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.

Coronavirus Chronicles, Local food, Reading

01-08-2021

Sitting here in my office during my “lunch hour.” The snow either didn’t show or didn’t stick today. I walked to work in a light sleet that melted on the ground.

Yesterday I got out for the first walk I’ve taken in days, and puttered around the yard pulling up tomato plants and tidying a bit. My Achilles tendinitis only smarted a little bit, so the break I took helped a lot. However I can definitely feel the changes in my body from lack of exercise.

We are ordering delivery for our groceries again. Sandy was very bad and stopped in for cheesecake take-out at Cheesecakes by Alex, though. We get take-out a couple of times a week from different local restaurants. Although we try to limit our shopping to small local businesses, we got salads from Mellow Mushroom recently. I really love their Enlightened Asian salad. For pizza, we have fallen in love with a local joint called Slices by Tony. They also have incredible sandwiches and calzones and desserts. I haven’t tried their pastas yet.

Today we received the last packages that we have ordered since mid-December – yay! I have art supplies for all my classes now so there are no excuses left.

I spent a good bit of time transferring zipped folders of my Flickr albums to three different Google Drives this week, and I deleted about a thousand photos, which means that there are only 10,410 left up on Flickr – LOL. They haven’t deleted my photos yet. I imagine that they are waiting to see if I change my mind about paying up. One thing I have realized is that I have to edit my photos before uploading them to WordPress, else they will take up all my space. There is still plenty of space here, though.

I finished “This Must Be the Place” by Maggie O’Farrell, and I was pleasantly surprised. After the first two chapters I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read it all the way through, but I’m glad that I continued because I loved it. Novels that jump around in time don’t bother me, and I love books that give perspectives from the different characters’ points of view. These characters were very complex and the writing was great. I’m going to look for more by her – I know that her current bestseller is “Hamnet.”

The other reason that I almost returned it to the little free library was because of the perfume smell. I suppose that some books smell like this because of hand lotion. Sometimes I can take it, sometimes I can’t. It’s almost as bad as books that come from a heavy smoker’s house.

Which reminds me – I gave masks to a few of my co-workers for Christmas and one, who is a super-taster and thus has an excellent sense of smell, said that hers smelled like wood smoke. We’ve only had one fire in the wood stove one time this year, so that goes to show how much that permeates everything. Fortunately it’s not a bad smell. I’m glad that she didn’t say that it smelled like cat litter or mildew!

Next up is “House Made of Dawn” by Scott Momaday.

I have no idea what I will do this weekend. Lunch hour is over. Bye.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, Reading

Merry Christmas from the (O’Neill) Family

My favorite Christmas song. I just can’t abide the syrupy bouncy ones any more. I do love some of the old crooners like Sinatra and Clooney, though.

One year, we had a receptionist that was quite mentally ill and very angry at me and the office manager. That December she had gotten another job on campus and was just working out her sentence in the history department. (She was miserable in the next two departments she worked in as well, until she had her final meltdown and left the university.) She played “Oh Holy Night” on repeat until I thought I’d lose my mind. The day she walked out for good (early, of course) I put on every hokey stupid funny Christmas song I could find on You Tube for the rest of the week.

Sandy and I saw Robert Earl Keen play this live at Ziggy’s about ten years ago. I won tickets on a Facebook promotion for the “VIP section” for any show I wanted to see on their schedule. It was a hard strange choice between George Clinton and Robert Earl Keen, but in the end, I thought that REK would be easier on my nerves at the time. The VIP section meant that you got to sit at a table at the side of the stage next to the bar. I’m sorry that I never got to see George Clinton, but I had several chances and didn’t take them. He has local roots so he has played around here a lot. I can’t stand for long periods of time – the pain is terrible – so I don’t go to many small concert venues. Plus, I really really really hate crowds!

This has turned out to be a coffee pot post. We are drinking a Christmas blend with vanilla and clove that was a gift. It smells heavenly.

I am super concerned about Sandy now that I’ve done what everybody says not to do: googled statins and muscle damage. He downplayed his weakness and pain for a long time because he attributed it to getting older and being out of shape. Thank God he finally called the doctor’s office and we are talking about it. He was worried about sounding like a hypochondriac. This is why when other women friends complain about their male partners being babies when they are sick, I have nothing to say. It is the opposite with Sandy. Besides, everybody knows that I’m the hypochondriac in the family. (Kidding, not kidding. There’s a little bitterness in this joke.)

Hopefully he will recover after the statins get out of his system, but he has been taking them for a very long time.

I couldn’t find the Pillsbury Orange Icing rolls that are a Christmas tradition in my family, and I wasn’t going to shop a bunch of different grocery stores for them this week, so I have Annie’s cinnamon rolls in the oven. They are good too. I talked to my sister on the phone for a long time yesterday. She made sure that she got the orange rolls, damn her. She and Tim are at the lake while her daughter and grandson do Christmas at their house in Chapel Hill. No extended family time for any of us during the pandemic. Man, those cinnamon rolls smell wonderful!

A major cold front came through last night and the high is supposed to be in the 30s today after a deluge of rain and wind yesterday. Tornado warnings in some parts of the state and snow in other parts. I don’t know if there were actually any tornadoes. The low is supposed to go into the teens tonight so I’m going to cut all my lettuce and we brought the lemon tree off the porch.

Yesterday I caught up on rest and did some clean-up, but mainly chilled out. We still have plumbing problems but at least both toilets are working now. It’s the outgoing pipe from the washing machine and kitchen sink that is slow, slow enough that when the washer drains, it is too much and it spills out all over the floor. I brought in the old washtub and wringer that I had bought for papermaking several years ago and I am going to drain the washing machine into it until we can get a plumber to clean out these pipes for us. We have tried everything at this point, but it keeps happening again. When I replace this washing machine, I am shopping for one that has mechanical, not computerized, controls on it, even if I have to buy a used one. All I need is wash, rinse, and spin.

I am going to watch the last episode of The Queen’s Gambit today. I’ve stretched it out as long as possible. Also, finishing the Patternist series by Octavia Butler, which despite my revulsion at all the incest and rape, I understand why it is essential to the basic theme, and I grew to appreciate the entire story arc more as I worked my way through the books.

Next up in reading: Your Spacious Self. I can’t decide on my next novel and I keep starting one and putting it down to start another. I have a lot to choose from here, though.

Will cook a few dishes today, nothing complicated, and sew masks, and cuddle with kitties. Feliz Natal!

Back Forty, Blather, Coronavirus Chronicles, Reading

A cold rainy day

Here it is Wednesday, with icy cold rain falling outside. Fortunately the ice is not sticking here, but it has rained a LOT and that means water flowing through the Back Forty from two directions, which culminates in a pond in my next door neighbor’s back yard. This, despite an effort to redirect the water to a large burrow under that garden bed. It’s not a big problem for us any more, but I feel sorry for the next door neighbors. They are not there right now, though.

In the middle of a big rain, that curving path looks like a stream. I have considered the idea of digging a trench and filling it with lovely river rocks to make a rain garden and help with the drainage, but since we plan to sell the house in a couple of years, I won’t do it. I used to mulch this path and others throughout the Back Forty with wood chips, only to find them all deposited at the side of the house after a hard rain.

I am now working on 2016 – finished the big train trip to Glacier and Oregon. That was a marvelous memory to relive. That also means I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for the Flickr project!

The continuing uncertainty about travel and the vaccine is making me cranky. I miss my art retreats. They truly are sanity savers, and doing them online is just not the same.

Work was busy and frustrating yesterday and this morning. It shouldn’t be this hectic in mid-December. I’ve transferred my ranting about work to a private post, but it was good to get it out of my system.

I am now totally committed to reading How Green Was My Valley and stayed up way too late last night because I lost track of time. Also, I had forgotten what a witty and well-written book Harriet the Spy was! Thoroughly enjoyable adult re-read. Started The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix and I am trying not to binge it.

My life feels so boring right now. I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way. But it is better for it to be boring than being in the middle of a civil war or dealing with serious illness, so I’ll try to keep that in mind.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, GTFO, Reading

Saturday schmatterday coffee pot post

I am up to May 2015 on the blog project, so I need to get a move on to check it off my list.

This week I was fatigued and sleep-deprived. Yesterday was my office day and I left at lunch, took a three hour nap, worked a couple more hours from home, and then slept from midnight to 11 a.m.!!! Sandy has been feeling weak and fatigued also. He does a low-impact aerobic video for as long as he can every day. I’ve had foot problems that wake me at night, so I’ve laid off the exercise other than some light walks.

Sandy is making us waffles right now and they are really good! We use Klondike Power Cakes Flapjack and Waffle Mix, which we bought in bulk at Costco a while back. It is the best commercial mix that I have tasted, especially for a whole wheat mix.

Considering physical problems now and in the future, we moved the litterbox up on a table in the back room where we can deal with it easier. This means that some major cleaning has to take place today, as one of the cats didn’t get the message or forgot. Diego is good with it now, not sure about Pablocito yet and he is the dumber of the two – not saying that Diego is smart.

So this goes on the list of things that we want/need to do to the house when we are ready to let contractors/repairpeople into the house:

-Replace laminate floor in back room with linoleum.
-Figure out and fix the ongoing plumbing problems in the sewer line
-Fix the leak in the bathroom sink
-Put knobs/handles on the kitchen cabinets.
-Fix the kitchen drawer and panel under the sink.
-Pull out trays in the bottom kitchen cabinets.
-Replace the ceiling fan in the kitchen to something simple and easy to clean.
-Change the closet sliding doors in my bedroom from metal to wood, make them open and close easily and quietly.
-Strip and refurbish the antique door I bought and put pressed or stained glass in the windows, and replace the hollow ranch style door that is there now.

I am going to hire a landscaping contractor to clean up the back forty, take the rest of the maple tree down that has been broken halfway by invasive vines, and keep the yard in shape for when we put this place up for sale. I will keep my little garden plot, but I am finally giving in to Sandy as far as making the rest of it a more “normal” yard. We can’t deal with it and I can’t find anyone reliable to help. The permaculture guy who said he was coming back stopped returning my texts, and the guy next door broke his finger splitting wood for us. The guy who cleans the yard on the other side mowed our tiny little bit of grass for $20, then came back to say that his price had gone up to $50 for at least two hours work at a time. And he really doesn’t know plants – he called the cypresses that he planted next door pine trees. And I didn’t ask him to make a special trip or cut our grass, just to spend an extra hour cleaning up along our side of the property line for $20, which was his asking price at the time.

One way or another, I am going to GTFO of this country, and that means getting rid of our junk, our collections, and getting the property in shape to sell it after the pandemic is “over” and I reach social security age.

My hope is that by next week my work will have settled down as faculty and admin staff start taking off for the holidays and I can relax and just respond to a few calls and emails a day. Do some art. Do some garden clean-up and clutter disposal.

I finished watching “In the Dark” and will start “The Queen’s Gambit” next. Sandy and I watch an episode of “Schitt’s Creek” together every day. In reading, I finally finished the second book of Octavia Butler’s Patternist series: “Mind of My Mind.” I will move on to the third, but first I am re-reading “Harriet the Spy” which I was able to borrow from archive.org. What a hoot. It and “My Side of the Mountain” were my absolute favorite books growing up. I also loved the Three Investigators series.

I can’t do politics right now. I am so disgusted with half of the American people and their willingness to destroy everything that we built in order to get their way no matter what, or willingness to be silent about it, and this election won’t change that. It’s not even about the political leadership any more. It’s about the people who allow this travesty, these crimes, to happen with no consequences. It’s about people who see cruelty and crime happen right in front of their eyes and claim that it isn’t true. So, I am not on Facebook much any more. It might be up in the background, but I don’t look at much of it.