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

Sunday morning coffee pot post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.