coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

What a week. It was overwhelming in so many ways. I think that is the second time I have watched an inauguration – the other was Obama’s, before I became disenchanted with the Democratic Party. I admit to shedding a few tears of relief and being touched by the poetry and song. I am optimistic about this administration. Not enough to become a partisan again, but I’m a bit more to the center than I was 12 years ago. Some of my super-lefty friends are so negative that they feel toxic. I no longer have any super-righty friends, and I don’t want any.

I don’t remember who he paraphrased, but my mentor in grad school would say that to accomplish your dreams they have to be imagined first. Maybe it was from Thoreau. He encouraged us to do projects in which our minds could fly in any direction and build new worlds. I love that philosophy, and I think it is a great starting point.

However, I am too practical for it in reality. I think that everyone needs to hear what the others are thinking and really listen in order for us to move forward. I’m not saying that the left should get all lovey-dovey with the right. Please don’t get me wrong. I’ve lost all patience with the right. We have seen that the far right has no interest in compromise even with the center right. But what I’ve seen is that the bubbles are real. People on the right believe that Trump won because they are surrounded by people who only think like them. People on the left don’t understand how Trump could have gotten so many votes because they are surrounded by people who see his evil. It takes a very strong personality to reject the culture that you live in.

Phrases like “Defund the police” and “All cops are bastards” are hurting the cause of progressives and if they can’t see why these phrases are misunderstood or twisted then they need to get a firmer grip on reality. All cops are not bastards, or bad. “Defund” the police is completely confusing. If you have to explain your catchphrase, it is not a very effective one. Nobody is going to support this in enough numbers to make any change possible. That is the left’s delusion.

Vegans: the world is not going to stop eating meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. It’s okay that you have, and I applaud you for your willpower and caring, as long as you stop harassing my farmer friends. You can get your point across and make this a better world without being assholes. I know many vegans and vegetarians who do. They are practical enough that they don’t believe that the whole world is going to change to a diet that isn’t even possible in most places, but idealistic enough that they know that their actions make a positive difference.

People on the right need to get over their distrust of mainstream news and listen to people on the left to understand that they are not baby killing anti-Christians. The rhetoric about attacking and murdering Democrats or anyone that opposes the far right is so shocking that, no, both sides are not the same. People on the right are terribly deluded if they still support Trumpism or QAnon, and that appears to be a whole lot of people. Logic is not going to sway them, and certainly phrases like “defund the police” are just going to panic them.

Considering how divided our country is, it is within reason to have leaders who are centrist. We can’t get anything done with the balance tipping far to the right or left every 4-8 years. I may not agree with all their policies, but I am mature enough to understand that doesn’t make the leaders all bad.

Some appointees so far have been great. Some, such as Vilsack for Department of Ag, terrible.

Actually, I don’t have much hope that we will move forward at all.

My thinking is still well within the philosophy of the Dark Mountain Project – that we have passed the tipping point on climate change and now is the time to make the best of what we have wrought. The world will survive, but as a place without human civilization and it will support a different variety of species, many of them genetically engineered.

Okay, enough political musings.

I only watched the inauguration from around 11:30-12:30 because it was a super busy workweek and I was watching it online through the Washington Post as I worked. Later I caught a few more highlights that I missed. It is nearly impossible for me to watch video for more than 20-30 minutes at a time anyway. I rarely watch videos. It used not to be this way. I can’t help but think that it is part of my mental health issues.

My nerves were cranked up, as a lot of people’s were. I shut down for a couple of hours twice this week. It’s good that I am at home where I can do that. With my panic disorder, good things can overwhelm me as much as bad things. Actually, little things can set me off worse than big things. They pile up.

Yesterday our department had a Zoom happy hour for the newest two assistant professors and that was fun. I miss getting together with my co-workers and friends, although I probably have adjusted better than most people because of my need for quiet solitude. I enjoy Zoom, but I don’t have to be on it all day teaching or taking classes or having work meetings. This past week I had four work Zoom meetings. I can deal with that easily.

I’m reading “The Given Day” by Dennis Lehane. It was high on my unread book stack, and I honestly didn’t think about the novel taking place during the flu pandemic of 1918. But so far, it is very good. He has a lot to work with in that time period. I assume that the Tulsa Massacre is going to be covered as well.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety, Studio talk

Slight movement

I spent most of the past 24 hours in bed, and boy am I feeling it. I was really surprised when I slept eleven hours last night, mostly solid. Sandy remarked that it is because of depression, and I suppose that he is right. Another reminder that depression is not sadness, because I don’t particularly feel anything at all. Sandy’s doctor wants him to wait 2-3 weeks before seeing him for his muscle weakness – he wants time for the statins to get out of his system.

My massage therapist is out of business now…so I guess it is up to me to get pain free again, and that won’t happen by laying in bed for hours.

I finished watching The Queen’s Gambit. This is why I don’t binge good shows. It’s so hard when you finish one and can’t decide what to watch next. I happen to be between good books also.

I did get a little bit of house cleaning and purging done. I vacuumed the curtains behind my bed instead of taking them down and washing them, and the molding around the window, and the plaster walls around it. Hopefully that will help with the allergies.

Searching for some particular pages in all my collage stuff proved to be frustrating, and so I purged a bunch of junk that I had at one time thought that I would use in collage. The truth is, it was just junk, junk that is easily replaced at any time, so into the recycling bin it went. A few more things went into the donation box.

I cleaned off and organized my studio table so that it is ready to go this afternoon. Guess I’d better get to it!

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Saturday coffee pot post

Feeling kind of flat, but I am trying to break my spell by making a big list of tasks that need to be done around the house, with checkboxes so that when I do a simple chore I can check it off and feel like I have accomplished something. I am going to try not to retreat to my bedroom every day until I have accomplished at least a task or two on the list over the next month.

An hour of artwork/play is on my list for my every day tasks, as is reading, watching TV/movies, and blogging. I have to do these before I play any games. Also, I have to go outside and take a walk or work in the yard every day.

I won’t have to go back to my office for three weeks, thank God, because the virus is so virulent that it is truly frightening to leave the house. My office feels pretty safe, and we have a zealous housekeeper on our floor that keeps our bathroom squeaky clean, so it’s not so bad. Hardly anyone is in the building. In a way, it is a safe way to get out of the house for a while and talk to a couple of different people. I am still working from home but our winter break is Dec. 24-Jan. 1, and there are two weekends in there. We don’t get it all paid holiday – we have to use a couple of vacation days or make it up – but it is still SO MUCH BETTER than any job I ever had. I plan to put a message on my email and really shut down, because when you work from home and the people you work with are on salary instead of an hourly schedule, it is necessary to draw boundaries. There is not much that can happen that can’t wait until Jan. 4.

We did another grocery trip to Bestway on Thursday night, and I think that should do it for a little while. I have to go to Walgreens for a prescription today, but I feel pretty good about both those places, as well as Deep Roots Market. I have to remember not to be chatty with one of the Bestway cashiers, who has pretty much shut me down twice now with negativity. We will probably go back to having groceries delivered again from Deep Roots or Costco. The only reason we haven’t done Deep Roots Market the last couple of times is that I wanted Smithwick’s ale, and Sandy likes some really unhealthy frozen meals. Hey, it’s his body.

What worries me is that Sandy really likes to go out and do errands, and sometimes announces that he is going out to buy something that is not essential and can be ordered online. Then he gets mad when I object. I have convinced him so far to order his new headphones and a new router online, and although we don’t really want to order stuff from Amazon any more, that way got us our orders quickly when other orders are stuck in DeJoy postal limboland around here. He is vigilant about mask wearing, but I don’t think that he keeps up with the ones that are clean, and of course, masks are not totally preventative.

That router has improved our wi-fi so much. One reason we decided to get a new one was that our solar panels went incommunicado on Oct. 21. At first I thought it was because the company changed monitoring apps. Then Sandy thought it was a bad port on our router. But none of these things have solved the problem, so NC Solar Now is sending someone to take a look at the box outside on Monday. Fortunately this happened in a low energy month. I would have noticed it right away in July or August because of our electric bill. One thing is for certain is that I need to keep a better eye on the monitoring app. I am glad about getting the new router anyway.

I felt really good after my virtual appointment with my TIAA (financial) rep on Thursday, because she said that I have saved enough to be able to retire at 62, and that I’d even be able to do it at age 60 if I really wanted to or lost my job to a budget cut. So May 2023 is my retirement goal now. A couple of years ago I was told the same thing, but with everything that has happened I wanted confirmation.

It’s good to be frugal. Also not to have children.

We are definitely going to have to spend some money on this house once the pandemic is over, though.

I am booking my ticket to Dublin (and then to Portugal) in September 2021. I have to do it before the end of the month or lose my $542 credit. That means I will still have to pay $135 plus baggage and insurance, but at least I will have it settled and can stop thinking about it at 1 a.m. If the prices don’t change before I call them. I’ve seen them change in the middle of looking them up. I have to do it through Orbitz, unfortunately. This will probably be the last time I use Orbitz.

My brother-in-law is okay after his surgery, although they were not able to fix his heart after six hours. He will have to take a ton of meds instead. He was home the next day and when I called my sister yesterday he was taking a bike ride, ten days later. Amazing. We won’t see them for Christmas, but we seldom do Christmas at all any more since my mother died. Sandy got in the habit of volunteering to work on Christmas to let the workers with family have it off, and he got holiday pay. This year he is retired but it is too dangerous to get together with anyone inside.

Okay, back to the Flickr project, now on late 2017. And I am going to plug in some Christmas lights – I do like that part of Christmas.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Now, actually in the morning!

^^^My next-door neighbor’s house. I have the nicest, coolest neighbors on this street!

I need to get back to moving the photos, since I found that I posted a lot more photos in 2014 than I expected. The nice part of this was reliving my first visit to the Oregon coast at Pam’s cabin – it was maybe the best travelogue that I ever did. It was organized around this poem that was posted in front of a house in Portland. The bad part was that I know that afterwards I was falling apart. I was drinking so much that I almost got taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, and I lost that awesome purple fedora that I am wearing in some of the photos. Instead of writing about my pain and grieving, I either posted nothing or I posted a visual journal photo, so you won’t see any of that on the blog. I was furious with my husband. I was helping to clean out my mother’s house, and that was major. My sister did most of the work since she was retired. Between the emotional anguish and the allergies from dealing with packed mildewy mousy closets, deciding what to keep and what we had to let go, it was a rough time for both of us.

That’s why I was avoiding 2014. It dredged up a lot of memories of grief, anger, and shame. 2020 was very, very bad, but other than my wonderful trips out west, ordinary life in 2014 was worse. I did not cope with it well at all. I think that it is important to acknowledge that now.

One reason that I’ve thought of this time lately is because I have cut down on my drinking so much. I figured that I would want to drink more alcohol during the pandemic, when the opposite happened. Occasionally I will have two beers in one evening, but usually I have one beer around 5:30 and then I don’t want another. Sometimes I don’t drink any alcohol at all. I used to drink a lot at home. Sandy hardly drinks at all any more and he has never drank at home much. I enjoy my porters and stouts and dark ales, and I talk a lot about Smithwick’s red ale, which I consider to be a little taste of heaven. Surprise! I am more of a social drinker than I thought.

As bad as it has been, I am actually much better as far as my mental and physical health goes than I have been at other times of my life. The years 2002-04, 2007-08, and 2014 come to mind right off the bat. Sandy mentioned one time that he and I are actually well suited in personality to deal with having to stay home. That is somewhat true, in a way. I am not the kind of person who needs to go out much around town. When I’m in Greensboro, I mostly stay home or go to work. Sandy and I miss going out to eat in restaurants, but we still get take-out once or twice a week. My biggest grief has been missing the art retreats and big travel trips that were my sanity savers.

I thought that working from home and not being able to get my monthly massage was going to be murder on my back. I have actually been in much less pain because I have a good office chair and I get up and walk around a lot more frequently. When my back does hurt, I can lay down flat on my bed for a hour and that usually does the trick. My neck pain is almost completely gone these days – I need to knock wood here – and I don’t remember the last time my neck hurt. So I will be very reluctant to go back to the office on a regular basis.

I do need to get more exercise and I’m going to try harder to make that happen. My hips are getting stiff again.

It looks like from the timelines I have seen posted that I am in this for the long haul, unless my high cholesterol is considered heart disease, and my BMI crosses the line of obesity (I stopped weighing myself – it may have by now) I will likely be in the very LAST group to get the vaccine. Wow. But I accept that. At least I won’t have to worry so much about other people being sick or contagious.

Okay. Back to finishing the 2014 posts and moving on with the day.

Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Saturday coffee pot post

Should I even pretend that I don’t go back to bed after I get up to feed the little monsters at 8 a.m.? Nah, I want you to think better of me than that. So let’s pretend.

I didn’t want to get up from my last dream this morning. For once, it was helpful. I dreamed that Sandy and I were visiting some friends in the mountains, and I wanted to go hiking, but no one else wanted to, and I was annoyed about it. Then I realized as we were packing up to go home that the little cabin we were staying in was mine. There were clothes and furniture in it that I had brought on my last visit. I didn’t remember it, so that concerned me, but the overwhelming joy that I felt when I realized it was wonderful. There was a pair of high top purple chucks (Converse sneakers) on the floor. “Are these mine?” I yelped. Yes, they were. I was so happy. I brought in some trays of seedlings that were going to get frozen, and put them next to the window.

As I cleaned up, I told Sandy that I didn’t want to leave yet. “We’ve got all day,” he said. And I knew that I could drive back to this place whenever I wanted, since it was a hour’s drive away. Far enough to get away, close enough to be doable on a regular basis. I could leave my stuff in there and not have to pack up to go back and forth.

I’m taking away a couple of things from this. This house is mine and I can (and usually do) whatever I please here, and so I need to remember that when I curl up in the bed and daydream about hiking. I am not going to be able to hike anywhere if I don’t stop curling up in the bed in a cocoon waiting for the world to change because I won’t physically be able to do it! There are plenty of beautiful trails and neighborhoods for me to take safe walks by myself. I am in control of this.

The other is that I absolutely need to buy a pair of purple high top Chucks.

I am really tired of this emotional roller coaster where one day I feel hopeful and motivated and then severely depressed for three days or more. Today should be good, and I’m rolling with it.

This week I accomplished a couple of major tasks at work so I feel a lightening of weight.

I sewed enough masks to give to the co-workers that I saw at work on Wednesday and Friday, and I have another stack in different stages of construction ready to sew.

I made it through the tough part of moving the photos over to the blog, the time period when my mother grew sick and died. I honestly never thought that I would grieve so much over missing my mother, but I still do. I am up to August 2014 now, when I made my first trip to Pam Patrie’s lovely cabin on the Oregon coast, so those will be some good memories to bring up. I canceled my renewal to Flickr Pro, so I have until Jan. 3 to finish this project. I can do this now. I think that a few hours on a couple more weekends will be enough time.

It is cold outside today, but I am going to make an effort to get out for a walk. I’ll set a goal of moving 2014-2015 over to the blog, and sew a few masks. We need some new ones.

I am settling in with the acceptance that we probably won’t be able to travel overseas this summer, and I am considering booking the ticket for early September or over Christmas break. Those are the two times during fall semester when things slow down because I am mainly waiting on other people to send me stuff.

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

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Again, I stayed up way too late and got up early to feed the little monsters, then went back to bed and slept way too long. My dreams were vivid and not necessarily good, but I still wanted to remain within them rather than join reality today. I was brutally honest on a Facebook post yesterday: “I am a bitter, angry person.”

However, last night I was up because I was caught up in reading “The Last Days of Dogtown” by Anita Diamant. It is a thin volume and I had been warned off by the words “not as good as The Red Tent” but I am enjoying it immensely.

Orbitz finally responded to my third follow-up email in which I said that if I didn’t get a response by Nov. 30, the original date of my flight credit’s expiration, I would go higher and go to social media. I hate having to threaten to go to social media, even when I do it nicely, but it seems to be effective. They granted me the same credit that they had in August, with the same conditions, but I have to book before Dec. 31 now.

I immediately went into some kind of frantic angry brain-fogged research and decided that the airfares were now too high for the credit to be worth flying on Aer Lingus again. I filled out a customer service survey that I now regret. Somebody, please, help me get control of my brain back.

Because when I calmed down and thought about it, I looked at my Southwest account and found a lot of miles had been refunded from that trip. Which reminded me that on the original trip, I used those miles to fly to Boston, and booked Aer Lingus through Orbitz from Boston-Dublin-Boston. Well, that is an entirely different scenario. Flights are much, much cheaper to Ireland from Boston. So the current plan is to fly by myself the same way that I planned to this past summer, and the other three in our vacation party can fly together from Raleigh on United. We’ll meet up in Dublin. I don’t mind flying by myself. The only issue left is dates.

Vaccination against Co-vid 19 is naturally the key. If it becomes available as expected, I will not be in the first groups to get it. I’ll turn 60 in February and fortunately in pretty good health. The other three are over 65 and will likely be able to get it in time for summer travel. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see, but as an INTJ, contingency planning is “my thing” and this much uncertainty is driving me a bit bonkers, considering that my planning (with wasted money on travel insurance) didn’t mean much this year.

I remember pronouncing, “I’m going to Ireland even if I have to swim there!” HA! I’m not that strong a swimmer.

Anyway, I am bitter and angry, mostly about politics, but also circumstances that I won’t mention here. Let’s just say that I am very disappointed in a few people and leave it at that. I should store that up for the Airing of the Grievances on Festivus. And I am SO TIRED of all the cheery gratitude and sappy Christmas songs and I’m gonna stop here before I regret that too.

I talked to my sister for about an hour on the phone on Thanksgiving Day. Usually we spend this holiday together, and it is the only holiday that I actually celebrate and enjoy any more. Our personalities have a lot in common, even though our personal styles could not be more different. I love and miss her deeply, but I’m not sure that we could live together without making each other crazy. We have talked about doing that as we get older, and maybe we will both move to Portugal. It could happen, but she will be doing all the interior design and decorating, and I will just try not to embarrass her with my total lack of care about fashion and style trends. She would probably be good for me, but I’m not sure that I’d be good for her.

Just looked at my last few posts and realized that I am obsessing and repeating myself. But whatever. At least there has been progress.

The turkey dinner from Deep Roots was pretty good. The only thing we really did not like was the brussels sprouts – they were tough. But the cornbread dressing was delicious, as was the bacon/swiss quiche and cherry pie. It’s been really nice to have plenty for turkey sandwiches and leftovers. I think that I’ll make turkey tetrazinni today or tomorrow.

I haven’t sewed up my masks yet. I found that 2013 was a very photo-heavy year for me on this blog, in part because I took up a visual journal project. So I got obsessed with trying to get this blog/photo project done and it is taking up a LOT of time. It is also dredging up some unhappy memories and I expect that is part of my current malaise.

The man is up and about, complaining about it being too hot in there and turning off the heat. It’s really funny because we have switched in this respect. Now he is the one who is always too hot, and I get spells where I am so cold I wrap up in blankets and shiver. He used to be the cold one, always wearing sweaters and wrapping up while I was getting ice packs out of the freezer and turning off the heat. We keep the thermostat at 68 F and that hasn’t changed.

Time to finish up 2013 and begin 2014, which was a very, very tough year and I’d like to get that one over with.

bloggy stuff, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Well, lookathere, it’s now Saturday afternoon. Time has been all whacked out during the pandemic. You would think that it would go more slowly, being mostly stuck at home, but instead it races.

I’ve been avoiding politics as much as I can make myself do it, and since hospitalizations are at a high with not many (or any) ICU beds available it has become time to really hunker down again. When I went to work yesterday I mostly closed my office door and had little contact with anybody, even at a masked distance. I plan to keep it that way for a while. I don’t think that we are going to do Thanksgiving, even. My brother-in-law is having heart surgery soon, and they need to be extra careful. I am still considering going down to the lake house but Sandy doesn’t want to go.

Twitler and Mikie and the Ratlickers have been hitting North Carolina hard this week and last, bringing more Covid to our state. North Carolina has always been a purple state. It’s been gerrymandered badly during the past decade so it has been a tough slog at the state level. We have a Dem governor and attorney general and a deeply red state legislature. The GOP is not even embarrassed at what they do to suppress the vote and get their people into power by any means necessary any more. So I am looking forward to getting my Social Security and getting the hell out of Dodge at age 62. Hopefully we can wait that long, and we will survive in good health that long. I spend a lot of time on ex-pat Portugal Facebook pages these days. It’s doable, but it’s gonna be rough on my anxiety and the cats.

On Election Night I am doing a Zoom meeting with some artist friends connected through Leighanna Light’s Facebook page, where we will all have some kind of creative work that we are individually doing and some emotional support. I expect that unless it is a landslide we will not know who won that night. Certainly it was a devastating surprise in the 2016 election the following day.

Anyway, another hurricane remnant came through this week: Tropical Storm Zeta. This one was fast and strong and blew out a lot of power in central/western NC. We had no problems. We seldom lose power in this house.

The other thing that happened was that I did an online chat with an Orbitz rep to ask some questions about my Aer Lingus credit, and it was good that I did, because they told me that it expired at the end of June and was surprised that someone from Orbitz told me differently. Fortunately I had enough misgivings that I had not booked our flight. Now it has been passed up another level and I might get a refund since I have documentation of the Orbitz rep saying that I had until Nov. 30.

That would be splendid if I get the money back.

On the tax refund front, however, we are still stuck with nobody to help. I think that when Kathy Manning gets elected to Congress and we actually have a Rep who might help us we will call her office. I highly doubt that Tea Party Ted could be bothered to help out a Dem/Independent couple. I would at least like to know if we should re-submit our tax return.

Still working on moving the Flickr photos over to WordPress and changing the links in my blog posts. That is a pretty tough job considering this blog has moved three times and I’ve been posting since 2005. However, on the second move I lost a LOT of posts because it was so boogered up on GoDaddy that I moved a lot of it manually, and in doing so I skipped a lot of the more mundane entries. I lost the links to a lot of my photos too. In the noughts I wrote a lot, often daily. I have been working on this project for a little more than a year, and plan to not pay Flickr anything come 2021. They became too expensive and I’d rather pay WordPress to host my photos. Then I ended up dealing with moving the Tapestry Weavers South mess of a web site and I lost a lot of time. At least it is on WordPress.com now where I can deal with both of them in much the same way.

Sandy has been doing a lot of handyman work around the house and it has been a very good thing. I got some more of the front porch painted but it was stormy this week and I have dealt with my mental health by spending a lot of time in bed, unfortunately.

Okay. Back to cleaning and a bit of art work. I finished The Good Lord Bird this week and it is a great book. Amazing that the subject of John Brown could be made so entertaining and funny. I want to read more James McBride. Right now I am sticking with mid-19th century U.S. historical fiction and starting Lincoln in the Bardo.

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

Saturday morning coffee pot post

So much for my daily blogging routine. Poof! Oh well. I realized at some point in the last two weeks that if I didn’t stop pushing myself with all these “shoulds” my anxiety would never stop increasing. It is a problem very deep in my core that I nearly always feel like I should be doing something else. I am also by nature a very low energy, lazy person. Between the overwhelming anxiety and the guilt I feel, it is a perfect storm for shutting me down completely. August is traditionally a time of high anxiety for me anyway, with the new semester beginning and new students coming in.

I reminded myself that I am not an artist for a living. I do have a job that pays my bills. Art is for my pleasure and I have had artist blocks before. I always get my mojo back at some point but I always have to let it go first. Truly let it go, not try to get it back on a schedule. Hopefully my mojo will be back from vacation soon, but sometimes it travels far before I see it again.

For the past couple of weeks I have rearranged the studio room so that one table serves as my work office and there is nothing art-related to distract me on that table. UNCG finally got my new work laptop ready and it is a dream – very small and fast and works better than my desktop computer at work. Now I have this clunky laptop back for what I originally bought it for – blogging and photo editing and personal computer stuff. It couldn’t handle all that extra work stuff. The microphone died and the video cut in and out. Now that Zoom is my new reality, that was a problem.

It would be helpful if I could get into watching TV and movies but I just can’t do it for long. It has to be an incredibly gripping plot. Sandy will binge a whole series in a week or less. We both gave up on “How to Get Away with Murder” though. There is such a thing as overdoing it. I’m considering subscribing to HBO again for a while.

The heat wave here was so long and oppressively humid that there is NO gardening going on. I’ve gotten a few tomatoes and I always have my trusty little volunteer cherry tomatoes. The potatoes have been disappointing – low yield and bitter. I started picking figs and for the first time ever, encountered Japanese beetles on my tree. It is a huge tree and there will still be enough figs for me and the beetles but it was quite a shock the first time they burst out around my head in a swarm when I disturbed their feeding. If I ever make it to a hardware/gardening place where I feel safe I will buy some traps. And of course that fat groundhog is still munching its way through my yard. I have not visited my UNCG plots since early summer. I can’t seem to bring myself to do it.

Trying to decide if it is worth planting a fall garden. I would need to do it now, and it will have to be protected from furry critters. If I have to grow my own food, we just might starve to death, because the challenges are much greater than they were when I started the Back Forty in 2002.

Right now my main focus is keeping the jungle from taking over. I really need to find some help, but I’ve had such terrible luck with it that I keep putting it off.

Our tax refund is lost in limbo, and it’s the one with the big rebate payment for our solar panels. If we ever get it, I plan to pay off that loan. However, it is impossible to get anybody on the phone, and the online system says it doesn’t exist. This was the first time in years that we mailed it in, and we did it in early April. Probably the worst decision of the year.

I also need to call Orbitz about my plane ticket to Ireland. They were supposed to get back to me about the amount of time I have to redeem the credit from Aer Lingus. I’m afraid that by the time I can go back the airfare will be 3x as much as my credit is, since I got such a good deal.

I’m going to copy this part about reading “The Luminaries” directly from Facebook, but with an update that I am now on page 447. I have a hard time NOT finishing a book. It’s an OCD rule.

“So, you know how you buy a book that received awards but mixed reviews but you bought it anyway because it seemed like something you’d like and just as you thought about ditching it it got a tad more interesting and so you figured you would keep on reading even though you couldn’t read more than ten minutes at a time before laying it down because you are so bored and now you are 393 pages in and weeks have gone by and it seems like an investment at this point but the book is 830 pages long and you wonder about the meaning of life and then put it down to reread a book by Annie Proulx that you loved when you read it in the 90s but you drank so much back then that you killed the brain cells that remembered the plot so that all you remember is an accordion and a spider and you’re not sure about the spider and so it seems like you never read it? Well. That’s me right now.”

Back to dreaming and wishing and porch sitting in front of the fan. Here are the last photos from Lake Waccamaw that I never got around to posting. They are from sunrise on one of my last days there. I ended up staying for two weeks.

augggghhhh, coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety

An anxiety interlude

I skipped a day blogging. Every day brings its own set of hellish news, but yesterday’s news struck very close to home. For the first time, I am really nervous about losing my job to budget cuts. I am worried about MANY people I know losing their jobs and (because we’re “‘Murica!”) health insurance to budget cuts. In a PANDEMIC that is rocketing.

PW Exclusive: UNC System Exploring Worst Case Scenario Budget Cuts of Up to 50%

The hit to our economy from these budget cuts would be massive at 25%.

Yesterday morning my main concern was when my work laptop would be available because my personal one is so rickety slow, and whether I would be able to avoid the bathrooms when I go back to work.

Late yesterday I sent a form to HR with permission for us to hire a staff member to teach a class for us. He has done it before and I see this form as a big waste of time but, whatever. He waited a few weeks to send it to me. HR sent me an email last night that there is a personnel hiring freeze. There wasn’t one three weeks ago. His online class is full, and we accounted for it in our budget.

Ominous.

My reaction to anything since Twitler was elected has been pretty numb. Yes, I’ve been to protests and spoken up, and contacted my congressional reps (knowing that it was pointless). But the atrocity waves of 2020 are wearing me down. The main reason I am at the lake is to get my mental health back to a more functional place. I cannot shut down.

From now on I will save the rest of my vacation days in case I lose my job. If I can manage to keep my job until Feb. 17, 2021, I believe that I can retire with my pension at 85% and hopefully keep my health benefits. The health insurance is key. Thank God Sandy is on Social Security and Medicare.

Of course, who know what might happen with all that, with an increasingly authoritarian government who gets away with doing almost anything they want, and voter suppression active and in the open.

Down here at Lake Waccamaw, where people held a 100 boat flotilla parade flying Twitler/Putz flags on July 4 on a STATE PARK lake, where few people wear masks inside the local grocery store, I am for the first time more afraid of these fanatics than I am of the natural predators. I backed in my car so that my Bernie bumper stickers can’t be seen from the road. This is why I could never live down here in rural eastern NC again.

Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety, Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw, Ch. 2, Day 4

It feels like I have been here longer than four days. I had to work for a little while this morning – seems like something unexpected happens whenever I go on vacation – but that’s fine. At least I can do it from here!

Yesterday felt like somewhat of a waste because I went back into anxiety mode after being so relaxed on Monday. The painters came and painted the outside of the house a dark bluish grey. It looks so much better, although they didn’t do a great job. The front door will need another coat and a few touch-ups and trim fixes will have to be done. One of the guys did not wear a mask and the only time he made me nervous was when he painted the front door because he had it open. Also, I didn’t like it when he talked to my sister closer than six feet away. I pretty much holed up in my bedroom for most of the afternoon.

I am fascinated with these little burrows in the sand. My guess is that they are mollusks, but I have no idea.

I will take a photo of the house tomorrow morning when it is not in shadow so much.

Lisa came over late that morning and we sat by the lake for a little while when the breeze picked up. That evening I walked to her house where Tim grilled burgers and hot dogs and we sat together inside to eat. We went out to the end of the pier at twilight and visited in the cooler breeze over the water, Tim in the hammock and Lisa and I in rocking chairs. It is a lovely place to spend an evening.

Lisa just called and they are about to pick me up in the pontoon boat for a ride. It is super hot and humid so that will be a great way to get outside!

Hopefully I will be able to post photos of masks by tonight or tomorrow morning.