coffee pot posts, critters, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Diego is sitting on the arm of my chair, wondering what happened to the mouse they chased last night. I disposed of the little body a few minutes ago. I grew up with mice in the house so I’ve never had disgust for them. While I am pleased that the cats are doing SOMEthing to earn their keep, I always feel sorry for the mice. If I can get to them in time I will rescue them and put them outside, but usually the shock kills them anyway. So I told the little mousie that I was sorry, and that I knew that she was just trying to feed herself and her family, and then out she went to the garbage.

After a helluva good run of mental health and a fantastic weekend last week, I feel like I walked into a wall last night, a brick wall that bonked me in the head and said, “Why aren’t you paying attention? Danger, danger!” I’m training my inner self to counter with the serenity prayer, etc., but my spidey senses feel panic on the street. Fear of the panic is as bad as the source of the fear. It comes back to the choice of staying informed and staying somewhat sane. I won’t go into Sandy’s personal stuff, but it hasn’t been good either.

We had a good week, however. I have been trying to get used to the new reality of many people around me going maskless. On St. Pat’s Day we took our great new folding rocking chairs over to Oden Brewing and enjoyed a couple of stouts and Mediterranean food from a food truck and a Celtic band named Banna outside in the beer garden. It was a lovely evening, and St. Patrick even paid a visit. I bought a t-shirt and a CD from the band. The world almost felt “normal” again.

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So last night and this morning I am doing laundry and trying to pump myself up to do some cooking this weekend. It’s hard to describe just how much I do not want to cook this weekend, or nearly any time. I would rather go hungry than cook most of the time. I take my lunch to work, and it is usually a frozen dinner or crackers and cheese or chips and guac, and fruit and granola and yogurt. Not terrible nutrition but I could do a lot better.

What I want to do is weave and finish up my metal collage cards for the show and tell/critique part of my online class tomorrow. But it is also supposed to go up to 79 F (26 C) today, even though it is cloudy and cool right now. Since it has been raining this week it would be a good time to weed and get the garden bed ready for my asparagus roots that should be arriving today. I texted my yard guy and he says that he can come next week to help me, but I can’t count on that.

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I have a stack of these musty raggedy nineteenth century magazines which I think came from the attic of my grandfather Parham’s house. They are in my mother’s hope chest where I keep family photos and other mementos. I had thought about including parts of them in the collage packs that I will sell if I ever get up the mental energy to get that project going. Right now I’m going to start using some in my collage. This one has aired out enough that it is okay for my allergies to work with, and I plan to seal it with matte medium once I use it. This issue is August 1876. There are a lot of Victorian fashion plates, advice for wives and mothers, and serial stories in these magazines, and of course they are all in black and white.

I can barely think about Portugal right now, but our trip is less than two months away. In a couple of weeks I will register for Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove, Oregon in July. Last night all this seemed impossible. I have to change my inner narrative.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, Uncategorized, weaving

Saturday morning coffee pot post

20220131_083313The paragraph and list below it showed up in my Facebook memories from exactly five years ago. Good to know that some things haven’t changed.

In the interest of self care, I’ve thought a lot about what I truly enjoying doing the most as opposed to what I think I should enjoy the most. Here they are, in no particular order:
 
-Sleeping late and drinking coffee while watching my cats play in the morning
-Weaving strips of cloth together
-Good beer with friends at a local bar
-Creating art in the same space with friends
-Related: Art retreats where I can totally focus on doing what’s in front of me
-TRAVEL to new and beautiful places, preferably natural beauty
-Ice cream
-Dark chocolate with sea salt
-Twisted humor
-Mixing yarn colors together to interpret tapestry design
-Watching seeds sprout
-Recurring dreams about weaving and fantastical looms
-Solving puzzles and playing games based mostly on logic and a bit of luck thrown in for fun
-Seafood
-Leaf prints on new cement, as well as on cloth!
-Connecting with artists and friends on Facebook who share my passions
-La Croix orange water

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Anyway, on Wednesday, I got up with one thing in mind – to finish up at least one work-in-progress. I chose a good one. The fabric that I wove last winter was intended to be curtains, but I didn’t have enough of it to make four panels of the length needed for our tall Craftsman windows. I had put the fabric away for months. In the latest issue of Handwoven there were lots of towels, including bath towels. Of course! Bath towels don’t have to be terrycloth. These are woven of unmercerized cotton and have lots of texture. I fired up the sewing machine and lo and behold it performed like a dream all day. At the end of it, I had two big bath towels and two smaller towels.

On Thursday, I pulled all the drawers out of my clothes dresser and purged two drawers worth of old clothes. Most of these went into the garbage because they were old socks and underwear and ratty clothes with holes or significant wear. I picked out a few to cut up for rags and to save for another t-shirt quilt. Today I am pulling books off the shelf and I intend to go through my closet and do those clothes and shoes.

And weaving. I am weaving again, thank God. I’ll post a tapestry photo tomorrow.

I bought plane tickets for myself and two friends to go to Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove, Oregon in mid-July. This might be my last FOBA, so I will mask up and be as careful as possible and go. I want to go to the West Coast one more time before I head to Europe for good.

If you aren’t interested in my personal and work life, you may want to skip the part below.

This has been a particularly rough week for me because I totally lost my temper at work on Tuesday and then had a meltdown in front of the department head. It was suggested that I take a few days off.. Fortunately I had a therapy appointment on the first day off, and I had planned to go in the following day but she suggested that I take another day off. So I stayed home on Wednesday and Thursday to get my anxiety and anger under control. As a result, I had a ton of work to do on Friday and that pretty much kept my brain busy all day. Nobody said anything to trigger me, thank God.

At the heart of the issue here was sexism and a lack of respect for the work that staff does. A male professor explained to me for the second time how I had misinterpreted a policy that I have been working with as a baseline for one of the main areas of my job for 18 years. It was a textbook example of mansplaining and when I again told him what the policy meant (it was clear as day), he began ignoring me and directed the rest of the email thread to the male faculty member responsible for this area. Someone who I trained, and who leaves all the details and process to me. When the man in charge supported what I said, the professor backed down. Then I demanded that the professor acknowledge the work that I do and that I did extra work to accommodate his last minute requests. Of course there was no response, and then nobody understood why I lost my mind afterwards. Even I couldn’t articulate it.  I figured all this out later with the help of my therapist.

I was told that even though I believe that I am on equal footing with faculty, that I am not and never will be, and no matter whether I am right or wrong, I have to do as I am told and accept it or be in danger of losing my job. That faculty don’t care about my feelings and that I need to suck it up and get over it.  (The person who told me this is also staff.) It’s true, unfortunately. Not all faculty treat us this way, but the narcissists regularly leave us out of decision making and do not ask for our feedback although all three of us are valuable resources of information, having gone through the changes in administrative policy for over a decade. All three of us have trained faculty in department administrative positions. Then when problems arise, we are usually the ones who have to fix them. We are not supposed to show anger about this situation. This is our present reality, and not one that is likely to change before I leave this place. We are considered to be expendable.

I do believe that this place will break me if I don’t get out of here soon. I have a little over a year to go before I can get the Social Security to supplement my retirement pension and savings. Then I should be able to get by.

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

Saturday morning snow post

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Not much snow, the way I like it. REALLY cold for North Carolina, though. 24 degrees F at 10:50 a.m. What is notable about this snow is that this year I see many tracks that I suspect are fox tracks. Critters really love to live under that building, and in the space between the ceiling and the roof. Sandy and I are talking about cleaning it out to use for studio space again. I’m not sure that I have the energy for that, but it will need to be cleaned out before we move anyway. I’ll have to find the energy from somewhere!

Here’s what I plan to work on this weekend:

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Anyway, not much has happened in my life other than work. It’s been really busy at work with several big areas of my job needing attention at once. That’s the way my job is – really busy then not much at all to do. I spread out the work as much as I can. The good thing is that I enjoy the work I am doing right now, which is mostly schedule planning and graduate student admissions. Later this semester it will be forms, forms, forms.

I complained (okay, ranted) on Facebook about people who do not read emails from me that are clearly marked URGENT and/or IMPORTANT. This is mostly a problem with students but faculty and instructors are sometimes guilty also. It has been bad for the last decade but the problem has quadrupled with the stress of covid brain. I work hard on these emails to make them as clear and detailed as they can possibly be. I keep templates of the ones that come up regularly and revise them as needed, so I know that people have understood them just fine in the past. Then to have three people ask me a week after they miss an important deadline that I do not set…that they don’t know what the date is…they seem to remember me sending something out…I mean, literally, all I do is copy and paste my answer from the email to their questions. Sometimes the answer is right below their question. And in this case, and most cases, it’s not hard stuff. “How do I do this?” “Click the link in the email that I sent where I wrote, click this link for instructions.” I don’t know how to help these students who ignore my help!

Then there are the students who need repeated confirmation. This seems to be a newish thing too. “Just to confirm, did you really mean this?” Yes, I did, just like I meant it when we also talked about it a week ago.

I’ve never had a lot of patience, but I do try very hard to swallow the irritation and be compassionate. My brain ain’t so great either these days. I will, however, search my computer, email, and the university website before I ask someone else for information I have lost. I hear a lot from the faculty who are struggling as well. What do you do when you are stressed to the limit but your students are too? I read articles online about how universities who are concerned about their budgets and student retention tend to ignore the stress of their employees, offering little other than online “how to cope” workshops, as if our stress does not affect the students. It’s a big problem on a national level, but in states like North Carolina where the ultra-conservative Republicans in charge dismiss us as either a drain on state funds or fomenters of dangerous liberal radicalism (especially in history), it is getting to a crisis point. As my therapist and others said, our bodies are not built to deal with this kind of sustained stress.

One of the latest issues where I work is that the college has decided to reduce the number of semesters students have to take in foreign language without notifying or involving the department of languages in their decision. Now, I tend to be on the side of reducing the semesters because it is a lot compared to our peers, but not to confer with the department of languages is incredibly disrespectful.

It feels very cutthroat where I work right now, but at least I feel that my co-workers and I are safe from budget cuts at this time. The delay in telling us what exactly those cuts will be is bothersome. The communication between administration and academic departments is terrible.

“As a service to you, take this workshop that Human Resources bought from an outside vendor on how to do more with less. Here’s some required training about how you can provide mental health care to students. We’re sure that you can fix yourselves and your students through the magic of the Internet. Oh, your job doesn’t include counseling? You’re extremely depressed, yourself? You think you should be paid more for taking on more responsibility? Feel lucky that you are employed at all.”

It’s gotten where the satire on McSweeney’s is more and more on the mark.

Pablocito sez, “Get that camera away from me!”

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Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety, Nature printing

Thursday

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

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

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

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

I’m thinking about this for my next tapestry:

lake tapestry idea

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

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

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

agoraphobia, depression/anxiety, Nature printing, Studio talk

Monday

I’m not doing a lot of photography these days, but I am fascinated with the shadows that leaves cast on the sidewalk  early in the morning. This is a ginkgo branch, and while I don’t have the patience or skills to make the shadow any darker because of the mottled sidewalk, I thought that it was cool the way its shadow morphed into a caterpillar. It has made me consider relearning the caterpillar stitch in bookbinding.

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I put this one up on my Facebook page: if you are a beginner at natural dyeing and leaf printing and don’t know what leaves might have pigment, here’s a tip. On your walks, notice what leaves leave a print on freshly laid or recently laid (within a few years) cement. Also, any tree that bears nuts should be a good choice.

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Yesterday I went to the print studio at the arts center, and although it was nice to have it by myself, I couldn’t bear the heat. It must have been in the upper 80s in that room. I peeled away as many clothes as I could, and fortunately I wore a t-shirt under it all, because the last time I had been there it was roasting hot. I found what looked like a room thermostat, but it didn’t have a temperature and it was set in the middle. I turned it all the way down after I broke into a sweat. No difference. I wonder what it felt like this morning because I forgot to turn it back. My bet is that it is either broken or not the thermostat or the heat is controlled by a central office. Since I am of a certain age, I never know if this intolerance to heat is just me.

I took advantage of the paint drying really fast to paint some panels and old book boards with black gesso. I ditched my plan to iron some fabrics and weave cloth strips. I packed up some of my stuff and brought it home. I can’t handle that kind of heat. So I’m going to call them and see if it really is a technical problem, and cancel my membership if it is an ongoing winter thing. Bring home my stuff and consider rejoining in June after I come back from Portugal.

Update: It is an HVAC problem, not a hormone problem. I’m not the only one roasting. A work order was placed the week after Christmas when I first noticed it. I told her that I’ll go back on Sunday, and if it hasn’t been fixed, I’ll bring my stuff home for a while.

Sandy suggested that I turn the back building into my studio again. The only problem is that we’d have to clean it out and I’ll probably have to buy other window AC unit. Also, the door and the steps need repair. It’s something to consider. A space heater heats it fairly well. I’m sure that the critters nesting in the crawl space above the ceiling would like that.

Yesterday I got it together and cooked again – bacon and eggs for brunch, beef stew for dinner. On Saturday I wove about a half-inch on my tapestry. That doesn’t sound like much but it took a couple of hours. Got laundry done and put away. After I left the studio I went to Deep Roots for a quick grocery run. Cricket was there in the parking lot with the Boomerang Bookshop bus so I went in and talked with him. Maybe I should get up a box of books to donate or trade for credit with him. I love his shop, and once when he was getting very depressed and burned out I volunteered to help him with it. But he didn’t want help. I don’t blame him, and honestly, do I want to learn how to drive a bus?

Anyway, I felt better this weekend. A little more energy. This is the first week of classes for the spring semester. We shall see how things unfold.

agoraphobia, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters, depression/anxiety, Obsession, old couple

Saturday afternoon coffee pot post

In which I am settled in near the wood stove with the last of the coffee. There is no fire in the wood stove, though. Allergies in the house has stopped its use unless there is a heating emergency. I need to buy some clean firewood instead of the rotten moldy stuff in the back yard stack. I pulled out an electric radiator style heater to help with warmth during this cold spell.

I definitely started feeling agoraphobic again this week. On Wednesday morning I must have breathed in some saliva in my sleep because I woke up not able to breathe. I coughed for an hour and the stress gave me a migraine. Then I felt totally freaked out because it was so difficult for me to go to work. I called my therapist and she got me out the door, then I had an appointment with her the following day.

I told her my motto for the year was “I guess we’ll see” and she suggested that my word for the year be “Unfolding.” I like that. A strange part of the session which I will talk about with her again next week is that agoraphobia is an evolutionary response to danger, and she seems to be suggesting that at this particular time it is a reasonable one.  I suspect that she is trying to get my anxiety down and to stop being so hard on myself. It’s difficult for me to tell if I am overreacting sometimes. She also reminded me that irritability is caused by my depression.

When I told her that I had watched “Just Look Up” and it was terrifying, she said to me, mid-sentence, “Don’t watch that!” Which is very strange because the main premise of the movie is to pay attention to what is really happening and doing otherwise will kill us all. I mean, seriously, the baddies in the movie countered the slogan “Just Look Up” with “Don’t Look Up.”

I know that I need to prioritize my mental health but ignoring what is going on in the world doesn’t seem to be, I don’t know, responsible?

Critter report: Diego was just sneezing but he is much better. His meds are insanely expensive, so another thing on the list is loratidine to alternate (or substitute) with the Apoquil. After he started throwing it up again, I went back to the EN prescription cat food, and started giving him his pill pocket around 9 p.m. This seems to be working out, because at $4.50 per dose those pills are too costly to vomit up. I also went to Petsmart and took a chance on buying a case of Fancy Feast Turkey and Giblets pate. So far, so good. The Greenie dental chews are a hit as well. I stopped the nose drops but I’m going to try again tonight and have Sandy hold his head still. The other sign that Diego is better is that he is starting to bully Pablocito again.

The trip planning for Portugal has been bugging me. Everything has changed so much since I first bought these Aer Lingus plane tickets from Boston to Dublin. At first I was going to use my Southwest points to get to Boston, so that part was free, then I was taking American home. Since then we changed the tickets to Boston to Lisbon, which simplified that part of the trip, but the plane tickets to Boston and back have doubled. My Southwest points won’t cover the trip and I don’t want to spend any more money with them anyway – I hate their politics, I don’t trust them, and I want to be done with them.

The plane trip back is going to be rough with leaving Lisbon late at night and an 8 hour layover in Dublin – hardly enough time to be worth getting a hotel room at 1:30 a.m. and getting up in time to go through all that security again early in the morning. So I started following United flights out of Greensboro and doing a cost analysis of whether it would be worth it to ditch the previous plan and make the whole plane trip simpler and shorter, without having to pay for parking, and without having to change airlines and doing multiple Covid tests.

To make this plan work, however, I would have to get my 60,000 miles credit from the new United credit card I was just approved for. I probably won’t get those until April at least. Cutting it a bit too short. At least I will have them for my trip to Oregon in July.

This is the kind of shit I obsess over, and quite honestly, I enjoy the hunt. I read articles on the best ways to save money on travel and get the best plane ticket prices and follow Rick Steves among other travel gurus. I started telling Sandy about what I was researching last night and he doesn’t understand how complicated the plane ticketing process is. He brought up Google Flights and told me that flights to Boston weren’t that expensive. He was looking at today’s date and not looking at the different times at all. Then he told me that we could stay in a Boston hotel. I asked him if he had looked at the cost of Boston hotels. Then he said that I was lucky because other women’s husbands would have taken their credit cards away. A jaw-dropping sexist comment from my feminist husband. That got him cussed out. He immediately saw his error, and I didn’t carry that anger too long, mainly because I cussed him out so thoroughly, and also because I realized that we are products of a sexist and racist culture and generation, and both of us still carry these biases that will inevitably rear their ugly heads from time to time.

This morning I apologized for saying “FUCK YOU” and he said that he deserved it for being an asshole. This was a very rare occurrence for each of us in our marriage. This is also a good time to say that I firmly believe that one of the reasons we have been married for 34 plus years is that since Year Two we have kept separate financial accounts and instead assigned certain bills to either of us so that it worked out about equal. We are both extremely frugal and at the moment we don’t carry any debt. At all. No mortgage, no home equity loan, no car payments. If my credit card bill is over what I can pay per month, I have enough in my money market account that I pay it off from there. Then I work on getting that money back into my money market account.

In other words, I am fucking amazing at managing my money. And so is he, although we have different approaches to what we think is best. And today all is well.

I’m going to try to stay out of my bedroom and cook and weave tapestry and read in the front room, not in my bed. I’m going to do the exercise videos again – they are mostly dancing, and if my heel starts hurting too much I can do them sitting down. I don’t know whether I will go to the studio tomorrow. At least the city has mandated masks in city facilities again, but so many people who DO wear masks don’t wear the right kind or wear them correctly. I’ll probably be alone in the room if I go in at 1 p.m. though.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, fiber art, tapestry, weaving

Sunday coffee pot post

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Usually I write a post on New Year’s Day of what I hope will happen in the coming year, but I just couldn’t do it yesterday. If I have to choose a motto for 2022, it will be “I guess we’ll see.”

I spend a good bit of time between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s morning reading over past yearly wrap-ups, and although mentions of my chronic depression continued to pop up, they were much more positive in the earlier years of this blog. Even the years when I know that I was in a terrible, terrible mental state, my yearly wrap-ups didn’t mention or barely mentioned the events that drove me into the hole. I’m trying to decide if this is a good or bad thing. Or a gray thing. This is my journal, and I want to write honestly, even when it is public. I don’t have to, and I don’t, tell everything. All the writers that I admire let their vulnerability show. I suppose that I will continue to wing it, but I regret both the negativity I feel and the false positivity that I sometimes project.

Yesterday, I did move forward. I took a walk and looked for different oak leaves. Then I wove a lot on my tapestry throughout the day. Sandy and I did an exercise video and we ate vegetarian. Canned field peas and collards, with a big salad.

I succumbed to a Facebook ad and subscribed to Body Groove. I like the attitude of the instructor and the different videos. Dancing is one thing I can do standing or sitting.

Look at these oak Siamese twins, then some of the other leaves follow. I found at least a dozen different ones so far.

The reason that I decided to weave farther on Cathedral is because I wanted to include more of the blue skies peeking through the shadows on the north side of the tree. This was a particularly tough section to weave, but maybe the most gratifying. All those verticals! I used a lot of weft blending and crosshatching.

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I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that I have to return to the office tomorrow even though we are at a height of the pandemic. I am fortunate that I can isolate with my door closed, but it infuriates me that our administration will not let those who are high risk or have high risk family members work from home, especially since we proved that we could do it efficiently last year. I heard that an office worker with an excellent reputation in another department was terminated when she tried and failed to get permission to work from home because of health reasons. Yet our “leadership” is so proud of “getting back to normal.”

Anyway, I guess we’ll see if it all turns out okay.

So, for the coming year, here are my hopes and plans. In May, Sandy and I will adventure for 17 days in Portugal. He and I will be more physically fit by that time, with less pain, more stamina, and less fat to carry around. My brother-in-law will continue to improve. In early June, there is the Tapestry Weavers South retreat in Elkin. In mid-July, I have to choose between Convergence in Knoxville, Tennessee, a drive-able distance away, or across the country to Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove, Oregon. Susanne and I plan to go to Focus on Book Arts. It’s a shame because Convergence doesn’t often happen within driving distance of Greensboro, and my tapestry guild will be involved, but that is how it shakes out. It would be nice to find a place to go in September – maybe check off another national park on our bucket list?

Other than that, lake trips, the usual purging, and a resolve to go to the print studio at least once a week, even though it might not be for printmaking or collage or painting. I’m going to have a tapestry to finish trimming, hemming, blocking, and mounting.

art, coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, pinhole photography, Reading

Sunday morning coffee pot post

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^^^Wouldn’t this make an interesting tapestry?

Finally, fall temperatures. We sat on the front porch yesterday morning, barefoot in t-shirts and shorts. This morning is a delicious 51 degrees F.

Last Saturday, Sandy and I went to the West Point on the Eno Park in Durham to take a pinhole camera workshop given by Durham Parks & Recreation. This is something that we plan to keep up and we need to get the supplies and set up a darkroom. Here they are hanging to dry and my best print.

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I am afraid of jinxing this, but I will go ahead and say it. My depression has lifted. My hope always is that it will be for good, but let’s just say that I hope it lasts a long long time. It is such a wonder the few times this has happened in my life that I am flabbergasted. This is how normal feels? I like it very much.

My therapist and I think that it could be due to the large amounts of Vitamin D that I started taking every day in mid-August. When I went to the orthopedic clinic for the injured bones in my foot, they put me on 5,000 mg per day, and said that I could stay on that dose with no worries. I had been taking 1,000 mg per day. So if you are struggling and you are already trying other things without success, you might try upping your Vitamin D. I hope that it is this simple for me. She had suggested transcranial magnetic stimulation because my depression was so chronic, but I started feeling so much better right around the time that she suggested it that I never pursued it. I am not quitting my anti-depressant though.

And if I could only sleep when my body needs sleep, my physical and mental health would be much, much better. During the week, I still struggle. On the weekend when I can get up when my body says it’s time, I feel like a champ. This is the main reason I look forward to retirement.

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I had the energy last Sunday and yesterday to really go after the mess that we live in. Sandy and I cleaned floors. SO. MUCH. CAT. HAIR. It amazes me that we have a mouse problem. We cleaned up the stack of boxes and old mail meant to be burned next to the woodstove that you got an eyeful of when you stepped in the front door, and burned the mail outside in the fire pit. There is still some work to be done in that area. There is lots of dust and since I have stopped taking anti-histamines and Sandy’s cough is so bad we really have to do better for our health’s sake. This house will be 100 years old next year and it generates its own dirt.

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Yesterday, I started seriously deep cleaning the kitchen, beyond washing dishes and wiping counters. I’m getting rid of a few items, and reorganizing some. For example I cleaned my coffee/tea/bar corner thoroughly, washed everything there, reappointed the vintage metal bread bin that I used to keep art supplies in to holding all the teas that we’ve gathered and been given, and filled the wooden shelves that my Daddy made for me with most of our small pottery cup collection instead of the tea. I also cleaned the shelves where the rest of the pottery plates and bowls and glasses and tumblers are. It felt so good to get all this cleaned up. I’m going to tackle the fridge, microwave, other counters, and food shelves today.

Daddy had just taken up woodworking before he got terminally ill with colon cancer. He made this shelf for me to display my glass paperweight collection. If I ever have to choose just a few things to take with me out of this house, this will always be one of them.

Hopefully this energy will transfer over to my art and garden at some point. One thing I regret is that in my cleaning frenzy I forgot to take my weavings to the frame shop.

Sandy and I finished watching The Kominsky Method and we loved it. I stretched it out as long as I could because I’m not a binger. When I enjoy something, I want it to last! Last night we watched Nomadland in absolute awe of its strange beauty and poignancy. I want to read that book now.

Speaking of books, I finished Elantris by Brandon Sanderson this week, and liked it a lot although I found it to be a little too frantic in action. The world and characters he created were fascinating. I plan to check out more of his books. Then I began Broken by Jenny Lawson, which is this great combination of hilarity and high speed nuttiness and anger and serious talk about her mental health and compassion.

My achilles tendinitis is back, so I bought a soft foot splint that I wore to bed last night. It was pretty comfortable, and once I get used to it and stop waking up to wonder what is on my foot it should help. I want to put off getting another steroid shot as long as possible. I learned with my wrist tendinitis that the doctors will only do the steroid shots a few times. The shot that he gave me in my heel did not hurt at all, which surprised me.

I also finally replaced my bras. After going so long hardly wearing a bra at all, it was tough to wear those worn out bras again, but I hate bra shopping almost as much as swimsuit shopping. I ordered them online through Kohls so I wouldn’t have to go in the store, and the shipment circled around between Charlotte and Virginia for over two weeks. Finally the routing was straightened out and I found them at my door early this morning. On a Sunday. Shipping is so weird these days. I also treated myself to a tunic and beret from Gudrun Sjoden and three more basic shirts. I have not bought any new clothing in so long, and I need to get rid of a lot of what I have that is worn out and stained. When you have a rack like mine it tends to catch a lot of drips.

Good news: we finally got our tax refund from 2019. It took a year and a half from the time we mailed it. We will never mail another tax return if we can at all help it. I immediately called the credit union for the payoff on the home equity loan and paid off the solar panels. Most of the refund was the tax credit we had been waiting on. I am totally debt-free at the moment!

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I’ve been dealing with headaches every freaking morning this week, and today was no exception. I’m glad today was a day off because I don’t know if I would have made it to work. Wednesday morning I stayed home sick, but the other mornings I’ve managed to push through. When I get there, I am double masked except in my office with the door shut, which is where I stay 99% of the time. Not a great way to live and work, but it’s doable. It’s pure hell on my depression, though. I’m pretty sure that the headaches are my normal seasonal allergies, although stress and anxiety and depression probably contribute a lot.

Let’s see…news from this week. Work has been busy with spring semester schedule prep and entry. Hurricane Ida brought us some breezes and spittle and only one good rain storm, of  which we actually need more. It surprise pounded the northeast after traveling overland and the flooding and death toll is shocking. We took advantage of the cooling weather and ate on the patio at Cafe Europa on Tuesday evening. I’m worried that they are not going to make it. There was hardly anybody there. On Thursday evening we went over to Oden and ate mediocre food from the food truck while listening to great jazz from the music students at UNCG in their outside beer garden. So I have been out.

Last night, though, I was so depressed that I couldn’t eat or do anything. I just can’t get up the energy or motivation for anything. I spent some time on the porch reading the local paper from the past few days, played some games on my Kindle, then laid in bed trying to go to sleep. When that failed, I picked up the book “Elantris” and began it, then wandered out to the living room where Sandy was watching the old show “Stargate.” He was shocked that I hadn’t seen the movie so we watched half of that. I have to say that the young James Spader is awfully cute in that movie.

Of course, the legal events in Texas have been awful and I don’t know any women friends who are not horrified. The young people need to step up as much as they are able – our generation is getting older and we have to pass the torch to you.  Just, please, do it masked.

Depression is not sadness, it is an illness. Depression can include a lot of emotions, but mostly for me it expresses itself as a lack of happiness or motivation or hope for the future. You don’t understand it until you’ve experienced it. “Flat” is a good description. Activities or things that normally bring you joy don’t do it for you anymore. When people suggest that you get outside and garden, or walk, or do almost anything that you used to enjoy, it is difficult to impossible to motivate yourself to do it.

The fact that I am blogging is a good thing.

Sandy has expressed an interest in learning how to tie-dye, so I hauled out my box of dyes this morning. I might be playing with dyes this weekend on the porch. It’s been a while since I used Procion dyes so I’ll need to read up a bit on it. I figure I can use up a bunch of my old clothes that I’ve hoarded for dye experimentation, although his motivation is to learn a skill that he can make money at. My impulse is to dye some papers and scraps with natural dyes, but I definitely won’t let any dyepot leftovers go to waste.

My other two goals for this weekend, which take priority, is to finish the lake tapestry, which is almost there – it’s been cut off and the warp ends mainly twisted and stitched to the back. I promised myself not to post any more photos until this is done. Sandy did a drum roll when I cut it off the loom.

The other is to clean the rails on this porch and finish painting them. There’s not much left to go on this project either.

I think that it will make me feel better to actually accomplish a couple of things that have been on my to do list for a long time.

Next weekend I’ll probably check out the North Carolina Folk Festival downtown, then drive down to Lake Waccamaw and spend a week down there visiting family and having a personal retreat. I’ll have a couple of empty small tapestry looms to play with. On the last weekend I’m there, an old friend from my childhood and young adult years is going to join me. We were roommates off and on for a while and we were maid/matrons of honor at each other’s weddings. I expect that will bring my spirits up – gosh, I hope so. This blah feeling really sucks.

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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