Blather, crocheting, depression/anxiety, Obsession

Underwater

Rain, rain, rain. Puddles everywhere. That’s how we roll in North Carolina – drought or drowning, seldom in between. For years I have remembered my birthday as being in the season of mud, so it must be usual for February. We sandbagged the basement entrance again.

I am in an odd mood this week. Probably because I am not drinking and I started a diet yesterday. An actual diet plan, with an app, not my usual hey, I know how to eat healthy and I’ll just do that. I do know how to eat healthy, but it is not helping my weight and cholesterol issues. I kept seeing an ad for Noom, and decided to try it.

So now I’m eating SUPER DUPER healthy. With a calorie counter and a pedometer. And I am hungry and miss my cheese and peanut butter! Ah well. It must be done.

Underwater. That’s how I feel.

The weaving project is going well. I’m still plugging away at it and I hope to have the second curtain panel done by the end of the weekend, since the forecast is MORE RAIN. It is great to be able to weave standing up at my Macomber loom. I’m very glad that I decided to keep it. I should sell my Baby Wolf, though. It is just collecting junk on top. Once I get that tapestry off the Shannock loom (don’t ask an ETA for that, please) I will consider selling or trading it also.

I ripped out the entire 2019 Tunisian crochet weather scarf, charted all the high temperature data for Greensboro (the airport) for 2018, redid my color scheme a bit, and started over with a 2018 scarf. It goes more smoothly than doing a day at a time. I was very surprised that our highest temperature for last year was 95. That cut out two colors from my scheme so I shifted them all down one and rearranged a couple of other colors that made more design sense to me. The results are more pleasing and logical to me, and you know, logic is a prime concern for me. It will be interesting to me to compare the 2018 and 2019 scarves. This project punches all my OCD buttons so I have to make myself take breaks. Thank God for work or my hands would be aching by now!

Even though I have avoided the greenhouse, I started some arnica, calendula, and a variety of lettuce seeds indoors a few days ago. I bought a little pot of parsley at a grocery store about a month ago and it had probably two dozen seedlings crammed in there, so I separated the strongest ones and replanted them in the planter by the front steps.

There are too many things that I want to do, too many books to read, too many places where I want to travel.

There is a faint dread underlying my days, and I am trying to keep it from bubbling up. Perhaps re-engaging in political discussion and reading has not been the best decision. But how can I not? And there has been a few bright spots, although these bright spots often are relief that something awful is being undone, when it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I have no trust in anything any more since the 2016 election. I know that anything can happen, no matter how crazy and illogical. It is a surreal world, and I feel underwater.

agoraphobia, bloggy stuff, coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, Obsession

Saturday Morning Coffee Post

tapestry diary 2018

This is day three of my week without social media or news. I suppose that some people would count blogging as social media but I have so little interaction with people here I generally think of it as an online journal and personal portal.

If you have followed me through the years you might know that I began this blog in early 2005 as a healing process for my depression, anxiety, panic disorder and agoraphobia. I am open about my mental health because I strongly believe that we must take away the stigma so that more people, like me, do not wait so long to get help. I am light years better than I was in 2003, which was probably my lowest point, but I still struggle. Much of my problem is physical…panic disorder and depression runs in my family. However agoraphobia is a behavioral response to anxiety so I decided to give behavioral therapy another try. And for the past few years, my biggest problem has been obsessive thoughts and behavior and it keeps getting worse. The political situation in this country has done some real damage to my brain.

Anyway, I’m not going to go into all the details of my therapy, but she gave me two assignments. One was to stay off social media and avoid the news for a week. The other ***GULP*** concerns my game playing. Perhaps it is significant that I waited to tell her that I play games A LOT until the end of our first session. Immediately she said, “Delete your games.”

To the social media break, I said, “Okay, that’s a good idea.” To the game break, I said, “D-delete my games?”

She said, “Ah, there’s the look.”

She nailed my addiction.

I have been playing games all my life, since I was little, to calm my mind. Before computers, since I can remember. I played solitaire and board games where I played both sides. I had a plastic grid with tiny pieces very much like Legos that I constantly made patterns on, sitting on the den floor in front of the TV. (It drove my daddy crazy.) I do puzzles. I am drawn to any game or puzzle that involves logic, strategy, or setting up patterns. Ever heard of nonograms? Candy Crush totally scratches that itch too.

So she backed off a bit when I told her that I didn’t think that I could do that. Instead I am limiting my game playing to a schedule and being aware of the amount of time I spend playing games. I would be embarrassed to tell you how much time I have wasted. It is my way to avoid thinking because my mind is engaged with strategy.

Sewing pieces of fabric together serves this same function, but my sewing machine has been wonky and my hands can’t deal with too much stitching. I cleaned my machine as best I could and the tension has straightened out. It costs about as much to repair this Brother as it costs to buy another, so I won’t be getting maintenance or repair on it again. Once it crashes again I’m going to switch to my mother’s old Singer which dates back to the 50s or 60s. The only reason I haven’t been using the Singer is due to lack of space in my studio. The Macomber loom takes up a lot of space and I need a work table. And I swear that I am going to warp up this Macomber this winter. The warp is measured and ready to go.

Right now I am concentrating on getting my t-shirt quilt finished. It’s beginning to get chilly and the garden is about done. I have never quilted anything (successfully) but this is just a bunch of old t-shirts and it’s not a work of art. I’m going to finish it and get the room back in my studio. I don’t care if the angles are correct or the stitches are even. It’s something to cuddle up with, not to hang in an exhibit. It will be good to get a big project finished.

Also, I finished the summer entries on my tapestry diary and now I’m mulling over how to weave September and October. A lot happened.

Tomorrow afternoon I plan to go down to Gate City Yarns and get a little social time in. Sandy is going to take me out for dinner and we will watch our friend Brad’s jazz band play in the park.

And next Sunday afternoon, I am going to drive to Raleigh for a book making party with the Triangle Book Arts group. I am not going to back out of this one. I have ideas.

In between, I’m going to go to work and get shit done. It’s likely that there will be more frequent blogging.

art, cloth weaving, depression/anxiety, fiber art, Obsession, Slow cloth, weaving

Mending

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Mood swings. High highs, low lows, and blah in between. Not much liking my brain activity these days except when I’m in the studio. August is historically difficult for me. I’ll get through it. It’s harder when I have tendinitis (currently my right hand) and I know that if I use it I will progressively make it worse, but if I don’t use it I will get closer to the edge of the hole. And I don’t want to go into the hole. Tough decisions.

I felt euphoric at the progress I made with the denim blanket this weekend. My poor cheap little plastic sewing machine was groaning at the weight of the panels. I moved it to a bigger table so I could support the weight of the panels as they became heavier and bulkier. I expected back strain but I’m happy to say that it was temporary.

Next steps, once my carpal tunnel calms down, begin with reinforcing the colorful striped strips of fabric that join the panels with some lightweight fusable interfacing. I love this fabric, which I bought from Yadkin Fiber Room in June. The owner rescued an enormous amount of woven baby wraps that had been imported from Mexico that failed some kind of standard and so was destined for a dumpster. The cotton fabric is gorgeous, but the weave is pretty loose, so I’m worried about its strength. It unravels like crazy. Once I do that, I’ll stitch some heavy fabric over the seams on the back. This is a picnic blanket. I don’t want it to become too precious. I want to throw it on the ground, get it dirty, and toss it in the washing machine with no qualms about it.

Now for the NEXT one, I plan to do something similar, but to use for a coverlet and I will be playing with making it much more complex.

A lot of artists that I follow have been writing about finding that focus that makes them happy or satisfied, or making directional changes that fulfill their current inner needs. That is what I am feeling here. In this place and time, the cloth weaving is patching a place in my soul that is threadbare and in need of mending. I think that is why I become depressed when I have to stop. The repair is not finished yet.

Also, I am feeling the physical absence of kindred art souls to share my journey with, and it makes me lonely. Withdrawal from art retreats with my tribe(s).

Diego, a.k.a. Chunkybutt, claimed this cloth right away when I laid it out on the bed.

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I found a couple more pairs of jeans, and a friend is bringing me a boxful tomorrow. Until then, the next project is replacing the denim panels on the design wall/window. Those denim panels were warm when I took them down so they did help absorb some of that heat coming in.

The next project will consist mostly of Sandy’s old shirts that are worn out or torn and will be more lightweight. The plan is to use panels of his khaki pants in this one. I collected these old clothes for years.

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It’s a mess again. That’s okay.

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bloggy stuff, Obsession

Transitioning

Welp. I came to a decision late last night, something that I’ve been mulling over for quite some time. I have such a love/hate relationship with Facebook. On one hand, it has connected me with old friends and new friends and artists all over the world who I would have never connected without it. But I found myself wasting an enormous amount of time and getting angry with politics and it just wasn’t healthy. I can’t simply get off Facebook. I admin on FB for work and I didn’t want to lose my artist page.

Today I spent several hours creating a new email account, a new Facebook account, adding my new account as admin, inviting my friends to my artist page, and joining the groups that I want to keep. Tomorrow I will deactivate or delete my old account.

Addiction, be gone.

Also, Sandy set up this old laptop for me and so far it is working pretty well. I hope to be blogging more after this and doing more artwork with my computer instead of playing games and arguing politics.

I’m not sure that I will be able to stay off Facebook as much as I’d like, but this is a good start in that direction.

There is a feed from this blog to my Facebook page, Slow Turn Studio. See the sidebar.

Now, off to the studio. I’ve been having great fun with my sewing machine.

bloggy stuff, depression/anxiety, Obsession, Reading

December blogging

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I’ve decided to blog every day for the month of December. We’ll see how it goes. Usually this means that I’ll write it the night before I publish it, because of logistics I won’t go into. If nothing else, I’ll post a photo.

I’ve been posting on Instagram lately, and I’m going to pay more attention to my Slow Turn Studio Facebook page, where these posts appear through Networked Blogs. But I just can’t get into Twitter. I’ve tried. I’ll just have to be an occasional Twitter reader. I like the comedians.

Just went to my bi-annual doctor appointment yesterday. I gained a pound, but considering the timing just after Thanksgiving, I’m not very upset. I hope that my cholesterol and glucose readings are better. She gave me a couple of EKGs too to make sure that my occasional heart palpitations are “just” anxiety. I told her about the hellish six months I just went through, particularly with the neck spasms and the teeth grinding, and she asked, “Why didn’t you come in?” Well, what can I say? I wasn’t in a very rational frame of mind. I had it firmly set in my brain that it would be better to suffer through it until my next appointment and be tough than go to her and have to explain it. Thank God I feel more sane and much better physically now.

One thing I know is that I need to embrace is to live in my present instead of constantly daydreaming about moving away. North Carolina is a crappy political place but it is a wonderful place in so many other aspects. I live in a great city which is just the right size and I love my house and my neighborhood and my job. The fantasy that I will be cured of my depression if I move elsewhere is a lie. That doesn’t mean that I won’t move some day, but I need to stop obsessing over it and enjoy my life here and now.

Anyway, the plan for December is to write more, post more photos, and get some art on. Despite the holidays, December is a good month for me. A brief respite before the super busy spring semester begins. I might even listen to some Christmas music.

I’m in the middle of three books right now: Guests on Earth by Lee Smith, one of my very favorite authors, A Visit from the Goon Squad, which I don’t even know if I will finish, UGH, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. I’ve read several good novels this year since I discovered the Overdrive app, which allows you to check out ebooks and audiobooks from your local library. I liked The Goldfinch, The Dog Stars, and Station Eleven. My shelves are full of books that I bought at a big charity book sale here in Greensboro on the last day when you could fill up a bag for $10. If I never bought another book, I’d have plenty to read for the rest of my life.