art, Family, fiber art, Marietta, tapestry, weaving

Heading into the holidays

You know, I am NOT a holiday person. I do celebrate Buy Nothing Day and Festivus.

This year will be the first year in many that I have not spent at least part of the long Thanksgiving weekend at my mother’s house. She passed away a year and a half ago. Today was supposed to be the day that we closed on the sale of her house. I’m very attached to places (my grad mentor described me as having a great sense of place, which I never even knew was a thing) and this sale has been difficult for me, even though I knew that I’d never want to return there to live and it was too time-consuming and expensive to hang on to the house. Well, the closing didn’t go through, but I assume that it will happen soon. It’s not a lot of money but I’ll pay off my home equity loan and put the rest into my rainy day account.

At least the clearing out of the stuff is finished. There were surprises and treasures along with every piece of paper that she ever touched. We left a little over half the furniture there for the next owner to use. Much went to the thrift store that supports the Boys and Girls Home in Lake Waccamaw, which was her chosen charity. Much went to the dumpster, burn barrel, and recycling center. A lot went to used bookstores and recycled art supply stores such as Shelf Life in Greensboro and the Scrap Exchange in Durham. I brought back a lot of crystal that I will never use, and I donated about half of it to the history department to use for receptions. There’s a possibility that we might have an exhibition of her paintings at the Pecan Festival in southeastern North Carolina next year. We couldn’t get it together in time for this year when my sister was asked about it.

With the pending sale of this house there are many mixed feelings. A huge sense of relief mixed with disbelief. We have worried about and dreaded inheriting this house for years before Mama died. The dread didn’t even prepare us adequately for how many garbage bags or boxes we would need to clean out just one stuffed and overflowing closet. We would go in with the determination that we would knock out most of it many, many times, and we always vastly underestimated what needed to be done.

I do not want one of my relatives to have to do this when I am gone. I have to get myself together and my clutter and hoarded boxes of stuff OUT.

The disbelief comes in because we can’t quite process the fact that we are done. The relief won’t be complete until then. And that the only home that together my sister, brother and I have ever known will be out of our hands, although I’m sure it will not ever be out of our hearts.

But there were treasures too.

No one ever accused my daddy of being shy and unassuming.

My mother was a real looker and she knew it. This is one of the houses she grew up in. Country girl. Learned how to take care of herself and made sure that we all did too.

There’s no doubt that I have much scanning and cataloging of photos to do. There are photos going back to the mid-19th century. Unfortunately, nobody thought to write on the backs of them. Some of them are tintypes.

Anyway, I’m heading to Lake Waccamaw to have Thanksgiving with my family at my sister’s new home. I’m going to try to finish up this little weaving while I’m there, tentatively titled “Migraine Day.” The sides are a mess, so it might be a sample. This is the first time I’ve used twill and wedge weave in a tapestry. I did have a warped perspective the day I designed it.

Colorado, Family

Zip lining and exploring in Colorado

Sandy and I went to Colorado to see my Aunt DeLaine and cousin Cherie in September, and we rented a car to do some sightseeing on our own.

The four of us went to Glenwood Springs on that Sunday with the idea that we would be ziplining there on Monday morning. We stopped in Vale during an Octoberfest festival and mosied around downtown Glenwood Springs and through the lobby of the Hotel Denver, an historic site. The West has done a great job of keeping many of its grand old hotels maintained and in business, unlike the East Coast. This is a detail from a beautiful kilim hanging there. We celebrated Cherie’s birthday at a saloon there. That night Cherie realized that our zipline appointment was actually in Idaho Springs, about two hours behind us, so we drove back to that area early in the morning.

As you might know, I am very afraid of heights but I occasionally get up the nerve to do something fun despite my fear. This time my courage failed me and I didn’t even make it to the stairs at the first tower before I had a panic attack. However, my 87 year old Aunt DeLaine did it, because she is like AWESOME AUNT.


She did get rescued once when she braked too soon.


Here’s Sandy making one trip across the creek.


Here’s my cousin Cherie.

As for me, I puttered about Clear Creek and thoroughly enjoyed myself, after a Xanax and a nice calm walk.

Afterwards, we ate lunch here:

Next, off to Rocky Mountain National Park.

art, Family, fiber art, Lake Waccamaw, tapestry, weaving

Labor Day weekend at Lake Waccamaw

Labor Day weekend was a mix of hard work and fun. Sandy and I met my sister, brother, and brother-in-law at Mama’s house in Marietta with a rented UHaul van. We filled it up with two bed frames, a set of double mattresses, two chests of drawers, my mother’s sewing machine/table, a wicker rocking chair, and various boxes of stuff that we could squeeze into every last bit of space. We moved a very nice old oak cabinet to my sister and brother-in-law’s new place at Lake Waccamaw. In between loading up on Saturday afternoon and unloading on Monday, we had a relaxing dinner with my brother and sister-in-law (no pics) and chilled out on the pier on Sunday. Even the rain was pleasant.

Not the greatest selfie of me, but I’m trying not to be vain. That’s my sister, brother-in-law, me, and Sandy.

Sandy plays chess with Tim. I love his beard! Every now and then he threatens to shave it and I have a fit.

Now I have the four-poster bed and matching chest of drawers in “my” bedroom. A friend of ours took the futon and queen mattress that I was using in there. I put my mother’s chest of drawers that she used as a dresser in my studio. Her sewing machine is a Singer from around 1960, I think. She always kept it oiled and well maintained because she used it a lot, sewing our clothes when we were kids and quilting and other sewing projects when she got older. I am proud to have it.

Here’s a photo that was in the treasure trove of photos Lisa found in her house. We think that she was about 13 years old and so that would date it around 1936.

I submitted the 98% Water tapestry to the ATA Biennial. Pam Patrie is responsible for the excellent job of mounting it. I’ll find out if it gets juried in in January.

I was asked to include a comment about the tapestry. I said that this was a self-portrait that melted. Here’s the detail shot.

Now I need to get ready for Sandy and I to go to Colorado! Then I will probably have to spend a few weekends in Marietta to finish cleaning Mama’s house for its new owner. I will be very glad to get this off my mind.

bloggy stuff, coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, Family, Marietta

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I’ve spent so much time farting around with trying to get my laptop back into adequate working condition that the coffee is nearly gone and I have been resigned to tapping this out with two fingers on my Kindle, which I hate. I am one of the last secretaries; I prefer typing on a normal size keyboard. And…now I am back on the laptop with a mouse and so far Chrome hasn’t crashed. Crossing my fingers.

Seems like the only time I post any more is about travel. Either I’m about to travel or I’ve just come back. Pretty tough life, eh?

Anyway, this week I wrapped up my summer projects at work, mostly, and tomorrow I’m driving to Gatlinburg for a weeklong weaving workshop, which sounds fascinating in concept but I’m not so sure about how I will handle the physicality of the heat in the forecast and how my back muscles will react to nomadic weaving systems. I’ve become such a wimp since I’ve gone through menopause. I am going to take this laptop with me to check email and try very hard to stay off Facebook. I’m not taking the Kindle because of the lure of games, which I have not loaded on this machine. However, I may still blog and I might upload photos from my phone to Facebook and Instagram without reading my feed, because I need a news break in the worse way.

Arrowmont very kindly gave me a gift certificate for what I paid last summer when I had to leave as soon as I got there because of Mama’s passing. They didn’t have to do it, and I didn’t ask for it, but they did it anyway and for that reason I’m already in love with them. I couldn’t fit in another workshop last year and it was hard to fit it in this year, but I did and I upgraded to a private room in a cottage with air conditioning. So, if I can’t physically bear whatever happens in class, I am taking plenty of personal projects and To Kill a Mockingbird, which I realized that I have never read when all the hoopla came out about Harper Lee’s new book. I will probably fill up the whole damn car with my studio, but this one is all about me.

Here’s a link to the workshop description:

^^^Daddy, Laurie, and Sherman.

A dilemma in the computer world is that Flickr is doubling its fee for my Pro account. Granted, they are giving me two year’s warning and that is good. However, as much as I love using Flickr I’m concerned because a) $49.95 annually is too damn much to pay for a photo storage service, and b) does this mean that they are having problems and my photos are in danger of disappearing? I know that Flickr is not used as much as it was ten years ago. I can find a free storage solution, but almost every photo I have on this site actually resides on Flickr. So much code will have to be changed if I get rid of my Flickr account! I have thousands of photos on Flickr. I feel pretty pissed off about the choice that I face.

Boy, this electronic world we live in is so much simpler, right? Now that I have a smart phone it dings and whistles and buzzes at me all the time. I love it but I feel like I’ve fallen further down the rabbit hole.

In the actual world we are selling my mother’s house. We have a buyer, who is getting it for about half of what it is worth, but she will be a good neighbor for our next door neighbor down there, who has done so much for my mother and us. I won’t be getting much out of the deal once my sister and I split the money, but it will be enough to pay off my home equity loan and do a few more repairs to our house. It has depressed me much more that I ever expected, just as the grief that I still feel about Mama’s death is surprisingly fierce and catches me off guard and sends me into tears. However much I despise the thought of living in Robeson County as an adult, Marietta was my home and I was lucky to spend my childhood there. It was a community that took care of me and allowed me to range freely and play tag with horses and build hideouts and catch tadpoles and dig through old trashpiles in the woods and climb as many trees as possible and ride my bike for miles around and my mother’s friends were incredibly patient in dealing with me, although they did report me when they saw me playing tag with a friend on our roof.

But it is time to move on. I’m lucky to have good friends here now, and it frees me up to leave the area if I choose to. I’ve read some very scary stuff about earthquakes and tsunamis expected on the Pacific Northwest coast that has rocked my anxiety world. At least in this area you get some time to get out before you get blasted by a hurricane. I’ve also considered other areas to move to, but you can’t escape climate change and so I may as well stop worrying. I do know that I will NOT consider moving anywhere hotter than here.

Time to get laundry started and start packing for my trip.

Here’s a shout-out to an old friend, a song that applies to me as well:

Colorado, Family

Colorado, Days Three and Four

On Sunday, we headed up into the Rockies. My cousin drove the four of us to Breckenridge, where we had a light lunch and then walked around the shops. The leaves were at their peak of color change, and the aspens were stunning against the blues/greens of the conifers. We were all kind of pooped and a couple of us started having some altitude problems so we went to our overnight lodgings at the Frisco Lodge in Frisco and rested up. We found a few places still open that Sunday afternoon and I snagged a great hat at a consignment shop.

After a great breakfast at the lodge we did a bit more shopping, then drove around to look at the scenery. On our way back to Broomfield we stopped in Georgetown and at Red Rocks. I would love to see a concert at Red Rocks. I can understand why it is such a big deal now that I’ve been there. The geology is so unusual too.

I have to say, the clouds in Colorado were nearly as magnificent as the mountains. My attention was always drawn to them.

art, Colorado, Family

Second day in Denver

On our second day in Colorado, Cherie, Sandy and I went to explore the Santa Fe St. art district in Denver. I was itching to spend some time at the Abecedarian Gallery, which specializes in book arts. To my surprise, their current exhibition was of my favorite book artist, Daniel Essig, and his wife, Vicki Essig. I knew what to expect of Dan’s work, having taken three of his classes, but it was Vicki Essig’s work that really blew me away. It is the type of art that is difficult to photograph because it is so delicate. It was so inspiring and made my mind turn immediately to combining my woven tapestry with books and found objects in a different way.

I have to say that I am flabbergasted that I don’t have but one photo of this afternoon. I must have really been in the moment. The photo above was the outdoor area behind one of the galleries. I love how they constructed the wall.

That night we watched my cuz-in-law, the fantabulous Kenny Perkins, perform with his band at Logan’s Roadhouse. They totally rocked the house.

art, Colorado, Family

Dale Chihuly and the first day in Colorado

This sunset greeted us when we left the Denver airport on Thursday. It turned out that all the sunsets were beautiful.

On Friday, Cherie, Aunt DeLaine, Sandy and I went to the Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanical Gardens. It would have been a great visit even without the art, but the Chihuly glass sculptures combined with the gardens made the visit spectacular!

That night we all ate from the buffet at Taj, a great Indian restaurant in Boulder, then we went to the open house at the observatory on the University of Colorado Boulder campus and looked at Mars, a globular star cluster, and a ring nebula. Students were playing some form of the human vs. zombies game and one of them used us for cover as we walked back to our car. I wouldn’t mind ending up living near Boulder one day.

Family, Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw, June 2014

This rainbow appeared at the end of a very rainy day and lasted for at least twenty minutes. I cried looking at it, hoping that it was a sign from Mama that everything would be okay. I had asked her for one.

My brother and my “other brother” grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

My grand-nephew Jake has nearly tamed Bill the duck. Agnes is his mate and is usually on her nest. When she gets off her nest to flirt with other mallards, he chases her back to the nest. When someone feeds Agnes, Bill will stand back and let her eat her fill before he joins in. She will stand on Jake’s feet and jump up to eat out of his hand.

These are the “Odd Ducks.” The black one appears to have a pearl necklace on when viewed from the other side. There is a Peking duck in another large group that mates with the mallards. I’m guessing that she might be the mother of the tan and white duck. I love it that these outsiders banned together. They are very shy with humans around.

I became intrigued with the wiggly reflections of the pier and boathouse next door.

Jake found an awesome piece of driftwood at the bottom of the lake.


Rest in Peace

My mother, Willye Kate Parham, passed away on June 15, 2014. She was 90 years young. I haven’t known how to post it but I’ve written about her so much here that I thought I should announce it. She left us quickly and peacefully in the hospital at Chapel Hill after a procedure the night before to drain some fluid from around her kidney. She seemed to be fine and the doctors were not overly concerned about the procedure being risky, but it had to be done. The next morning she told the nurses that she had chest pains, then as a nurse held her hand, she said, “I hope you have a good life,” and she passed away.

Here is one of my favorite photos of her from just a few years ago, being a farmer:

Being an award-winning artist:

Being a goof:

Being elegant:

Being a bathing beauty:

Being flat-out gorgeous:

Being a daughter:

Being a wife:

Being a friend:

Being a sister:

Being an aunt:

Being a cousin (and Grace is the other bathing beauty in the photo above):

Being a Mama and Mom-mo:

My childhood and adulthood friend, JoJo Hammond (aka Lisa Jo Spivey) sang this song that she composed for her the morning of her funeral at the memorial service. She is working on making a video, which I will post when it is available. Here are the lyrics:

The thing I remember the most
Is her pretty little smile.
She’s been in my life
since I was a child.
She loved me just as I am
She was a good wife, mother and friend
someone told me the last words she said

I hope you have a good life
Sunny days, starry nights
The one you love by your side
Just have a good life
Love your neighbor, be his friend
Walk an extra mile with him
I hope you have a good life.

As long as I can remember
Her daughter’s been my friend
She’s been there for me
Through thick and thin
I can see her Mama’s eyes
and that pretty little smile
I know just like her
She goes that extra mile

I hope you have a good life
Sunny days, starry nights
The one you love by your side
Just live a good life
Love your neighbor
Be his friend
Walk an extra mile with him
I hope you have a good life

She lived one of the best lives I can possibly think of, and I have been privileged to be her daughter and inherit her genes.

art, book arts, critters, dyeing, Family, Lake Waccamaw, Nature printing, whining

Lake Waccamaw etc., May 2014

Sandy and I spent a couple of days at Lake Waccamaw at my cousin’s house last week. It was a busy week despite being on vacation. We spent one day reading and playing in the water and the next day we went to Wilmington briefly and I did some eco-printing inside because of the rain and the midges and mayflies. When the workers began cutting back the bushes at the house next door on Friday morning we both decided to split and go to Marietta with Mama.

The full moon was beautiful the first two nights. The third night there was a tornado warning for a few minutes but most of the weather shifted to our northwest. Thank goodness, since there is no good place to take cover in the lake house.

I walked around the yard between storms and collected as many different fresh leaves as possible, combined them in a folded accordion book with some metal pieces that I’ve collected, and steamed the book, then immersed it in a dyebath with privet leaves and flowers and bald cypress needles in lake water. I figured that the bald cypress needles and lake water would provide enough tannin to create a mordant.

The problem was that I used too much metal and to me it spoiled a lot of the individual prints. The ones I like the most are simple. Also, part of my goal was to identify which leaves made the best prints, and for the most part, I couldn’t tell you. The Virginia creeper and Rose of Sharon leaves made nice prints:

There were other vines that I liked and the oxalis stems and bald cypress needles made nice lines. The flowers on the shrubbery and privet flowers worked well too, but very subtlely.

Mama transferred from the rehab center to my sister’s house for a week, and then we met my brother-in-law halfway on Friday and took her home. It’s been about a week since she went home and although she is still weakened, a physical therapist is coming to her house three days a week and she has a little more paid help to assist with light housework and yard work. She also has an amazing community around her that supports and loves her. I’ll go back down there this Saturday and stay the night.

I hate all the driving but I’ve found that books on CD makes it much more bearable. I decided to listen to Newberry Medal winners that I never read, because they are a little easier to follow while driving. Anything more complicated causes me to skip back to see what I missed, IF I missed something, when I am distracted by something on the road. Last week Sandy and I listened to Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and this week I will listen to Holes by Louis Sachar.

We came home to a huge pile of hardwood shredded mulch in our driveway. The problem was that I ordered compost. We are using part of the mulch to put on our paths but it was disappointing since I thought that I’d be planting more in raised beds this month. Oh well. Actually, last week really sucked for the most part. A friend died, my sister’s cat was bitten by a poisonous snake and died (I loved that cat and everyone is wrecked over his death), my laptop got a bad virus and didn’t come back intact after wiping the hard drive, and our basement flooded. I’m looking forward to that week in June in Gatlinburg, studying indigo dyeing with Rowland Ricketts at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.

However, even though the kittens are almost a year old, they are so much fun. We put carpet down in my bedroom and it looks and feels so much better. Still reorganizing and getting rid of stuff and it feels good. We celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary and ate a delicious brunch on Sunday at Sweet Potatoes on Trade St. in Winston Salem. Best shrimp and grits that I’ve ever eaten and I do not made that statement lightly.

Will try to do better with the blog posting but between work and Mama’s illness it was all a little too much.