book arts, coffee pot posts, critters, Reading, tapestry, weaving

Saturday morning coffee pot post

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Here’s Diego looking all sexy for you.

I missed writing my weekly blog post last weekend, but we did get a lot of things done. Our focus was on cleaning the front porch and everything on it. I never knew that window screens could get so dirty. It is mostly done, and the cobwebs are already back. Pablocito likes to eat the cobwebs for some reason. This weekend began with a heavy rain and the forecast shows rain for the next three days. It’s unfortunate because our city’s big outdoor event, the North Carolina Folk Festival, is happening. George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic is supposed to play tonight. Sandy still wants to go downtown to see the arts and crafts, but I don’t feel enthusiastic about wandering around in the rain. Sandy and I have to sit down a lot and I don’t think he minds having a wet butt, but I do. So he has asked me to drop him off downtown.

This means that I have to decide if it is worth it to go to the studio at the Cultural Arts Center. I could take an Uber and not have to deal with the parking, although I wonder how many people will still come now that it is raining so hard. Last Sunday I continued with my idea for redoing the cover on the book I made in Dan Essig’s class in June. This is a bit tricky, because these tiny washers are made from mica, and mica and glue don’t usually work together well. Mica is made from hundreds of tiny layers and glue will pull off the layer next to it. So what I tried to do is encase them in acrylic gel medium. I’ll see how well they will stick when I get back to the studio. I also prepared several more illustrations to go into the pages.

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I guess I’m back into dots and circles these days.

The event that disrupted most of my plans for Labor Day was this little fellow. As I sat down to eat dinner on Sunday night I heard a loud cry and fluttering from behind our fireplace insert, which I thought was a bird. When Sandy detached the woodstove pipe and cover to the fireplace, he found two dead squirrels, a nest, and this guy, apparently unhurt.

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We ran around all panicky trying to figure out what to do, and of course ended up doing some things that we shouldn’t have done, but I posted on Facebook and tagged a couple of people who have done wildlife rehab or knew people who did, and was reminded that my friend Leslie who owns the Yadkin Valley Fiber Arts Center in Elkin, a little over an hour away, had successfully rehabbed a baby squirrel and released it to the wild this spring. She still had supplies such as two cages and the formula needed and volunteered to take him. Susan rode with me to Elkin in the pouring rain and we made the transfer. He was a little dehydrated but a day later he was drinking formula and seemed to be doing fine. She named him Archie after Archie Brennan!

I may be seeing him again about a month from now when Tapestry Weavers South has its retreat in Elkin.

Fortunately, the guy we use for chimney cleaning had a cancellation on Tuesday, and he cleaned out the dead squirrels and the nest material and inspected the chimney with a camera. Unfortunately, he says that the old terra cotta flue lining is cracked where there has been a past chimney fire and says that it is unsafe to use. He recommends a stainless steel lining which would cost $4000. I don’t think that we need the wood stove for that much money so I might get a kerosene heater for emergencies. For that kind of money I’d rather get a few more solar panels and one of those electric heaters that looks like a fireplace. He will come back in October to critter proof our chimney caps.

Speaking of that – why the hell does anybody manufacture a chimney cap that critters can get into? I spent a lot of money repairing and rechinking the mortar on these three chimneys and putting metal caps on them in 2011. Grrr.

Earlier on Labor Day, Susan and Jerry and Sandy and I went to Oscar Oglethorpe, where I picked out new glasses and got my old frames repaired. Then we went to Natty Greene’s for lunch. I’m looking forward to my new eyeglasses – they are bright blue.

Today I’ll work on getting this “O” postcard sized tapestry underway. I ordered this artist’s backpack from Amazon after seeing a tapestry weaver recommend it on Facebook. It is the perfect size for my frame looms and some yarn, and I use the front pockets to carry my lunch and drinks to work and back. My co-workers say that I look like I’m going backpacking with my hiking shoes on, but I don’t care. It is convenient to store the loom and yarns in the backpack, and I don’t get cat hair in it.

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Reading: I finished “The Known World” by Edward P. Jones. It is one of those books that makes it difficult to decide what to read next because it was so good. I’ve finally settled on “Telegraph Avenue” by Michael Chabon.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, Reading, Watching

Sunday noon coffee pot post

wp-1661701149227I think that I figured out what the problem with WordPress was yesterday, and with the post before that. I like to use the Classic WordPress editor, and WordPress would reaaaallly like for me to move on to block editing puleeze thank yew ma’am, and okay fine then, we’ll make you convert your post to blocks before you can edit or publish it, nyah nyah. We’ll see after I write this one.

Anyway, here’s what is going on with me. I am about to twine the top of the Cathedral tapestry and cut it off the loom! Then I need to warp up the Mirrix or my other small frame loom for the postcard sized tapestry for the collaborative work for the Tapestry Weavers South show. Those two things are priority one and two.

Yesterday we went to the Greensboro Farmers’ Curb Market for the first time in a while. We had stopped at the Berry Patch on the way home from the lake on Monday and it increased my desire for more fresh veggies. I bought my usual soaps from Mimi’s Soaps, corn and onions from Rudd Farms, okra, Roma tomatoes, and one prepared food vendor was selling everything for half price, so we bought quite a bit from them. This meant that yesterday we ate salad and a chicken dish that was like chicken pot pie but with a cracker crust on top and no vegetables within. Basically chicken in a thick creamy gravy. It was rich and salty and delicious but not something that we could eat on a regular basis, for sure. I also bought a sheet cake with a mocha frosting, and a meat lasagna to put in the freezer.

We’ve done some house cleaning, and I pulled a few more weeds, invasive ageratum mostly, in the asparagus bed in the back. I found four ripe figs within reaching distance and then I had to call it quits. It was so humid I was soaked through. The raspberry canes that I moved out from under the enormous fig tree are beginning to grow well and one has a few berries on it. Once I get some supports under these I hope that the briars will keep the groundhogs away – don’t know about the birds! The groundhogs are staying away from the asparagus so far, although the tomato plants are completely gone. I hope that we will have a lot of asparagus next year.

After one o’clock I have an appointment with the print studio. I might take my small loom to warp it there so that I won’t be distracted. When I cut off “Cathedral,” I will get Sandy to video it. I thought that I might have a cut-off party, but I honestly don’t think I can make myself wait that long. Maybe when I get it mounted and ready for display. Now THAT will be a milestone because that is the hardest part for me.

Work is distressing, again, not because of my department, but decisions at higher levels that are solidifying my decision to retire. Also because I’m beginning to have the same physical issues that I had pre-pandemic before I worked from home most of the time for a year and a half. I have to schedule a chiropractic appointment and start getting up from my chair and walking more. I also have to schedule a colonoscopy, ewwww, because I am a year past due and with my family history I need to do it every five years.

Reading: The Known World by Edward P. Jones. Watching: just started season 4 of The Last Kingdom, still in Season 1 of Ted Lasso, and just signed up for Peacock Premium so we can stream Resident Alien. We first saw it on the airplane coming back from Europe and finally decided that it was worth signing up for one more service. Alan Tudyk is one of my favorite actors.

As usual, I am obsessed with getting enough sleep, and I honestly think that if I could sleep as late as I needed to in order to get the rest I need, I wouldn’t need to retire. I could probably push through it for a couple of more years. But that is very unlikely to happen. People see it as laziness, but I see it as necessary health care. That being said, except for a few nights this past month, sleep has been better. I am taking meloxicam at night for the pain and magnesium for RLS. Occasional melatonin, but I’ve realized that I have to take this much earlier and not wait until I am tossing and turning at midnight. My depression is still much better, although my mood and attitude is not the greatest.

depression/anxiety, old couple, Reading

Thinking ahead

Now that I seem to be out of my depression hole, I’m capable of thinking more clearly of what’s ahead of me without shutting down. That’s great timing, because I am very sad about my brother-in-law’s change in prognosis. I’m angry at the world in general. I’m frustrated with the bureaucracy at work and its dependence on systems that don’t work for every problem and certainly don’t provide the efficiency that they claimed they would. I’m disappointed in my own change of life plans. But, all those emotions are different from being depressed. I think that only someone who has experienced depression understand that. I hope that I stay well away from the rim of the hole, but I don’t seem to have a lot of choice in the matter.

We’ll head down to the lake this weekend and I’ll visit with my family. A few friends are coming with us who all need some LW healing. If the weather cooperates, I am going to coerce these people into making cyanotypes from objects found on site and then I’ll make an accordion book with the prints.

Artist residencies are on my mind, which means that some time soon I’ll need to do a re-haul of the website here and make it more art oriented with my gallery at the forefront in order to have it more professional looking for applications. I won’t get rid of the blog…but it may not be on the front page. I’ve got more ideas for books than I have brain space for, and honestly, I don’t see how I’ll be able to work full-time and get the best ideas underway. I can’t focus when I get home at night.

I noticed that a business that I used to work temp projects for is still in business and is now doing all remote work. I was good at my job there and was offered a promotion during my last project for them about 17 years ago, but I didn’t accept it because it was a sick building. It was always difficult for me to finish a project because I would get migraines and my back throbbed from sitting on folding chairs at tables. It amazed me that they kept hiring me back but like I said, I had a real knack for the work, which was grading writing competency tests for state public school systems. So I will definitely look into working temp jobs for them again if they remain remote after I retire. Then I could take my job anywhere, and would have most of the year off.

My plan is to put off taking Social Security as long as possible and just live off my pension and 403B savings if necessary. We have no debt (knock wood) so at this point it might work. I’ve lived poor before – it won’t be a big shock. Sandy has been able to pay his part of the bills and save his Social Security and invest it instead of spending it. The hard part will be that the cats are reaching the age when they will probably need a lot more medical care. I will be able to keep my insurance at the same rate I am paying now until I am 65 and Sandy is on Medicare. Even though our cars are old, we don’t really need two cars any more. If we needed a second car after one of them dies from old age, we could rent as needed.

So my retirement plan is still on for June 1, 2023 – maybe pushed out to July. I’m no longer fixated on emigration, but we’ll travel as much as we can afford. I’m doing the airline points collecting again, and in the US we’ll take the train and drive as much as we can. It’s nice to have that to look forward to.

Now that the Infrastructure Act has passed, I might add a couple of solar panels to our array. The twelve rooftops panels that we have now almost cover our electrical needs, but not quite.

Reading: I finished The Shipping News and The Midnight Library this week. I think that both of these books significantly affected my mood.

Also affecting my mood: Ted Lasso. I am in love with this show. We are still watching The Last Kingdom, you know, the show about my grandparents. LOL. I’ll have to name our next tomcat Uhtred.

agoraphobia, coffee pot posts, Reading, whining

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Really, really trying to stay positive. I was in a great mood on Tuesday. I resolved (knocking wood) a sticky problem at work that took WAY too many emails to too many people. My foot finally felt better and I walked home from work, which felt great despite the stifling heat and humidity. Sandy fixed the leak in the kitchen sink, which required breaking off a part that had been glued on, and so I was extremely wary of this effort. The number of ants still appearing are down to less than 10 a day, when they were swarming the kitchen a week ago.

I am working on NOT retreating to my bedroom when I get home from work. This is part of my agoraphobic tendencies and it is a very hard habit to break. My bedroom is my little nest of comfort and safety from the room. But I have been well aware that spending so much time in bed reading and online, even propped up sitting, has been a big factor in my sleep issues. It is difficult, but I’m making my own little “spot” in the living room and bringing my books and Kindle and laptop there.

Today we are going to the paperback book sale at St. Francis Episcopal Church which is always great. Not that I need more books, but it looks like we probably won’t move anyway. Tomorrow I’ll go do some art playtime with friends. I wanted to do a serious deep clean of our kitchen and my bedroom, but it looks like that is not going to happen.

“The Grove of Eagles” by Winston Graham is really great and if you liked the Poldark books you would enjoy this too. I am even enjoying the long descriptions of a sea battle and attack on Cadiz, Spain. We are still watching “The Last Kingdom” together and I am still watching “Mom” and now the latest version of “The Kids in the Hall.”

Sandy started going back to his water exercise classes early in the morning at the aquatic center, so he’s been giving me rides to work and home when I need it. And I’ve needed it. Not only has the steroid shot worn off on my right ankle, my LEFT ankle and foot is now painful. Thursday night I was awakened by what felt like a yellowjacket sting between my ankle and my heel, and it continued to sting me at intervals of about 70 seconds for an hour. When I realized that it was not going to stop, I got up, took a meloxicam, wrapped it in a soft brace, and iced it.  The meloxicam does not last 24 hours.

So now I’m hobbling on both feet, and I switched back to my worn out Brooks sneakers (in case the pain is due to the new Merrill Moab2s, which I don’t believe is the case). I made an appointment with my podiatrist two weeks from now. I think it is my very high arches, since I stopped wearing uncomfortable shoes with no support many years ago. I do love to go barefoot, and this is also a very hard transition to make as far as being at home. I’m doing the best I can to wear shoes inside, except for getting up in the night to go to the bathroom or for other reasons. One of the things I plan to do today is visit The Shoe Market where they have an employee who makes custom orthotic inserts.

I’m beginning to understand the dilemmas that disabled people face. Being overweight has a huge impact on your body, but when your body is in pain, it is nearly impossible to get the exercise that will help you lose weight or at least not to gain weight. If you don’t look disabled to the rest of society, they are going to judge you for being overweight and suggest that you go for a walk or to the gym. If you’re depressed, as many disabled people are, you don’t have the motivation to exercise anyway, and exercise is proven to help depression. It’s a tough spiral.

I’m doing chair yoga exercises and that is about as far as I can go.

Since I’ve walk to work since 2004, I may have to buy a parking permit now and get a handicapped placard for my mirror. And here’s my other complaint and then I’ll stop. I’ve long thought that it is a slap in the face to charge exorbitant parking rates for employees to park on UNCG’s own parking lots. It would do a lot for employee morale to provide free parking at UNCG, yet when it is brought up all you hear is excuses why it can’t be done. It can be done. They just don’t want to lose the revenue. Before this job, I never had to pay for parking at my own job. It’s ridiculous. People are leaving in droves and they better come up with some reasons for their employees to stay because it’s about to get bad.

Now, onward. The new academic year begins soon, and I will be training my successor, because I can’t see that the advantage in waiting to retire is that great. I’ll get 91% of my pension and the same deal on my medical insurance. I’ll try to wait to take my Social Security for as long as I can, but I’ll be eligible to take it early if I need to. Next year at this time, I’ll be retired and looking for either a part time or temp job or recovering from foot surgery or in an artist residency or looking for something else to fill my days. It will be an exciting transition, but I hope not TOO exciting if you know what I mean.

Oregon, Portland, Reading

Portland, July 18, 2022

On our last day and night in Portland, we moved over to McMenamin’s Crystal Hotel in downtown Portland, just a block away from Powell’s City of Books.  We Ubered over for the second time with a driver with a Tesla…that was fun! It was a beautiful car and the window on top went all the way back.

If you’ve followed me very long, you know that the Crystal is one of my favorite places. We dropped off our luggage at 11:30 a.m. and spent the next three and a half hours at Powell’s. How I would love to work there, but I’d probably spend more than I made. We did not check luggage on this trip so I had to keep my book buying impulses under control.

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I’ve been trying to purge my book collection, but the urge to collect books by certain authors is still very strong. One of my holy grails has been a hard cover copy of The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, so I went straight to those shelves. Yes, they had it! It’s been so long since I read it it will be like reading it for the first time again. They had another hard cover of hers that I don’t have, but I was good and didn’t buy it.

The other three, well, come on.  Textile Landscape had been on my list a while since I love Cas Holmes, so I bought it new. Plus I just adore the feel of a Batsford book. At least there was no shipping or sales tax! Mixed Media Books by Gabe Cyr has interesting ideas about what a book is and can be. Lark Books never let me down – there was a time when any book they published would tempt me, no matter what the subject. I’m sad that they’re out of business.  Metal Craft Discovery Workshop is a basic metal working book by Linda and Opie O’Brien, and since I’ve been playing more and more with metal and adhering things to metal, it will be useful.

We walked back to The Crystal and checked in to our rooms. I got the Lionel Hampton room, which delighted me because I used to play mallet percussion in our high school band.

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We ate lasagna for dinner at the Zeus Cafe outside where the street has been blocked off. Then we changed into swimsuits and enjoyed the salt water soaking pool in the basement, then we slept well and the next day, we were flying home.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2bTJwEcJBc]
coffee pot posts, Reading

Saturday afternoon coffee pot post

Finished off the coffee, though.

Today will probably be a wash. My bone spur is punishing me now and I’ve had cluster migraines since I got back from Portland. I feel sure that it is weather-related because I didn’t have a single headache that I remember in Oregon. Yesterday I had an ocular migraine which doesn’t happen often. It’s so weird and hard to describe. Sort of like I’m looking into a pool of water that is being stirred, but no pain. Thankfully, it was short and the headaches don’t last more than a couple of hours, generally.

Anyway, I’d planned on getting a lot of house cleaning done this weekend, but now I know that I’ve got to rest this angry ankle. It is in the high 90s today so I have an excuse to stay inside, at least. Sandy just went out to get us lunch and a few basic groceries because not only is there not much food in the house, we’ve had a major invasion of ants, the worst I’ve ever seen. So I have little squares of Terro set around the kitchen where the cats can’t get to it, and the bread will have to go into the fridge when he gets back. The cats are being kept off the front porch because they freak out if the door is closed, and we need to keep the house cool. I am so grateful for air conditioning and count my blessings in that respect.

I can sit down to weave the hem on the Cathedral tapestry, so I’ll work on that this weekend. Maybe I’ll have a cutoff party when the time comes. At the very least I will have Sandy video it. I’ve also joined a collaborative postcard tapestry project with Tapestry Weavers South in which we each weave a 4×6 inch tapestry with a letter on it. The tapestries all together will spell “Follow the Thread,” which is the name of our exhibition at the Folk Art Center next year. I chose the letter O. I was awake several hours last night because I could not turn my brain off with ideas for this! I need to sit down with pencil and paint and do some sketches.

We have been watching “The Last Kingdom,” which is a lot of fun, not least because at some point in exploring my family tree on familysearch.org I have found both Uhtred the Bold and Alfred the Great as ancestors. Now, I do take all this with a grain of salt, but it is exciting to find famous people in my tree, whether the research is correct or not! From what I understand, the Mormons are pretty good at genealogy though.

Not only that, but I’m reading “The Grove of Eagles” by Winston Graham (author of the Poldark books) and it turns out that my direct relatives the Arundells are characters in it. It could be the most boring book in the world and I wouldn’t know it because I keep stopping to look up a character in my family tree.

That’s the news from Greensboro, and I’ll get back to blogging my Portland trip, which was so much fun and exactly what I needed, despite what my foot says.

coffee pot posts, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

There won’t be anything interesting here today – this is a brain dump and an organizing post for me.

Things to do today:

1. Vote. Local elections and primaries are just as important as national elections. We sure learned that the hard way in North Carolina. Vigilance in all elections is vital.

2. Get the tapestry stitched onto the mat board, put it in the frame, and pack it to ship to Leslie before Friday.

3. Laundry. House cleaning and studio and porch cleaned up.

Tomorrow: Susanne will come over to talk about pet sitting.

I’ve already started packing for our trip simply because my nerves are shot. I want to see if I can get everything into my backpack luggage, which is carry-on sized but I will check it. We have a long trip ahead and a couple of our places have washing machines, but Portugal for the most part does not have dryers in homes because of the utility expense. I have no problem wearing clothes several times if they are reasonably clean, but if we wash anything, we will have to be aware that it might take a couple of days to dry depending on the weather. It will require planning.

Also, we will be traveling a lot by train and bus and getting to destinations hours before we can check in. Packing light is essential, and a wheeled suitcase on cobblestones is not a good idea anyway – it is just going to get wrecked. Originally I was going to pack an empty carry-on within a larger wheeled suitcase for whatever goodies we bring back. Now I’m thinking that we will just adjust to that situation if it happens that we need an extra bag. I’m beginning to recall the difficulties with luggage during our Ireland/England trip. We cannot pack those backpacks so heavy this time!

I got everything planted and I’d like to do a little more clean-up in the front yard. The aphids are just going to party on – I don’t have the time or energy for that. Sandy hired another guy to mow the yard for half the price that the person who kept standing us up charged. I may still hire him now and then for larger harder jobs, because I like that he has an organic philosophy and knows his plants. However, I’m done with the ghosting behavior. I find it disrespectful, even though he may not see it that way. He is probably just really disorganized, but when I bought a bunch of plants because he told me he was coming to work at my place that day and he forgot, that was pretty much the third (or fourth) strike.

Anyway, I got the cortisone shot in my ankle (the bursa) and since Tuesday I have had no pain whatsoever. The podiatrist said that as long as they continue to work for me for such a long period I can continue getting them with no worries.

It’s gonna be a busy week and somewhere in there I’ve got to figure out when to do our Covid tests for the trip. It will have to be either a PCR test on Friday morning or a rapid antigen test on Saturday morning. Maybe we’ll do the PCR and see if the results come in on time for our flight leaving on Sunday afternoon, and if not, do a RAT in Boston. Friday is also commencement day at work so it will be a challenge. Of course I did not think of all this when I re-booked the trip in August.

Reading: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. How did I miss this one? It was published 11 years ago! Also, it was a Netflix series? Really? I am so out of touch.

I just finished the fourth Louise Penny mystery. I’m not much into these “cozy cottage” murder mysteries set into quaint villages, but I do really like the characters and the complex backgrounds she created for them. It is the entirely unlikely complicated murders that bother my Vulcan sensibilities, but I needed something light after I finally finished Baltasar and Blimunda by José Saramago. I wanted to read at least one novel by a Portuguese writer before I left, and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this one. Well, it was a real slog, but I did it. It was worth it in the end, but it was NOT light reading. I now know a lot more about early 18th century Portuguese history and culture, though.

TV: We just started watching Outer Range, with Josh Brolin. I’m hooked after two episodes. The new season of Better Call Saul is out, but I’ll have to buy it since we don’t get AMC. The second half of the last season of Ozark just dropped too.

 

coffee pot posts, collage, Mixed media art, Reading

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Boy, I feel like I really socialized a lot this week, although I guess this is what “normal” used to be. So yesterday was a rest day for me. Sandy woke me at 10:30, so I got over ten hours of sleep. (I really need this on Saturday mornings.) Then we went to the farmers’ market, where I bought cheese and soap, and Sandy took me to lunch at M’Coul’s for the first time since B.P. We ate upstairs at the end of the bar and it felt pretty safe because there was no one near us. It’s hard for me to understand deep down what is danger and what is not. I had a breakfast boxty and smoked gouda grits – so good.

Thursday evening we went to College Hill and sat in a booth and talked some with the people in there, who we are getting to know a little better. Friday after work the history department and grad students had a get-together at Oden Brewing, and we spent half that time outside and then moved inside to a table and enjoyed talking with a group of guys who I either currently admin for or have admin-ed for in the past, which shows that I do have a great relationship with my co-workers. I’ve missed socializing with the department, but afterward I was thinking – WTF was I doing inside with that unmasked crowd drinking? At least at College Hill we were separated by at least six feet.

I did not get any artwork done yesterday, but here’s a photo of the progress from last Sunday. I added the found objects and a few more touches. I need to get more precise with my stenciling technique. I’m not pleased with the Novacan patina so I’m going to collage over these and probably give the Novacan away. However, the technique of doing photo transfers on top of gesso was pretty nifty.

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If my foot can stand it I’m going to weave a little on my tapestry. I tried to go to Jerry’s Artarama to get my lake tapestry framed, but they were closed for a power issue. Normally I would use a local framer but I am feeling all the money I’ve spent ahead of time for our trips and I have a big coupon that expires today, so I might try to go out there again today. The yard guy is supposed to come around noon to help me get the asparagus planted and dig compost into the bed. There is a “vintage” flea market at the farmers’ market today also, so this afternoon will be a full one.

Speaking of flea markets…I signed up for an online class with Alex Castro Ferriera, a mixed media book artist who lives in Lisbon whose work I’ve admired for some time. Ironically, the online class takes place when I will be in Portugal, but we have access to the content after the class. So I emailed Alex and told her. She offered to meet me for coffee and go to the Feira da Ladra flea market in Lisbon while I am there. What fun is THAT going to be!!! I chose an AirBNB specifically because it was near this market, which takes place in the street on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

I gotta tell you, I have written SO MANY blog posts in my head this week, but I could never make myself actually write them on the computer. Not diary entries, but thoughts about life and the world today.

This week I have been slogging through Baltasar and Blimunda, which I can see that it is very good writing and most likely deserved the Nobel Prize in Literature, but the long run-on paragraphs with no quotes or attribution of who is saying what makes for difficult reading. I will finish it, but I can definitely tell the cognitive damage this pandemic has done to my brain. I have also started the fourth novel by Louise Penny, A Rule Against Murder, for something lighter.

We are, of course, enjoying the current season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which is right up there on the list of my favorite TV shows ever. I don’t binge shows that I love because I want to stretch out the joy as long as possible. I also enjoyed Being the Ricardos. If you couldn’t tell by the name of my blog, I have always had a fascination for comedy history, even going back to Greek times, but vaudeville, farce, and physical comedy have always intrigued me. I’ve learned more about the routine Lucy did since I wrote “Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk.”

 

coffee pot posts, Reading

Sunday afternoon coffee pot post

Normally I do not drink caffeine after noon since I became a certain age. There was a time when I drank coffee, really cheap bad coffee, all day and night. I think about my past with coffee sometimes as I walk to work at my local university. Just as I walked to classes from the opposite direction forty years ago, I bear a mug of coffee. The past trip would have included a stop at Friar’s Cellar for a refill, a pack of cigarettes, and a toasted bagel. Friar’s Cellar is long gone now, replaced by a coffee house that serves much better coffee and pastries, without the shelves of dusty wine bottles.

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I noticed the sparkle in my bedroom windows and thought I’d share a photo. That is bubble wrap on the outside of the windows for insulation. These are really old windows and one of them is cracked. The bubble wrap is a great idea for upcycling – it provides insulation all year long and privacy while letting the light shine through. Our houses here are very close together, so the house next door is about ten feet away. At some point I’ll spend the money to get some of these Craftsman double hung windows repaired, and if I end up living here a lot longer get a better grade of glass.

Yesterday I enjoyed my day at home. I wove on Cathedral and did laundry off and on all day. I finished “The Cruelest Month” by Louise Penny. I had mixed feelings about this at first. Everybody seems to be crazy about Louise Penny but I guess I’m not a big fan of the cozy murder mystery genre. Agatha Christie never appealed to me either. I was put off about the disparaging descriptions of various disheveled or out-of-fashion or cheaply dressed characters, since they pretty much described me to a T. But once I got over that, I was caught up in the story and enjoyed it. I’ve read the first three of the Armand Gamache series and will probably find the fourth one somewhere. I have the fifth one on my shelf, and I like to read and watch series in order. These came from one of my local little free libraries, so they will go back. For now I’ve picked up “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” by Fredrik Backman, also picked up from a little free library.

This past week I didn’t shop for the Doc Martens, although I’m still considering them. I cleaned out about half of the clothes from my closet and chest of drawers and they are in the car ready to be donated or in the trash. Some are in a box to be repurposed as fiber art, but I don’t want to do much of that since part of the problem is that I have too much fabric. One of my favorite tunics from Gudrun Sjoden had holes in it so I cut it into strips to be woven into a rag rug at some point. I mended a couple of favorite pants. I still have a lot of cleaning out to do in this closet and a chest of drawers that contains all kinds of crazy stuff, mostly art related.

I finalized the final piece of the puzzle of the Portugal trip – the trip to Boston to catch the flight to Lisbon. As much as I wanted to be done with Southwest Airlines, I had points with them and there was no reason to let them have them, so we booked a one way late night flight with just points. Then the flight was changed to get there earlier, and in this case it was a very good thing. I’m glad we chose the cheapest flight. We’ll still get to the hotel in Boston late at night, but hopefully before midnight. Now we can only hope that the circumstances out of our control will be kind to our fate, but my anxiety has lessened since I got this taken care of.

Also, I brought home the rest of my supplies from the print studio at the Arts Center and put my membership on hold for now. That means that I need to clear them off my work table to make space for my upcoming online art classes. Jude has begun another phase of her teaching journey and Leighanna is teaching her Vintage Metal Deck class on Zoom in March. I took this class in person way back in 2010, but I had a migraine that day. Even so, I came away with some work that I loved and I’ve always wanted to take it again.

I need to do some house cleaning and clutter clearing today, but for the most part I’m going to weave and since the new season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has dropped, that is definitely on the agenda.

coffee pot posts, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Honestly, this is my happiest time. Late Saturday morning, after a restful night’s or morning’s sleep, surrounded by the cats, who are hopefully not misbehaving. This morning the sun is shining and the high temperature is expected to be around 70 F. Tomorrow winter returns and rain and snow is in the forecast, but it will be the sloppy kind of winter weather.

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I was thinking about how I regret that I never took photos of my childhood home other than family rooms at holidays. That led me to take this photo of the view from my chair here. The walls need plaster repair and a lighter paint job. This is the color it was when we bought it in 2001. The foundation has been repaired but the plaster has not. One day we will get around to it, or not. It’s a cozy spot, where we eat our meals and watch Ozark and Mom and Doc Martin and Sandy watches his zombie shows.

The woman who plays Ruth on Ozark is just amazing. I hope that she wins an Emmy this year. She must have been exhausted after shooting this season.

Here’s the arty shot:

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This week I finally got the return trip from Portugal changed to a much less stressful itinerary. It took me getting tearful on the phone to Orbitz, and a much more sympathetic customer service agent. I said on the record for Orbitz in case anyone ever listens to that monitored recording that I do not understand why Orbitz lists Aer Lingus flights if it is so difficult for them to communicate with them. Finally the customer service agent canceled my flight and rebooked it, so now we will travel back from Lisbon to Boston all in one day. It means that we will stay Wednesday night in Lisbon instead of flying to the Dublin airport at 1:35 a.m. and spend Thursday night near Boston, since I couldn’t find an affordable flight back home on Thursday night. All this was about the same price, and even with the extra hotel rooms cheaper than flying all the way home on Thursday. At least we will be better rested.

This week was the first week since winter break that I have worked all five days without having to take sick time for headaches or stress.

The plan today is to go to a local shoe store and shop for Doc Martens to wear in Lisbon. I’ve always wanted a pair and the women in my Portugal expat Facebook group recommend them. Lisbon is tough walking with the cobblestones and uneven pavement and steep hills. Apparently a lot of these women wear them everywhere in Lisbon, including restaurants. I hope that I can wear them because I have funny feet – very high arches, wide, and a bone spur on the back of my right heel. If not, I’ll go back to my men’s Merrills.

I’ll go by the studio at the arts center today or tomorrow and pick up the rest of my stuff. I canceled my membership this week but I have until Feb. 23. It was a good idea but the heat was too much. If it is not too hot in the room, I’ll lay out the panels for the shirt blanket and pin them together for sewing at home.

Tapestry weaving is on the agenda, of course. My loaned out Mirrix is back home so I may warp it up for something simple or for sampling. I want to finish warping the Macomber for a rag rug. I have too many unfinished projects, though. I also need to get the lake tapestry mounted and framed.

Sandy bought one of those meal services where they send you a box of groceries and some recipes and you prep and cook it. I should say, he preps and cooks it. This is his deal, and he is owning it. This week he cooked barramundi with a salad and roasted green beans and I have to admit that it was really good. It was thoughtful of him, too, because I love fish and he doesn’t.

I finished reading “A Fatal Grace” by Louise Penny and have started on the next one, “The Cruelest Month.” I understand why she is so popular. I enjoy them but murder mysteries aren’t really my thing. I would like to find another historical fiction or fantasy/sci fi novel to lose my self in that is not too depressing.

We’re considering changing our phone service from Credo (Sprint) to T-Mobile. If anyone has any feedback about T-Mobile, I’d appreciate hearing it.