We will drive to Lake Waccamaw and get together with my sister at her rental house if all goes well. It will be sad to drive along Canal Cove Road but we will check out the scene there. Lisa is still mulling over whether to replace the walls in her house and sell it or sell it as is. I heard that the house where we stay and love is irreparably damaged and will be torn down. My brother and his wife will probably join us for a meal on Saturday. I’m going to make my usual asparagus-mushroom-almond casserole.

Man, my Internet connection at home has been SO SLOW lately. I don’t know why, so I’ll just blame it on the oligarchy. Maybe when my electrical work gets done it will improve. They are going to replace everything from the pole to the house and some of the wiring in the attic in mid-December in preparation for our twelve solar panels. Right now it is driving me crazy as I try to upload photos. I received notice that Flickr is going to start charging me fifty bucks a year for photo storage, and I feel rather helpless to do anything but pay it since I have over 10k photos and videos on it. It would take an enormous amount of work to quit Flickr without most of my photos on the blog disappearing. Oh well. At some point I may have to stop paying the fee to not have ads on the blog to make up for it.

Time to sew.