Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina

Lake Waccamaw Spring 2019

Here’s a quickie post of our Easter weekend at Lake Waccamaw. It was very stormy on Friday with a couple of tornado warnings nearby. Of course the weather cleared up on the day we left. As usual, the birds amused me and I saw a pileated woodpecker. You can see some of the damage on the piers from Hurricane Florence last September. My sister’s house is repaired and livable again. As they began doing the repairs, they found less that needed to be done. That’s pretty unusual. The fact that the house is uninsulated helped – no moisture sitting in the walls to grow mold in. Still, it was a big repair job and much of the furniture was ruined. Now it is nice again.

My cousin’s house is still standing, but it needs to be torn down.

Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw

depression/anxiety, Festivus, Lake Waccamaw

Merry Christmas from the O’Neills!

Actually, we don’t really do Christmas in the good old Murican way any more. I’m much happier this way, and I think Sandy is too, as long as he gets to have Christmas with my sister and brother-in-law. We had a wonderful Festivus dinner with them at their rental house at Lake Waccamaw. Still too chilly to do any boat riding or pier sitting, but the sunset view was nice across the road. Lisa pinned Rascal on Christmas Eve morning so Festivus is officially over.

Today Sandy is working until 2, as he often does to let others have the morning off. He will be working the morning shift on New Year’s Day also, so I guess that means the Steampunk Ball in Saxapahaw is out for us this year, although he says he would deal with it if some friends decided to go. We enjoyed that last year.

We didn’t have a tree and I didn’t even bother to get the stockings or decorations out this year. Last year we strung up lights and two lighted Christmas balls on the front porch and never took them down, so I just plugged them in. Lights are my favorite part of Christmas anyway. I did not send cards. I am determined to unplug from the Christmas machine and do it in a non-commercial way. I am beginning to enjoy most Christmas music again, with the exception of very repetitive songs like Ring Christmas Bells and The Little Drummer Boy, which set my OCD a-twitchin’ and make me want to scream. I played bells in high school concert and marching bands and Christmas music is where I naturally got to shine. Sleigh Bells is one of my favorites because of this.

Being able to deal with holidays in my own way has been a key part of my mental health healing. It’s tough when your parents are gone or you have had other loss in your life. I’m not sure that you ever get over not having your parents during Christmas. I just saw a photo of Mama from Christmas five years ago in that house that a stranger calls home now and it was like a stab in the heart.

Anyway, I am nearly finished hand sewing the binding around the t-shirt quilt. I keep saying that it will be finished by this date or another, but I really think I will get it finished today. Then I will pull out all the quilting threads that are loopy or snarled and over time I will hand-quilt in those areas. I am very fond of this quilt. It is a nice weight and cozy. I doubt that I will ever do another one because ironing on all that interfacing was a big pain in the ass.

Once I finish that, I am busting out the big Macomber loom and warping it up. I’m also going to start back on the Cathedral tapestry. The tapestry diary is going to have to take a back seat, maybe for forever. It has negative connotations for me now. This tends to happen on the rare occasion that I weave a tapestry when I am severely depressed. If I manage to finish it, it is given away or rolled up and put in a closet. I was afraid that this might happen with the tapestry diary once I got my brain chemistry back in gear so I don’t see any point in finishing it now.

We have been invited to a Christmas party this afternoon at a retired history professor’s home, “to hang out with a diverse crowd for food and conversation.” I love this guy – he is known for showing up at music events all over the area and dancing by himself. So warping the loom may have to wait until tomorrow morning. I’m going to Susanne’s tomorrow afternoon for an afternoon doing creative stuff with the girls.

Then the rest of the week is gloriously free of any work, scheduling or obligation! I’ll do my annual yearly wrap-up blog post somewhere in there.

Merry Christmas, y’all.

augggghhhh, Back Forty, coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina

Saturday morning coffee pot post

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Because we all need cute kitty photos right now.

Hey y’all. I fully intend to work on finishing the travelogue during the next few days. I need to do it because many of my memory cells for details left with my estrogen a few years ago, and that’s one of the reasons I love to document my trips – to revisit them later.

Right now, I am, as most women are in this nation, gobsmacked over the proceedings in Washington, D.C. This one hit so much more personally than other sexual assault or harassment accounts because of the age of Dr. Ford and most of all, the fear factor. I’m repeatedly revisiting an episode in my life that I do not want to think about at all. So many of us are.

The other MAJOR thing that shell-shocked my sister and me this week was somewhat expected, but it is a little like when you have an elderly loved one that has arthritis and other health issues but has powered through many difficulties, and then that loved one meets with an accident and dies. My sister’s home and the house that my grandfather built at Lake Waccamaw are going to be demolished due to the flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Therefore, I am processing grief about my sister and brother-in-law’s loss and I am processing grief about losing the place where I go to process grief. I don’t know yet whether houses will be rebuilt on the sites. My sister had good flood insurance and the FEMA agent was very encouraging about them recovering their financial loss. The other house has never had insurance. We are all reeling.

I haven’t heard from my brother in Lumberton. I haven’t heard from Weezer. I’m not sure that I can talk about it with her yet now that my tears have started. I have always been a place person. I’m not even over selling Mama’s house yet. I will write further about Lake Waccamaw later when I have more information. I, I, I. Yes, I’m aware of all the I’s I am using. I’m aware of the other suffering in the world that is greater than mine.

In addition, there is hypocrisy and drama and devious game playing at my workplace again, despite the efforts of some to bring a unified consensus about who might be our next department head. I’m just praying that it won’t be the same kind of shitshow that happened almost four years ago. My workplace used to have a really great collegial atmosphere except for the usual couple of irredeemable curmudgeons found in every organization, but I have seen a side of people that makes me disgusted and puzzled and exhausted and unsure of what people think of me. I don’t have any faith in the higher administrators. Thank God I can close my office door, play some music and get my work done, and dream about retirement.

So there you have it. My venting is done.

There is a pumpkin in the Back Forty that I’m going to go cut off the vine and bring in. Pablocito is purring on this table – he would be directly behind the laptop if my sewing machine wasn’t there. Diego showed some spunk this morning and raced back and forth through the house and out to the porch and back. There are butterbeans to be shelled and tomatoes to be cooked into sauce.

I’m going to research small RVs and RV camping for beginners. I was planning to buy a cheap camper van from a neighbor when I got back from our big trip but I don’t think that I will now.

Solar panel installation financing has been approved but I have to find some paperwork and it may take longer to get done that I anticipated. There will have to be some rewiring in the attic, and I hope to get this done at the same time.

Next weekend I am going to the Talk Story retreat in Stamford, Connecticut to take a 2-day class with Sharon Payne Bolton and that will be a very welcome stress reliever! I took a class with her several years ago in California and it was a wonderful experience. If you ever have a chance to go to one of these events, I highly recommend it. It is a great choice for a first art retreat, although it may addict you. (This retreat was known as Art is You, but they are reorganizing and renaming it.)

Back to the travelogue, which I will backdate once I finish the series.

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Back Forty, butterbeans, coffee pot posts, critters, Greensboro North Carolina, Lake Waccamaw

Saturday Morning Coffee Pot post

Before I start the series of posts about our trip to Idaho and Wyoming, I need to sweep out my brain of the things unrelated to that first. So I made a second pot of coffee.

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Looking at the remnants of Florence from the air.

First off, we were not affected here at my house in Greensboro by Hurricane Florence. There is some flooding in the Greensboro area, but our housesitter kindly put a tarp on our outside basement door and sandbagged it for us, as well as securing the stuff on the front porch and the yard. We have a damp basement but it did not flood, and not even many limbs down since we had the large maple tree taken down a few weeks ago. Good timing that, and one reason I wanted it done before hurricane season began.

Lake Waccamaw is a whole different story. It took a direct hit. We won’t know the full extent of the damage for a while yet because the houses that belong to our family are on Canal Cove Road where the lake has merged with the canal and swamp behind it. Not only does that mean that there is 2-4 feet of water inside those houses, but that there are trees down under the water and alligators and cottonmouths and mats of fire ants enjoying a new range. My sister and brother-in-law prepped as best they could for several days and evacuated to Chapel Hill, where fortunately they had not sold their house yet. They know that the pier may be wiped out and the pontoon boat came loose and has been floating around bashing into stuff. Her furniture including antiques from my mother’s house are almost certainly ruined. The pier is not insured. The house and boat are, although the boat is really old and not worth that much. Fred and Weezer’s house, where we love to stay and I have written about many, many times, is underwater, as it was during Hurricane Floyd.

I have not heard from my brother in Lumberton, but he is not on the side of town that floods. My cousins are. I talked to him on Friday and they were hunkered down. I think that the main concern for him will be the farm. It backs up to Ashpole Swamp which backs up to the Lumber River near Fair Bluff. He leases most of the acreage but raises a few cows. It is beloved place for him, as the lake is for me.

So. I will update when I know more. Waters were still rising down east the last time I checked, and hopefully they will crest and go down soon. After Floyd it took two weeks before the roads were passable and Florence was worse.

The tomatoes and basil were looking rough, and what figs ripened seem to have been eaten by birds and ants. I cut the basil back hard and will make pesto and freeze it in an ice tray for cubes of flavor during this winter. I harvested two huge trombincino squash and one is actually a little past its prime. We’ll see whether it is just as good with a good peeling. The cheese pumpkin doesn’t seem to have been attacked by critters (fingers crossed). The vines have taken over our small back yard and would be producing like crazy but the fruit is rotting on the vine at a very young stage. I suppose this is blossom rot and will amend the soil if I plant these again. I have a new small crop of butterbeans and some banana peppers. A monarch butterfly laid eggs on a variety of milkweed I planted and the caterpillars have eaten up the plants. I don’t know what they will do now. I hope that they eat other plants. I collected seeds and will replant more next year. (I didn’t even know that these flowers were a variety of milkweed!)

Our application to install solar panels on the roof has been approved. We are waiting to make an appointment for a site visit. I know that some extra rewiring will need to be done in the attic first, and I’m hoping the same company can do it.

We came back from our wonderful vacation and went straight to work the next day, so it took a while for me to catch up on work, laundry, groceries, garden, and personal emails. Sandy is working again today and so I will have uninterrupted time to blog about our trip, if you are fond of my travelogues.

Also, as usual, I hope to get back to weaving this weekend. I have a frame loom waiting to be warped for a fringeless tapestry, and loads of inspiration.