Back Forty, butterbeans, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, weaving

Labor Day

You know, it’s ironic how many people have to work on Labor Day. My husband volunteered to work, like he often does on holidays. He likes the holiday pay and we rarely do anything special on holidays anyway. But I remember retail work, and I salute those of you in retail and restaurants and other service work who do not get a choice. I welcome the four day week after the stress of the beginning of the academic year, but it ain’t nothing like the stress of my old jobs.

Plenty of Roma and cherry tomatoes are ripening and I’ve been drying and cooking sauce every few days. There wasn’t any bicolor corn at the market this Saturday and I am rather spoiled for that, so I didn’t freeze any this weekend. I gave in and bought fresh shelled butterbeans (little green lima beans) for the first time maybe ever and was shocked at the price. It was fair, just as the price of shelled pecans is fair for the amount of work, but those are two food items I never had to buy before this year since either my mother or I grew them. I bought bell peppers and dried and froze them in strips. A friend is giving me his okra from his CSA bag, so I blanched and froze some and put the rest in my butterbeans. Half of the butterbeans were blanched and frozen and saved for Thanksgiving. I hope that I will have a second crop soon that is much better than the first crop was. The Sugar Baby watermelons are producing, but I am not impressed. So many seeds in such a small fruit. Also picked arugula that had been sheltered by the potato vines.

My big garden success was this tromboncino squash. It’s rare that I get more than a squash or two when I attempt to grow them because of squash borers and my laziness in combating them. This is the second one – the first was eaten by bugs. I picked it at exactly the right time. The rind is tender, the seeds undeveloped, and it is delicious. I sure hope I get some more. I sliced up the neck thinly and dehydrated the slices. Just tasted one and I was surprised at how tasty it is. The rest will be cooked in a casserole with vidalia onions and cheese and crackers today. There is a second vine growing along with this one that looks to be either the candy roaster squash or the cheese pumpkin that I expected. They are taking over the back yard!

We have a house sitter for our trip and I am so happy about that! Our neighbor does a great job in feeding and visiting the cats (he likes our front porch too) but we have a friend who is selling her house and needs a place to stay, so it is a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Here’s what I chose for the tapestry diary for the months of June and July, now that my weaving block is broken and my brain is back from circling the hole. I have to weave a little at a time and walk away but I am enjoying it. I got a massage yesterday and she was surprised that I didn’t hurt more than I did and recommended rest for the rest of the day yesterday. There’s a funny English word with two meanings: rest. Anyway, I have to get back to doing my stretching exercises regularly and when I get back from our big trip I’m going to start taking a yoga class again to keep me on track.

I bought CBD oil balm this week and have been using it on my elbow. So far, so good. As long as I don’t lift anything or hold a book or a Kindle for a long time in my left hand, my elbow is fine. After a few weeks of trying this I’ll report back.

We are still waiting to hear about our application to the city to install solar panels. Turns out that they either didn’t get my first fax or lost it and it didn’t get on the agenda for the historic district commission. The city planning office has been great to work with, however, and I was told that they may be able to approve it on their own based on other applications that have been approved. I’m excited about the prospect.

It’s possible that my next entry will be from Idaho, Wyoming, or after I get back from our next big adventure. I have a lot of house cleaning and prep work to do before then, and I am going to weave this afternoon.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, critters, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, Uncategorized

Staycation week, day three

What happened to Days One and Two? They went by in a flash and that’s okay.

Here’s the agenda for my art retreat/get shit done at home week. The idea is that I choose at least four of these every day to check off. The daily checkbox, in priority order:

  1. Get something done you’ve been putting off. (Monday it was going with Sandy to a will planning meeting at the credit union and sewing buttons on my favorite pair of shorts. Yesterday I dropped one of the cars off at the mechanic for an inspection and oil change.)
  2. Sort/purge/organize one box/drawer/pile. Goal: five paper shipping boxes of stuff out of the studio.
  3. One small area weeded or tended in the garden.
  4. Weave tapestry.
  5. Stitch on apron.
  6. Blog.

Today, I’ll probably clean and vacuum the front porch. We’ll see. Trying to stay off Facebook for the rest of the day.

So far I have not played with my apron, so I’d like to do that today, sitting on my clean porch. The weather is lovely this week. I was able to turn off the air conditioning and even give the fans a rest.

Yesterday, I spotted TWO groundhogs in the back yard! This wasn’t a big surprise, but I had not seen them at the same time before. So much for the water jet idea. They munched plants right around it. I don’t think that they are setting it off, although I hear it go off from time to time. They burrowed under a wire cage and ate the broccoli there, right in front of the motion sensor.

My thinking is that this needs to be a year of observation and reassessment of how to handle this. I’m not fond of the idea of trapping and relocating them, but that is still on the table. I’m watching what they like to eat the most – all varieties of greens, lamb’s quarters, broccoli, certain varieties of beans (Jacob’s Cattle and Cannellini), the cucumber vines, celery, the watermelon blossoms, rudbeckia and sunflowers. They also like the wild yam vines and violets, and I wish that they would chow down on only those. They are leaving alone, so far, the tomatoes, butterbeans, carrots, strawberries, pineberries, and herbs.

Now that there is a sunny forecast, I’m going to spray the repellent again. I also hung reflective hologram tape all over the place. I’m sure that the woodchucks think it is pretty, but maybe we’ll save some blueberries from the birds for ourselves this year. Other than that, I’m trying to let it go.

I enjoyed going through a box of fabric scraps and sorting and purging yesterday, and it makes me wants to do some more cloth strip weaving.

Blogging takes up a LOT of time so I’ll probably skip that for the next couple of days.

The tapestry diary is a scene from St. Simon’s Island in Georgia, where I went for the tapestry retreat. I’ve started it from the image in my head and will refer quickly to a photo later.

On tap for later today, a massage and maybe a trip to the farmers’ market. Right now I’m listening to an audio panel about Enneagram types 8, 9, and 1. I’m a One, and I’ve been working with the Enneagram for about 12 years now. It makes more sense to me than any personality type system out there.

depression/anxiety, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018

Tapestry diary progress

I stopped weaving my tapestry diary near the end of March. It was not fun for me any more. I struggled to find anything I wanted to weave or represent and if I wove about my mood I reached for black and gray, then forced myself to pick up blue and purple and pink and green instead. Then I put down the yarn and walked away from it for two months. Art might be healing for some people, but when I am in a period of depression, I can’t do art. I don’t enjoy much of anything at all.

I threw all my energy toward getting better physically and getting my gardening back on track. I concentrated on fairly mindless things, like stitching around a pattern or bundling fabric with leaves to put into a natural dye pot. That took a lot of mental pushing, although I wasn’t trying for any specific results.

The tapestry retreat was coming up and I didn’t have any project to take with me. I made a design with a snail riding an albatross and decided to weave it on the warp on the other side of the loom that the tapestry diary was on. (This is not a bad idea: the snail and the albatross. I fantasized about weaving a tale about a world traveling snail and her companions who help her. After all, a snail can’t get a passport or buy a plane ticket. It still might happen, but on a different loom.)

I also took my small traveling loom with the seed of an idea to weave with the silk threads I’d recently dyed with my fabric. Suddenly that idea took off and I was in a flow state. I didn’t want to stop working on it. I left the big frame loom with the tapestry diary on it in my hotel room.

When the weavers began showing their work and talking about tapestry diaries, I admitted that I’d brought mine but had stopped weaving it. It was such an encouraging group that I brought it over and got lots of good feedback on how to get unstuck. The biggest question I needed to answer was (and is, to be honest) if I really wanted to continue or if I should let it go.

So, here is the decision: New rules. Most people don’t know this about me, but I have been obsessive-compulsive since early childhood. Most people think of the stereotypical clean freak Sheldon type and that is definitely not me. I am more of the kind that hoards things and has to have things in a certain order, plus some thought patterns and habits I don’t talk about. My ways of coping are better than they used to be. I don’t write about it – in fact, when I started writing this post four days ago, I got to this part and my system crashed. I hide my OCD very well and apparently my brain wants to keep it that way. So be it. I will let the brain have a partial win on this and won’t write the long post that I intended.

I write my own rules in my head for nearly everything, and I believe that limits are good for my art projects most of the time. Otherwise I can get overwhelmed and shut down. This time I got overwhelmed by my own rules.

So, new rules:

  • One tapestry entry per month. I pick a subject at the end of the month to represent that month. Anything I do around it is rules-free. My entry for April was woven at the end of May. I will weave an entry for May this month (during June). Likely having something to do with the tapestry retreat – maybe a palmetto tree or sunset. I’ll have the first week or so to percolate ideas and design and the rest of the month to weave it.
  • To keep it consistent, I’m still using the cotton and linen thrums, but I can go to my yarn stash if there is a color I want that isn’t in the thrum bag.
  • If I don’t like the way something turns out (i.e., the entry on Jan. 2 that was meant to represent a thermometer that instead looks like an erect white penis) I can take it out and reweave it.

I thought about weaving a tornado for April, given my focus so far on weather and mood, but chose to weave the new garden bed in the Back Forty instead. And yes, I did unweave the whole thing and rewove it. Good for me.

You know, on one hand, I think that it would be healing and valuable to others to share my mental illness experiences on my blog, and I’ve tried to do so over the years, based on some of the feedback I’ve gotten, especially in the early years when I suffered from agoraphobia and truly was turning my life around step by step, inch by inch. On the other hand, it is just too painful sometimes and I need to respect my inner child’s privacy on this point. Writing about depression is not so bad, but OCD is too much, apparently. That said, I am light years better that I was when I started writing this blog in 2005 and that’s some amazing progress.

The next post will be cheerier, I hope, but if I’m going to keep a personal journal, there needs to be some honesty lest people think that I am one of those incredible people that does it all. I don’t, believe me. I went to bed almost as soon as I got home from work Tuesday through Thursday. I live for the weekend, mostly because I can sleep as much as I need to and have the freedom to be alone. I have long periods of time when I feel like a normal person, and I search out companionship. The times when I feel weird and wish for solitude are not as often or as long.

Okay, time to get some house cleaning done.

Back Forty, dyeing, Rebel stitching, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, Upcycling, weaving

Saturday morning WHEW thank God post

I’ve been living for the weekend lately.

Here’s my newest obsession – taking online instruction from India Flint. Her first foray into a structured online class just began this past week: The Alchemist’s Apron. (By the way, that price is in Australian dollars and the exchange rate for US dollars makes it much lower.) Stitching has saved my sanity lately – honestly my work should not be this stressful. It’s the best job I ever had but bad ju-ju from anxiety and frustration is contagious for me.

The weather has been pretty whack, just as it has been almost everywhere else in the US and Europe. It’s hard to know what to do with the temps going up and down the way they have. It snowed earlier this week and was predicted to snow again this weekend, but I think that the forecast has changed. We haven’t gotten enough sun to really warm up the soil and the greenhouse. I spent some time yesterday evening and this morning filling an egg carton and peat cups that I found in the back building with seed starting mix and water. They need to absorb a lot of water before I use them. My garden usually gets a late start compared to others in the area anyway. I started a few broccoli seeds and will figure out a place to begin tomatoes and peppers inside. There are few sunny spots in my house.

Some critter left a rather large dump in my raised bed, and I wonder if it was a raccoon. After shoveling it out I covered the bed in wire fencing. That will not make the husband happy. He does not like my gardening methods, but organic gardening can’t always be pretty, especially if you don’t have the room to sacrifice some of it to the critters. I’m just praying that the woodchuck will not come back this year.

I went to the Greensboro Permaculture Guild seed swap on Tuesday night but wasn’t feeling great and didn’t stay long. Great group of people, though, and someone brought some warm freshly baked bread that was so good I wanted to snatch it and run away and gobble it all down by myself. However I resisted that wild urge and helped myself to a variety of beans, including Jacob’s Cattle and cannellini beans. I shared some of my Whippoorwill and Dixie Lee field peas that I have saved over the years. The Whippoorwill field peas originally came from Monticello.

There I met a young man and his daughter who I am going to call later this weekend and arrange to hire him to help me prepare a couple of planting beds for the summer.

Deep Roots Market is having their Taste Fair this afternoon from 12-4 which is unfortunate timing since today is also the day for the March for Our Lives. Greensboro’s march and rally is from 2-6 p.m. I will show up for part of it but I need desperately need art time.

I have filled a pickle bucket with iron scraps and vinegar and water to make a mordant for natural dyeing the shirt I will transform into the apron for India’s class this week. It was supposed to be in a big glass jar but most of my rusty bits were too big for the jar. It’s been a long time since I’ve attempted any natural dyeing because of my upper body problems. The exciting thing that happened is that I finally found my stash of naturally dyed cloth in the bottom of a hamper this morning. Most of it is silk though, and will probably be saved for something else.

My mood has been as whack as the weather and my tapestry diary this past week shows it. I’m kind of bored with it and I wonder if I will have the willpower to push through that and finish it. Some stitching will make me much happier today.

Back Forty, depression/anxiety, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, weaving

Green weekend

A bit of a late start here today after a productive and fun day and night. I spent some time cleaning up the front porch and doing some weeding and clipping in the front yard. Then I put together my greenhouse kit while Sandy burned some of the rotten firewood and sticks in the fire pit. After the greenhouse went up, it was so pleasant sitting around the fire drinking beer that we invited some friends over and it was a lot of fun. I got a bit hammered, but every now and then it’s okay to cut loose as far as I’m concerned. In my late teens through my late 30s I got hammered every other day. Getting on anti-depressants made a big difference in my life.

The week started out with snow and sleet and then got warm enough for T-shirts and now it is chilly again. UNCG played great in the first round of the NCAA and almost won their game. We were proud of them!

I watched “The Day After,” the TV movie about nuclear holocaust that came out in 1983, on YouTube. It was a mistake because I went from a great mood during the day to a fearful and depressed mood on Friday night. So I soaked in the tub with bath salts and took a Xanax to get to sleep, and I didn’t have any nightmares, as I am prone to do. I can’t watch horror movies either, but this was way too close to reality. I remember the movie “Testament” starring Jane Alexander affected me strongly as well. I won’t rewatch that one.

Now we are heading out to the Hand-to-Hand Market at Revolution Mill. I won a prize – a metal lunch box from Be Zero, who will have a booth there. I don’t think that we will ever get to zero waste, but I’d like to get a lot closer to it so I’m looking forward to getting more information from them. When we went to England I noticed a couple of zero waste stores in Devon, and I’ve noticed AirBNB listings in the US that advertised that they are zero waste households. My guess is that eventually we will see this here.

art, Back Forty, Bagstories, coffee pot posts, fiber art, Slow cloth, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, Upcycling, weaving

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I’m sure that most people in the world would rather be doing something else full-time than what they do to earn a paycheck. I am grateful for and appreciate my job very much, not in the least part because I have had some really shitty jobs in the past and worked with some awful people, and my job is wonderful compared to them. I know what a good thing is because I’ve experienced the bad. But I’m going through a period when I ache to be in this studio, weaving or stitching. I alternate between being fearful and anticipatory about my retirement, which, if I’m lucky, is ten years away. I want to leave this country, this state, this city, and then I think that I could be happy here for the rest of my life if I could only ignore politics.

Greensboro is a great small city, really. It’s just that I haven’t lived anywhere else but here and Marietta.

Okay, so this week was very stressful and it wasn’t supposed to be. By the end it all calmed down but only because we all needed to make mind adjustments. Everybody’s stress was rubbing off on everybody else and once we all saw it, we could acknowledge it and work on it. I’m not going to talk any more about work here but I need the artwork more than ever. Stitching on this boro fabric is particularly good for lowering the blood pressure:

Midweek, I stopped on my walk to work to look around when my crow friends were behaving oddly. Sure enough, there was the red-tailed hawk in the tree nearby. The crows were flying around him.

He flew away to the top of the art building, when I noticed his mate was perched nearby. She joined him, and the crows continued to hassle him. I was excited because I had not seen the female before. The male flew away and the crows followed, then he returned and everything seemed peaceful. I put my camera away. Then he hopped on the female and mated! I got to see two hawks getting it on! No photo, it was over quickly when the crows came back to annoy them.

I tried to capture the hawk in my tapestry diary this week. I am a bit frustrated with the limits that I set for this project sometimes, although I think that they are good ones. Using just the cotton and linen thrums on an 8 epi warp and a daily format across the frame for each week is starting to feel a bit oppressive. I think that it is a good exercise, but if it was a closer warp and I used wool, I could weave some beautiful images. This is a bit like weaving emojis from the 90s. However, this is not supposed to be a work of art, it is supposed to keep me weaving on a regular basis, try out a few ideas, and use up these thrums that would otherwise be used for ties or take up space or be thrown in the garbage or compost pile.

One way for me to get through this busy time of the semester at work is to consider all the lovely plans ahead of me. I will be taking online classes from both Jude Hill and India Flint. In May, I’m going to the Tapestry Weavers South retreat on St. Simons Island in Georgia. That’s an area where I’ve never been. It is possible but doubtful that I’ll go to Tommye Scanlin’s tapestry class at John C. Campbell Folk School the week of Memorial Day. The last I checked I was third on the wait list. Susanne and I are going to Leslie Marsh’s Chinese thread book workshop at Topsail Beach one weekend in mid-June. Mid-July, we are spending a week at Lake Waccamaw and my cousin and aunt from Colorado are coming to join us. Then in September, the plan is to take a week to see Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. That’s what the tax return will go to, most likely.

Really, I have such a good life.

Lenten roses are loving the front yard, and the grape hyacinths that I transplanted last year are beginning to peep up. I’ll plant some peas today before the rain begins again.

art, Bagstories, fiber art, Slow cloth, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, Upcycling, weaving

Rebel stitching

Have you seen this new phrase? I like it. Rebel stitching. Not following the rules. It is what brought joy back to my interest in sewing. I’ve been fascinated with sewing all my life. My mother was an excellent seamstress and sewed a lot of my clothes until I reached the age of balking at wearing home-sewn. You know how teenagers are. I appreciated it later in my 20s, but by then I had given up on learning to sew properly. By that time, other than sewing me a dress and my niece’s bridesmaid dress, she turned to quilting.

I inherited a huge amount of fabric from her. Much of it I gave to an art project at Greensboro College and to Reconsidered Goods, but I have a lot stashed away that I can’t bear to part with yet.

I was a theater major my first go-round in college. By my senior year I knew that I didn’t want to be a high school drama teacher. My advisor told me that I was too opinionated to teach high school and should shoot for community college! Seriously! Ha, it was like listening to my mother. “So OPINIONATED!!!” What a word. But I am, and that’s fine.

I realized that it was insane to continue in the education program, and although I might have been a good director, I hated dealing with the egos of my fellow acting students, and I had no chance at all to be an actor or the skills to be a techie. So I set my sights on simply getting that diploma and working in the costume shop.

We had sewing lessons in costume shop and it was graded for credit. Soon I was relegated to the simplest tasks for the shows, such as simple hems and ironing muslin. Boy, did I iron a lot of muslin. I have always hated ironing. I worked backstage with the costume changes and the laundry. But I loved the costume shop supervisor, Ella, who was gentle and kind.

I loved gleaning the scraps from the trashcans and stitching them together by hand at home. There were so many different textures and brilliant colors. I sewed them together in patchwork squares, not paying much attention to whether they “went together” or were of the same weight or stretchiness. It was a kind of therapy for me, I guess. Many years later I dug those squares out and they were quite hideous! Most of them ended up going inside and cut up on the top of my Magic Cloth piece, “The Flag of Me”, that I did in one of Jude Hill’s classes. Funny that I can’t find a photo of the finished flag. I’ll do that soon.

Near the end of my last semester, the costume designer professor handed me a bolt of fabric and told me to cut it into three-foot lengths. I thought this was odd and asked her to repeat herself, and she did. She left, and I cut the entire bolt into three-foot lengths. She came back and had a meltdown in the middle of the room full of my classmates. “I said three-yard lengths! How could you be so stupid!” and out she stormed. I gathered my things and slithered out the door, and did not return until after the final test when I caught Ella alone in the costume shop. She treated me with warm sympathy, allowed me to take the written test, and passed me with an A. God, I love her still. I’m sure that she has passed from this world by now and if there is a heaven she is there.

Anyway, that “How could you be so stupid!” rang in my ears for decades. It still does when I see this professor on campus.

But I don’t feel stupid about sewing any more. I revel in it. If I mess up, I might get a little frustrated, but that is toward the sewing machine, not myself. I love to hand stitch whenever I am able to do it.

Who broke me out of that mind-fuck? It was Jude Hill. And a little later, India Flint, who I am doing the Bagstories online group with, and the next project, which is to sew a piece of boro fabric with the little pieces left over from my Wanderbeutel bag. Really, I cannot express enough how much joy these two teachers released when they gave me permission to follow my instincts with stitch. I saw that I was the one that had denied myself this “permission” all these years, and now I am free.

It spilled over into my tapestry work, too. Here’s the end of the tapestry diary for the week.

I like using things that would be thrown away. That’s why I chose the leftover cotton and linen thrums to weave this diary. Next year, I’ll probably use wool.

Back Forty, fiber art, Reading, Slow cloth, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, weaving

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I don’t have a lot of photos or news to share this week. It has been windy and rainy and I had a lot to do at work, so I mainly came home at night and vegged out on the sofa. I did weave a little on the tapestry diary each night though.

The plan was to weave March coming in like a lion because of the bombogenesis (I have to use that word whenever I get the chance) but the weather also brought cluster headaches on Thursday night and I realized as I began weaving that I might not be able to weave a whole lion before the weekend was over. So I wove the tail. Now I’m trying to figure out how to interpret the wind again.

It’s a good thing that we never got around to putting up the greenhouse last weekend since the wind has pretty much knocked over most things not attached to the ground, but now I wonder if there is any point at all in doing it. It’s getting a bit late to start tomatoes and peppers, but I might try starting them inside and see if the cats cooperate. I planted some lettuce seed in a container last Sunday.

I had to go ahead and dig up what few perennials I wanted to keep from the studio house on Wharton St. late on Tuesday afternoon, since the house suddenly sold. It was twilight and hard to see but I think that I got all the pineberries, a couple of raspberry canes, and several asparagus roots, although Susanne says that she has not seen any green life come from them yet. I’ll pop them in a big planter and see. I don’t have a bed dug or prepared for them yet and won’t be able to do it since both arms are begging mercy, as well as a knee. I have no idea where I’ll put the raspberries. All of these are still in the plastic pots that I carried them home in on Tuesday, and will have to survive there for another few days.

Anyway, the bloodroot is flowering in the front yard garden and that makes me happy. It likes it up there and has spread. Daffodils are blooming and it will only be a short time before my favorite little blue flowers come out to play.

Continuing with my breakage of the rule not to buy anything unnecessary…I bought Sandy a smartphone this week. It was time. Actually the phone was free but I added him to my account. It will be about $20 more per week, but if it will help him stay on the treadmill at the Y longer by letting him listen to audiobooks, I think it will be worth it just for that. He needs to learn how to use a smartphone – for chrissake, he’s a help desk techie! The trick will be for him to keep it charged and not to lose it. Given that I lose mine about once a week, I’m no one to talk. I would like for him to have a phone with him because we are both getting older and the world is a chaotic place and I’d like that security of being able to call each other or 911. So it is not that unnecessary.

I finished “Straight Man” by Richard Russo this week. A hilarious read, especially for those of us who work in academic liberal arts departments.

Craftsy is having a free all you can watch weekend, so I’m going back to watching the Natalie Chanin classes. These are at just the level of instruction that I need and it is all hand stitching on cotton jersey, which I have a lot of! It’s a good way to sample some classes that I might want to buy later, so I am wrapping this up. If you see this in time, you may want to check it out.

Back Forty, Bagstories, coffee pot posts, fiber art, Slow cloth, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, weaving

Sunday morning coffee pot post

We’ve had what I assume will be a false spring this week. Lots of rain but also lots of warm sunshine. Sandy and I got into the Back Forty yesterday, pruned the fig tree into a fig bush, and did some general cleanup. Dumped some old potting soil out of the containers into a new raised bed and I’ll fill these containers up with better soil and some compost. They didn’t get enough fertilizer or attention last year with my neck and shoulder problems. I planted a few lettuce seeds into pots, and was on my way to starting pepper and tomato seeds, but time caught up with me and my knee and elbow insisted on a break. It was a good day. I was that kind of good tired. I have to be careful not to overdo it when I get this excited about the garden. That is how I hurt myself every frickin’ spring.

The plum trees are blooming over at UNCG and so the weather and the plum blossoms are the theme of my tapestry diary this week. Work has consumed most of my energy, mainly data entry. Shouldn’t make me tired, but it does. The good news is that I’ve almost finished that particular chore.

I broke my vow not to buy anything unnecessary this year. We bought a Shark Navigator vacuum cleaner at Costco yesterday, and that WAS necessary. However, this large rug caught my eye and the rag rug we have at the front door is starting to come apart and has been thrown up on countless times by the cats. It is very hard to vacuum and clean. So out it goes, and the new rug passes the Pablocito test. Diego has not anointed it with a hairball yet, but it has been less than 24 hours, so my guess is that he is working up a good one.

I’m pretty thrilled about vacuuming. It’s not often you’ll hear that from me, but my house is just that nasty with cat hair, diatomaeous earth, and bits of cat litter after a few months with a malfunctioning vacuum. No more trying to do it with the hand extension.

The fleas are not gone, but they are much better. I comb the boys in the morning and evening, and I usually get 2-3 each time. I’m not getting bitten. Now that I have a new vacuum I’ll give the carpets and rug another dose of diatomaeous earth.

The down time this week has been spent slow stitching this bag that I’m making in India Flint’s Bagstories group. What a pleasure this is. It turns out that the bag is exactly the size I hoped for and I got the strap length just right, so that it can be carried across my shoulders and the body of it hits just below my hip. I’m doing this in a rough boro raggedly style because I like it that way, and it is a stress reliever not to worry about anything being “just right.”

Okay, I have a badly needed massage this afternoon and a social event afterwards. Oh, isn’t my life tragic. I’m definitely feeling gratitude for my good fortune in life today, especially after a week and a half of seeing tremendous loss in other lives. Don’t think that I’m not outraged or saddened. I am. It’s good to have my depression lifted, though, otherwise I don’t know how I’d get up in the morning, much less go to a party later. The introversion is strong in me.