coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, Family, Reading

Sunday morning coffee pot post

The shelf next to my “work” table. The small bone is a vertebra that I found at the lake. I think that the lovely carved wooden container is bamboo, and probably came back from the Philippines with my father.

Yesterday I started blogging some of my earliest memories and I’m going to continue to do that from time to time. I think a lot about them when I am in that world between wakefulness and sleep. Plus, there is not really too much else to write about in my personal life, and I prefer to not write about politics, although occasionally I will have to put my opinions out into the world. I don’t want anybody assuming that because I am a white Boomer from North Carolina that I am right wing. I am a leftie all the way, and I have been since high school when I began to understand what humanity is doing to our environment. I can’t say that I understood racism then, although my heart was in the right place.

My mother and father always voted opposite parties, until my father started catching on to Reagin and voted against him in his second term in 1984. He still voted for Jesse Helms, though, bless his heart, because he said Jesse was head of the Senate Ag Committee and everything was about small farms for Daddy. After Jesse was re-elected, he moved to the Foreign Affairs committee so Daddy’s reason was moot.

I am a leftie to the point that Portugal not only calls me because of its affordability, beauty, and friendly people, but because it has a democratic socialist government. I am going to do my best to get there and get EU citizenship when I retire in 2023, and Sandy seems to be committed to this as well. What is going to be the big headache is downsizing our hoard and fixing the house and yard up to get our property sold. It will sell quickly, based on what I’ve seen on this street. We invested well.

Once we get Portuguese citizenship, I hope that will be my back door to moving to Ireland, which has always been my dream, but its income requirements are beyond what we make.

I keep saying that I will get back to artwork but I just can’t seem to do it. At least I have started exercising. I joined Sandy for his “one mile express” low impact exercise video yesterday and my feet were fine last night. Hopefully my tendinitis has healed enough that I can continue to exercise and sleep without pain.

Yesterday afternoon, I retreated here again and played games on my Kindle and read news articles and my current book and cuddled with Diego.

The bed frame is from my Aunt Lib’s bedroom from the Parham house. It traveled to my parents’ house, where it became my grandmother Jones’ bed while she lived with us. It is just the right size for this room, big enough for me, the cats, and my books.

Right now I am reading “House Made of Dawn,” a slim book with beautiful prose that takes place in New Mexico. Given my renewed interest in writing, I may read Natalie Goldberg’s book on memoir writing, “Old Friend from Far Away,” next.

Family

Early family memories: Parham grandparents

This really will be a brain sweep, since I am kind of overwhelmed with all of the possibilities that I have for this weekend. All of them at home, of course. I’m trying out the gallery feature on WordPress for the first time.

The Jones women: sisters and sisters-in-law. Back to front: Aunt Mildred, my grandmother Madge Jones, my step-grandmother Pauline, unknown (maybe Nell), Gertrude or Eva with Madge’s hand on her shoulder, unknown, unknown, Addie in the dotted dress on left, Gertrude or Eva in white dress in front, unknown. I never could tell Aunt Gertrude and Aunt Eva apart. Aunt Eva was the oldest sister. Of all these great aunts, I knew Aunt Mildred, who was the youngest, the best. I probably resemble Aunt Nell the most in personality, but rarely got to see her. There were ten brothers and sisters.


So, a bit of autobiography. My earliest memory is probably my grandfather Parham (aka Daddy Thad) sitting in a red leather armchair with metal studs on the upholstery. This had to be when I was two or younger because he died in 1963. I spent a lot of toddler time in my grandparents’ house in Marietta. My mother had a hysterectomy after I was born so I like to joke that I broke the mold, but in truth it meant that between that and a lot of eldercare on her part, I was babysat a lot.

My grandmother Parham, Eliza Henley, died in the 1930s from a sinus infection, when my father was 13. My grandfather Parham remarried my mother’s aunt, and that is how my parents met. So the woman who I called Grandmother on that side of the family was actually my great aunt. It wasn’t until much later that I worked all that out. My father called his stepbrother “brother” and mother called him “cousin.” She called my “grandmother” Aunt Pauline.

I don’t know why I was so formal with what I called my grandparents. I called both grandmothers “Grandmother” and both grandfathers “Granddaddy.” My other siblings called my grandmother Jones “Mom-o.”

Great Aunt Pauline Smith Jones Parham

Anyway, Grandmother Parham/Great Aunt Pauline spoiled me rotten. She lived in the back part of the house and the rest of it was shut off, dusty and mysterious, and I was terrified of the rest of the house. There was a small room with a propane heater, a sofa and chair and a little bed to sleep on. Perhaps because she was descending into dementia, I got a hefty fear of ghosts from her, because I remember her sometimes talking about Granddaddy like he was still alive, and it was very confusing. She cried a lot and reminisced about her once long red hair. I loved staying there, though, and I know that she loved me to pieces. She scratched my back to settle me down and I still long to have my back scratched when I need comfort. There were interesting old books of fairy tales and nature illustrations, and wooden blocks and little plastic figurines to play with. Outside, I loved to pick figs from her tree and her next-door neighbor, Miss Marie, had a rope swing. I remember spotted tiger lilies and lantana.

I was enthralled with a cup that had a picture of a cow on a cup that had a cow on a cup into infinity. I see the kitchen so clearly in my mind. I must have eaten many meals there.

When I dream about this antibellum house, which is often, there is a mysterious stairway down to a huge cavernous abandoned ballroom, with lots of interesting antiques and junk to poke through. It is scary and fascinating at the same time.

My brother and his first wife lived there for a time, and then my sister inherited it and rented it out. I explored it thoroughly and found some treasures. The attic was huge, pitch dark, unwired, and full of 19th to early 20th century junk. This house nearly fell apart before my sister finally sold it to someone who spent a huge amount of effort and money fixing it back up. The chimney actually fell through the roof. Then they went bankrupt and it sold to someone in the community who takes loving care of it. It is a beautiful house now.

Later, Grandmother Parham/Great Aunt Pauline went to a nursing home, and Mama and I visited her every week. She descended into that violent paranoid place where she attacked her roommate for stealing from her. I was told for a long time that I inherited Aunt Pauline’s “nerves” which I can tell you that I did not appreciate hearing. I dread the specter of dementia more than anything else in this world.

I have such complex memories of that old house, and it’s usually a pleasure when I dream about its rooms. If there are any photos of it, there aren’t any that I can access. The visual memories will all have to reside in my brain. My brother has the Civil War era bowie knife that I found in a closet. I have a Civil War cavalry manual, stack of 19th century magazines, a corset, a spinning wheel, and an American history book that is pre-Civil War.

Family

Welsh Roots

I finished “How Green Was My Valley,” a coming-of-age novel set in a small Wales mining village, at a time when workers were beginning to strike against the mine owners. My great-grandmother was named Martha Washington David, from a line of Davids that immigrated to South Carolina from Wales in the early 1800s.

Anyway, it set me thinking about maps and names, and how it seems that the Welsh often have what we consider to be a first name for a last name – like David, Thomas, James, and John. One of my direct ancestors is named David David. Variants of John’s son are common in the English speaking world, and Jones is a major line in my family.

In a parallel reality I am a historian researching names.

The funniest one I found last night was Hypolite LeFevre. He was from Middlesex, England.

Anyway, here is a map of the area around Swansea where the Davids came from. Looks like a beautiful place to put on the bucket list. I found these maps on a great site: A Vision of Britain through Time.

I love the language and the names of the places, but I can’t imagine learning Welsh.

Owen David was born in Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, Wales in 1711. He died in Cheraw, South Carolina in 1788. Pembrey is in the bottom right corner of the second map.

Thomas David was born in Llanfihangel Aberbythych, Carmarthen, Wales in 1622.

David Davies was born in Denbighshire, Wales, and married Anna Ellen Morgan in Llanrhidian, Glamorgan, Wales in 1618. His father’s name was David Rees, and his alternate name is David ap David. I assumed “ap” means “son of” and kept going back.

The farthest back this line is traced in familysearch.org is Jenkyn David, father of Ieuan Ap Jenkyn David, who was from Llantwitt-fardre, Glamorgan, Wales, whose first wife, lo and behold, has a first name from “How Green is my Valley”: Angharadd.

Each child from this marriage is listed as having the last name Davis or Davies, but their parents and ancestors hark back to the old naming conventions.

Let’s look at Angharadd Verch Philip Jeven, born in Gwydir, Caernarfonshire, Wales in 1550. Her father was named, you guessed it, Philip ap Jeven Gwilim. So “Verch” must mean “daughter of.” Her brother: Rees ap Philip.

So that’s my Welsh lesson for today, courtesy of the Church of Latter Day Saints. If you read this far, congratulations!

coffee pot posts, Family

Sunday sweep

Just finished up 2011 on the Flickr to WP blog project. And boy, in hindsight, it’s obvious why I ended up needing hand surgery. I was a busy bee. There were SO MANY photos of books that I made in these posts that I forgot about entirely, and were either sold or given away. I was also stitching and weaving. I wish I could conjure up some of that creative energy now. It’s been good to see that I am capable of all this, though.

Today is the anniversary of my father’s death, which was in 1986. However, this morning I was thinking about the day that I walked away from my mother, the last of her children to depart after the funeral. I felt her eyes on me long after I drove away, but maybe that was just me. She was pretty angry with me for minor stuff, like what I wore to the funeral, and we would have the worst fights of our lives for the next six months, saying awful things to each other that still haunt me. In my defense, the worst came from her. I really put up with a lot and tried to appease her, since I realized what she must be going through.

I wondered what she did after she turned and went back into her house that day. Did she sleep? Did she cry? She was living alone for the first time in her life.

Later, she thrived in her independence. She traveled without having to worry about my father or her children. She had part-time work as a temp for the local postal service and made enough money to get by. She could have married again to a boyfriend who she really loved, but decided against it because they lived about a hundred miles apart and neither wanted to move. She was the Queen Bee of Marietta, NC, and stayed constantly busy in church, community, and art groups. Her children actually worried about her doing too much when she hit her 80s, and she was, until back pain and frustration with computers slowed her down. She worked until she was 83 and had a huge garden until a couple of years after that.

I’m glad that we finally started getting along. I miss her. I think that Daddy would have been happy with the way her life continued after he died. On one hand, I wish she was here for me to turn to in these dark days. On the other, I am glad that she didn’t live to deal with it. She would probably be in a nursing home and miserable, and by the time she died she was ready to go.

I was proud of my mother. She lived her life fully. I was Daddy’s girl, but by the end, I was Mama’s girl too.

Family

Rest in Peace, Virginia DeLaine Anthony

My beloved Aunt DeLaine passed away on Saturday night at the age of 91. She had a long, amazing, adventurous life. The last time I saw her I had a feeling that I might not see her again, so I told her that I have adored her all my life and that I hoped that I would “grow up” to be like her. At that time she was recovering from heart and hip surgery, and was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s but still living in her own apartment and still walking up and down those 17 steps. That was the long weekend when we went to Cripple Creek, Colorado. That was in September 2017.

In 2016, we visited a lovely French bistro/shop in Longmont, and later the Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings Museum:

Our visit in September 2015 included the infamous ziplining adventure over a creek in Idaho Springs. I ended up having a panic attack and wimped out. DeLaine, however, was the most enthusiastic and stalwart of the four of us. At age 87, she may have been the oldest zipliner they had ever had.

In 2014, we went to the Denver Botanical Gardens for the Chihuly exhibit.

I loved that she could be goofy too. This was in Boulder in June 2010.

I have loads of photos of Aunt DeLaine. I chose the ones of our adventures in Colorado together during the past nine years, but she came to North and South Carolina to visit often as well. She was a world traveler, and had lots of tales to tell, including about the celebrities she met when she was a “Girl Friday” for KBIG in Los Angeles.

I will miss her deeply.

Colorado, Family, Florrisant Fossil Beds National Monument, National Parks and Monuments

Colorado, Part III: Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, etc.

That morning we went to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument and saw the petrified stumps of ancient redwood trees. We walked the trails a little. They were gentle. It was a gorgeous day. We were disappointed that we couldn’t pick up fossils, but I guess that’s why it is protected with national monument status. There are many great examples of insect and plant fossils in the visitors’ center.

Stopped for scenic photo shoots along the road, including an old mine site. There is still plenty of gold being mined up on those hilltops.

This looks like an oil painting to me:

Those vistas. Those skies.


On the way back we stopped at Manitou Springs again and had coffee and walked through several shops and galleries. A beautiful little town, although the parking situation is extremely frustrating there.

The next morning our flight was delayed and so we went back to Boulder and had brunch at an excellent farm-to-table vegetarian restaurant, Leaf. After we got to the airport, our flight was delayed two more times, and we didn’t get home until 1 a.m. I don’t think that we are going to fly on Frontier any more, although they did give us each a food voucher for $10 at the airport and a $50 credit for flying with them again. Maybe, I don’t know.

Now I’m back home thinking about views like this. But home is good. I like home, too.

Colorado, critters, Family

Colorado, Part II: Cripple Creek

Early afternoon saw us on the road to Cripple Creek, Colorado with a stop for Mediterranean food in Manitou Springs. We fed a friendly little squirrel pumpkin seeds and saw an elk doe and two fawns on the way.

Once we got there we checked into Cripple Creek Hospitality House, which turned out not only to be inexpensive and historic but fascinating and beautifully decorated as well. It was the former Teller County Hospital, built in 1901. All the rooms had names of the former use of the room. For example, the room on the left in the photo below had “Quarantine” on the door. Guess I’m glad I didn’t have that room!

Cherie and I drove and walked around Cripple Creek later that evening, but not much was open other than the casinos, and we don’t gamble. We had a light dinner at an Irish pub that had no stout (!!!) and my food was awful so I won’t mention its name. We did go into the Brass Ass Casino, where they had actual human interaction with roulette and blackjack and craps and that was fun to watch. The other casinos seemed to be only machines, which I find very sad. We saw a skunk run into an abandoned building. We loved the colors and styles of the small turn-of-the-century houses.

The big animal highlight was the herd of donkeys wandering around town. They are descendants of the old mine donkeys, and they are very well taken care of. They could be a little aggressive if you had something that they liked to eat.

We ate lunch at the Red Rooster bar in the Imperial Hotel, which is haunted. That is the ghost of Sandy photobombing Aunt Delaine and me. The other ghost, George, was not around. Which was just fine with me.

Family, Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina

Lake Waccamaw Easter 2017

Easter at Lake Waccamaw seems to be on its way to tradition status.

We rolled in around 8 p.m. on Friday night and went straight to Dale’s for fried oysters and shrimp. When we walked out around 9 p.m., the mayflies were swarming. They calmed down during the day on Saturday and Sunday, but at night they were attracted to light colors and you could hear the cars running over them on the pavement. It sounded like bubble wrap popping. They are a nuisance, but they are a sign of nature in balance, and they don’t last long. A mayfly is quite graceful looking.

We stayed at Weezer’s cottage (Fred’s house) down the road from my sister’s house and walked back and forth. The temperature was mild and it was breezy enough for whitecaps even during the day.

On Saturday morning we went to the local old time music jam at the Lake Waccamaw Depot Museum. There were 2 or 3 pickers who were extremely talented. I’ll go back to hear them again.


As usual, Lisa had fabulous food prepared for us. We took a boat ride on Sunday morning, then returned to Greensboro after lunch.

Colorado, critters, Family

Visiting family in Colorado

^^^My cousin volunteers at a bird of prey rescue and rehabilitation center. It is not open to the public but we were allowed to quietly visit some of the areas and see eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, and one turkey vulture. Adam, the bald eagle in the top photo, is an education bird and whistles and chirps adorably when humans call his name. He wouldn’t pose for me, though! The birds have long enclosures where they can practice flying and hunting safely before they are released to the wild again.

^^^On Friday, my aunt, cousin, and I went to the Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings Museum, where Anasazi cliff dwellings were removed from McElmo Canyon and relocated by train and rebuilt brick by brick between 1904 and 1907. This was just before the 1906 Antiquities Act was passed by Congress and Mesa Verde was protected as a national park. The purpose was to preserve them from destruction.

Before that we ate some of the best Middle Eastern food I’ve ever eaten on Manitou Avenue at the Heart of Jerusalem Cafe.

My cousin drove us home through the mountains near Pike’s Peak which was a beautiful drive. We got to see the incredible destruction of the huge Medano fire in this area which began when Sandy and I visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park on the other side of the range in 2010. I should have taken photos but I didn’t.


^^^On Saturday, Sept. 17 we went to Longmont, Colorado where we ate lunch at this incredible French bistro and shopped at the adjoining shop. They are located in a former power station built in 1931. Beautiful renovation! We enjoyed walking through downtown for a bit and I looked at the different Craftsman style houses in a couple of neighborhoods to get ideas for painting our house.


^^^Saturday night my cousin and I went to hear her husband Kenny Perkins and band play at the 20 Mile Tap House in Parker. This couple got up close and personal – they seriously dug the guitar solo. We danced and had a great time.


^^^Views of the Front Range to help with future artwork. The moon was huge on Saturday night, and hung over the mountains every morning.

book arts, Family, fiber art, National Parks and Monuments, tapestry, yearly wrap-ups

Goodbye to 2015

2015 was a very full year. Although I feel like I didn’t blog that much, I realize that I did write about the big events, and as usual, found that there were more of those than I realized. We traveled a LOT.

From January to March, I wrestled with my new-to-me Shannock tapestry loom until I finally got a warp on it, although I would struggle with it and rewarp it several times. I began weaving a tapestry based on a photograph I took in 2006 while lying in a hammock under one of my very favorite trees, a large bald cypress at Lake Waccamaw that I played under when I was a baby. This tree carries a lot of memories and meaning for me. When the sun shone through its large Spanish moss laden canopy and reflected off the lake that day, I knew that it was going to be the subject of a special artwork for me one day. I reworked the photo repeatedly in Photoshop, cut it up and pieced it back together in different ways, and thought about interpreting it in fabric collage or in acrylics or oils. It was taped to my closet door for years as I considered it.

Finally I began weaving it, deciding to interpret it through the blending of different colors of wool singles. It felt good, it felt right. The warp tension is god-awful, but I finally had to begin weaving or go crazy. I’ve made adjustments along the way and I think that it will be fine in the end. I know what not to do next time. Part of the problem was that I enjoyed weaving on my front porch in nice weather, and carrying the loom back and forth made the tension problems worse. Now I have it set up in my studio, which is what half of the front room became this year. The cats don’t bother it because I booby-trapped it with things that fell down and made a clatter in the beginning, but they will steal my yarn if I am not careful.



April brought an unexpected and amazing opportunity to study with Archie Brennan and Susan Maffei at Pam’s cabin near Cannon Beach, Oregon.

In May Sandy and I took that trip to Cahokia Mounds and St. Louis that we canceled last year when Mama was sick. We had loads of fun exploring St. Louis, including the zoo and the City Museum. There are not enough photos in the world to represent the City Museum. Funhouse and art. Ten story indoor slide. Cave tunnels. Ferris wheel and more slides on the rooftop.


Then, because this was the trip we planned and paid for first, Susanne Martin and I went back to Oregon in June for ten days to study with Pam Patrie at her cabin, explore the area, and attend Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove, Oregon where the three of us took a great map and bookmaking workshop with Jill Berry. It was one of the most enjoyable workshops I’ve ever had, and I made some new friends on both trips. I was able to explore a little more this time, since Susanne and I rented a car. We went to Ecola State Park, Lewis and Clark National Park in Astoria, and drove down Hwy 101 to Manzanita.


In between all this traveling, I was trying my best not to think about the gargantuan task in Marietta of cleaning out my mother’s home. At the time it seemed that we would be lucky if we ever sold it and so had all the time in the world, and my sister and her husband had just bought a house at Lake Waccamaw, so she was retired and was close to Marietta and took on the bulk of the work, driving down there to make repairs and improvements and take loads to the charity store and the dumpster each time. Then we got an offer on the house. An extremely low offer, but as is. Our friends from down there advised us to take it, and we did. But I still had a lot of traveling scheduled, including a weeklong class at Arrowmont that they were kind enough to issue me a gift certificate from 2014 when my mother died when I was there.

The class was Site Specific Weaving, and it was a hot muggy week in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and I chose that Monday to fall apart. However, later I did get it together enough, despite a lot of pain, to get some good work done. My installation was simple, but considering I came up with it and did it in about 24 hours, I was pleased. I started a tapestry, “Migraine Day,” that I hope will become a part of something bigger in 2016. I also came home with TMJ and neck and shoulder problems that I am still not quite done with, but I’m much much much better than I was.

DSC_8502


In September, we went to Colorado for a week to celebrate my cousin’s birthday and do some more exploring. We went ziplining (or rather, my husband, my cousin, and my 87 year old aunt did, I wimped out), drove through Rocky Mountain National Park on our way to Dinosaur National Monument, then came back to visit the Denver Art Museum with my aunt, where we were able to see the new textile gallery with an impressive tapestry exhibition.

Then I had to concentrate on getting the house ready for closing with my sister. The whole family and my good friend JQ helped pack boxes, load trucks with furniture, make runs to the dumpster, and clean. In the end we left a lot behind, simply because no one had any more room and the new owner told us that she didn’t mind. I don’t even want to know what she got rid of and replaced. It broke my heart, even though I absolutely know that it was the right decision on a practical level. The sale was, and still is, incredibly screwed up. Hopefully it will all be over soon. I’m starting to heal just by being able to put it behind me.

Sandy and I went to Asheville for a weekend in October where I made books with Karen Hardy and some very fine bookbinders at Asheville Bookworks, in a workshop exploring the binding techniques of Hedi Kyle. We found a cheap place to stay through AirBNB, which I hope will make it easier for us to make more trips to that area.

We said a sad goodbye to Miss Lucy just before Christmas. She was twelve years old. I’ll never chop broccoli again without expecting her to come around the corner asking for a handout.

Throughout much of this, I was able to spend precious time with my sister Lisa, who is enjoying retirement at Lake Waccamaw in a lovely small house in easy walking (or swimming) distance from the bald cypress tree at my cousin’s house in the photo at the beginning of this 2015 wrap-up. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this year without my sister. I love her so much.

It was a much better and busier year that I had realized. No wonder I was so exhausted! Tomorrow, I look ahead.