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Saturday morning coffee pot post

My neighbor is mowing his front yard and I feel envious. We don’t have a working mower at the moment, and even though I actually enjoy mowing and weed-whacking, it sets off my tendinitis. I’m considering getting the weed-whacker out anyway. The yard guy that I was so thrilled about came by when I was at the office on Thursday to mow and clean up the yard, but he couldn’t find a parking place so he left. So frustrating! The Back Forty is looking like a prairie, which I wouldn’t mind if it didn’t breed tiger mosquitoes.

There’s something about clearing paths and breaking trails that lights up my brain when I mow. Mowing was my job growing up, and I liked it so much that I would mow neighbor’s yards, the sides of the road, and the community building lot too. Now that I have hindsight, I guess that was one way that I coped with my anxiety.

This week was the last of the semester, and things should calm down for a while, but you never know these days. We used to go on vacation in May for this reason. This year our best-laid plan is to go to Ireland with a side trip to Lisbon, Portugal in September. Hopefully the EU will be open for us by then – it sounds like it is moving in that direction. I have good deals on AirBNB apartments in western Ireland (for a week!) and in downtown Lisbon, near the museums and the river in one of the arty neighborhoods. Both can be cancelled up to a week before the rental begins. I hope that my sister and brother-in-law will join us, but that’s beginning to look doubtful. In the meantime, we’ll probably go back to the lake once or twice in the next few months.

Beautiful weather today. Sunshine and breezes, high around 70. I’m glad that I can enjoy it because I had my second shingles vaccination late Thursday afternoon and it kicked my butt yesterday. I barely felt the shot, but afterward I barely slept and had a headache for about 24 hours, not to mention an extremely sore arm. Last night I finally fell asleep with an ice pack, slept for 12 hours, and awoke feeling good. Later we will go to a get-together for our department at Oden Brewing, which has a nice outside beer garden just around the corner from my house.

We moved Frida into the cage with Bernie yesterday. After trying to catch her (we never have handled her) we finally held her cage up to Bernie’s cage and opened the two doors between them. She flew into Bernie’s cage. It was that simple. They are both exhibiting stress behaviors and Bernie has been chasing Frida around more than she’d like, but otherwise they are getting along and were kissy-kissy this morning.

I have so much that I’d like to get done this weekend. I didn’t get any weaving done because I stabbed myself in the finger with a knife on Sunday! It didn’t hurt much, amazingly, but boy, did it bleed and I thought that I might have to get stitches because it was deep. Of course my vaso vagel syncope popped out and I had to lay on the kitchen floor for about 30 minutes. Sandy stayed with me and helped me. We did pretty good first aid because it has closed up nicely and hasn’t hurt much, but working in the yard and washing dishes and weaving were out for this week.  Hopefully I will have a few photos by tomorrow evening.

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Garden time!

My front garden is getting into full swing now. The foxgloves reseeded themselves down in front this past year. I have not had to replant foxgloves for years now, although I have moved them around.

The roses that I saved that are really on my neighbor’s property have come back. Most of the flowers over there were plowed up and mowed down, but they don’t know or care that this little strip is on their side of the line. I always let the daisy fleabane at the end of the path bloom.

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This borage was a nice surprise volunteer.

I reduced the size of my hugelkultur bed in the front in anticipation of needing to roll the jet ski out to the street, although that hasn’t happened yet. I made it deeper and I like the smaller size better. Yesterday I moved a few herbs around and planted a couple of swamp milkweed plants for the monarch butterflies. I repotted and potted containers with one plant each of Cherokee Purple tomato, Big Beef tomato, Better Boy tomato, Sweet 100 tomato, red bell pepper, and Anaheim pepper. Today I’ll plant a couple of English thyme in different places. It is my favorite herb but I’ve never found a place where it is happy. I’m still trying!

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My neighbor offered me some rich looking dirt from where he dug out his driveway to pave it, and so I set up another hugelkultur bed, this time without digging the wood in. The dirt ended up having a lot of gravel in it, but that’s okay, I found a use for it!

Not sure what I will plant here, but at least I remembered to get a before shot.

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Continue reading “Garden time!”

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Lake Waccamaw, April 2021

20210426_150338I spent a few days and nights down at the lake house with my sister last week. Lisa spent most of her time with me since she was having her bathroom remodeled at her house, which is within walking distance. It was the first time we have seen each other since July, and it was a good time.

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Other than to ride with Lisa to get takeout meals from a couple of places and to walk down to her house, I didn’t leave the house. The weather was a bit cold the first couple of nights and we discovered that the heat is not working. Lisa brought out her electric fireplace from storage and it made the place very cozy. Then the weather turned perfect, although still too cool to get in the water. By Wednesday afternoon when I left, it was getting hot.

Happily, my weaving muse came back finally came back and I starting weaving on this tapestry that I began three years ago at a Tapestry Weavers South retreat. It is an abstract interpretation of a photo I took of a calm reflection on the lake when it was just barely raining and a little bit of blue sky was reflected on the tea colored water.

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All but a little bit of the darkest color are silk threads that I have dyed with natural dyes at various times. Sometimes I threw them in with a bundle of fabric or paper or tied them around a bundle, so those are variegated. The blue is from indigo, and the warm brown coppery colors from black walnut. The other browns and grays – I don’t know. I’ve enjoyed designed from the perspective of the threads, and adjusting the design as I go. Not my normal process, and maybe this was why I had a hard time getting going again on it. Decision fatigue! I am very happy with it, but it won’t be finished in time for the TWS show, I’m afraid. My eyesight gets too blurry to work on it very long. Guess I need to make an optometrist appointment.

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Sunday Sweep

Preface: this is a Sunday Sweep post, in which I am clearing out a lot of anxious and depressed and just plain neurotic thoughts, so you might want to skip this one. I will be doing a couple of more posts with photos about more cheerful subjects.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but everything is fine. Not great, because we are still wondering about the results of Sandy’s muscle biopsy, but he is able to walk and lift his feet much higher, so he is improving quite a bit. His back and neck hurts a lot, so he saw my chiropractor and will see him again. A lot of the problem is that he was so sick for so long and could not walk for more than a very short distance, so he is trying to exercise more each day and strengthen his muscles.

I am quite pissed off at the surgeon and the rheumatologist for not getting back to us with the biopsy results. He has appointments with each of them later this month, but considering that it has now been a full month, I think this is inexcusable. If it was me, I would be raising hell and I have considered doing so anyway, but I try very hard to stay out of my husband’s personal decisions about his body, just as I expect him to do for me.

Anyway, last week I spent most of the week at Lake Waccamaw with my sister. I would have posted from there, but I didn’t bring a USB cord that would connect my phone to my laptop. That will be the next post, and then a garden post.

My spirits are much better, although I still have some deep dips into depression and part of my frustration is that I don’t understand why I get so weepy. Why am I having such a hard time? My life is pretty sweet compared to most people – we live modestly but with very little debt, we are financially stable, my job is pretty awesome, and we live on a wonderful street and our city is a great place to live. I am physically healthier than I have been in some time, except for being a bit fatter and some foot pain…I am not nearly experiencing the kind of back, neck, and hip pain that drove me to get monthly massages and lose sleep at night. Working from home has been a huge improvement for my body. Now that Sandy and I are fully vaccinated, I feel a huge weight lifted and we have been going out more, although I still draw the line at eating or drinking indoors.

Thursday I received a staff excellence award from the College of Arts and Sciences, which will bring me a little extra cash to spend in Ireland. I was honored in a Zoom ceremony, but unfortunately I was so appalled at the photo that was shown of me that I don’t remember much of what was said – basically it was brief and vaguely worded. I am going to ask K to let me read some of the nomination letters to make me feel better about it.

In the past at in person ceremonies the recipients of these awards went up on stage so I figured that they would show me in person. I fretted over this, but I found my makeup, set up a background in Zoom that didn’t show my mess behind me, and I made up my face to look pretty attractive, going back and forth to the mirror repeatedly to touch it up since I was in Zoom meetings all day. Then I didn’t appear at all – it was a PowerPoint presentation, and after a couple of professional head shots of the first two recipients, somebody had pulled a photo from one of our department newsletters five years ago of me in a staff uniform after a department graduation ceremony and cropped my other two co-workers out of the photo. I was so embarrassed, then I felt embarrassed about feeling so bad about something that was a good thing, and then I washed off my makeup and I cried for an hour. I wish that the college had asked me for a photo instead of mining our website for one. I wore a uniform for a couple of literal blue collar jobs in the past and I’ve always resented when I have to wear one in what I consider to be a step up in the world for me. I guess that’s hard to understand for someone who hasn’t lived my life. Generally I am not vain about my looks at all. I rarely wear makeup and wear the same clothes for years, often clothes that I’ve bought at a thrift shop, and I couldn’t care less about fashion. Why this bothered me so badly, I can’t say. I guess that I didn’t feel respected. This is nothing new about how I feel about the administration where I work. I know for certain that my department values and respects me greatly, and they nominated me, so I have come back to that, and I feel better. Really, I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with.

Sandy tried to make me feel better by saying that the photo was not so bad (it wasn’t – it just made me look like a janitor) and then took me out for a couple of Rogue Nut Brown ales on the patio of a local rib place. Friday I worked in the office, then on Saturday, we went to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market and I bought some plants from Weatherhand Farm, pink grapefruit soap from Mimi’s Soaps, and a couple of seasoning packets from Cornerstone Farms. It was really good to get out there. We then stopped at a big yard sale on the way home that benefited Unity in Greensboro, where we got some great deals. We got a pair of hand weights, a cat carrier (one of ours was held together with bungie cords and is now in the garbage), a couple of nice curtain rods, and an almost new Pictionary game all for less than $10. I am looking forward to playing Pictionary on the front porch.

We came home and I worked in the yard a while, then we went to a local hardware/garden supply store to buy potting soil. We walked in and Sandy forgot to pull his mask up so I reminded him. One of the employees walked out without a mask and told me that he did not have to put a mask on, and I sharply said, “Yes he does, he has an auto-immune disease.” I was really not so worried, but it annoyed me that somebody would stick his nose in our business that way. The other employees were masked and polite.

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On the way home, we stopped downtown and went to a small outdoor festival with music and food trucks and some craft vendors at South End Brewing. We got a late lunch from the trucks and found a place to sit in the shade on the patio of South End. Both of us drank a blackberry wit which was pretty good.

I potted up and planted most of the plants I bought at the farmers’ market and I was pooped for the rest of the day. That was a lot of activity in one day for me, and I need more days like this.

Sandy has been pretty snappy with me since I’ve came home on Wednesday and right now he is gone to the used bookstore and I guess to lunch with his brother. I was invited but I declined. My guess is that it is the chronic pain that is loosening his will power to behave as loving and polite as he has been, and I don’t think that he is aware of how hurtful it is, but then again, it could be that I am truly annoying instead of trying to be helpful. I can be a bit of a bossypants. I can also be quite snappy myself. I have definitely been neurotic. Anyway, I wouldn’t mind having a few days alone right now. My emotions have been swinging so widely.

Bernie and Miss Freda have been singing to each other every day and we are going to put Miss Freda in the big cage with Bernie soon. I’m beginning to think that I was wrong about Bernie being male and now I think Bernie might be Bernice or Bernadette, which would actually be good. No mating.

The weather is perfect and I am happy on the front porch right now. Once I finish blogging, I will get back to weaving the tapestry I was working on at the lake. You can see this photo in the upcoming lake blog post. I need to do some photo editing first.

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday morning coffee pot post

Okay, here goes.

I was getting ready to drive down to Lake Waccamaw for several days, see my sister and brother-in-law and work remotely from the lake house. I put it off until tomorrow because of a dinner invitation (!!!) and my sister reports incoming mayflies. That is normal for this time of year, and I don’t think it is going to make a difference in my decision since I can sit on the screened porch looking out at the lake, but I do enjoy sitting on the edge of the lake unless it is in a swarm of mayflies or midges. I usually do a Easter visit every year but we missed this year because of Sandy’s health issues. (Update: I just had a crown come off a molar, so I guess I will go to the dentist on Monday instead. Damn it.)

Sandy will stay here. Apparently the lab results are back but the doctors haven’t looked at them and Sandy needs to make an appointment. He has been busy because YAY! He sold the condo! As is, a little over tax value. I am so glad to have this burden off our backs. It seemed like every time we went out of town for more than a couple of days something major would go wrong at the condo. This last renter was okay, but we have had a couple of nightmare renters in the past, including one who we had to evict who stopped paying rent and then trashed the place. This condo was my mother-in-law’s residence in the late 80s/early 90s.

Anyway, he is heading now out the door to meet the buyer and do the transfer. The buyer has a real estate license so hopefully this will be quick and simple. A friend recommended him so we feel pretty good about it.

This week’s other big news for us is that we adopted another parakeet. Meet Senorita Frida.

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A farmer friend of mine posted this photo on Facebook after she was found in her chicken tractor! So I wrote to her and told her that Bernie could use a budgie friend if she didn’t find the owner. Fortunately we did not get rid of the other big cage that we bought for Bernie and Liz, the one we bought before Sandy ordered the HUGE cage for them. Miss Frida is isolated in the next room over from Bernie for a month, then we will move her close to Bernie, then transfer her into his cage.

She is tame, although a bit traumatized and angry. Right now she is very active.  She likes hearing the budgie video and chirps and climbs around the walls of the cage, so I think that she will be fine. She has been very tired. We have no idea of how old she is, but she is definitely an adult. She and Diego gaze at each other calmly and so she seems to have no fear of cats. This is probably not a problem with Diego, as he went to the shelter at a week old and didn’t learn about hunting, but it is a problem with Pablocito, who has jumped at Bernie’s cage a few times. Bernie figured out a while back that he is safe from the cats in his cage, but if Pablocito jumps at the cage Frida is in, it is much more lightweight and he could knock it to the floor. So he needs to be kept out of that room.

Anyway, as I have said before, we are accidental parakeet people. Bernie and Liz were rescues from a relative who had them in a very small cage and they seemed to be an afterthought to him. We do not like the idea of birds in cages, and we don’t want to contribute to the pet bird industry. Sandy has enjoyed the keets and my fondness for them is growing. It is nice to have a tame one, although we haven’t handled her yet because we are trying to give her a little time to adjust to her new home.

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^^^The view from my office on Friday

Sort of forcing the blog posting right now. Saturday was a very bad day, beginning on Friday afternoon, actually, resulting in terrible nightmares, and putting me in the hole for most of Saturday. I wrote a private post that morning describing my dreams, trying to work through them. Sandy came through after he found me in my bed with the covers over my head, crying. He made sure that I ate, gave me a nice back rub/scratching, and generally made me feel loved.

I popped out of it on Sunday, and if I wasn’t on medication, I would probably still be in the hole.

Last week my focus turned back to purging and organizing, since I can’t get past the artist block. One thing that we’ve been working on is to make it easier for both of us to do things that we have to get down on the floor or squat to do. That is difficult for both of us for various reasons due to age and health.

A couple of months ago we put the litter box up on a sturdy table in the back room, and the cats adjusted right away. It is much easier now to scoop and clean. Earlier last year we were sent a big fancy litter box system with pee pads by mistake and PetSmart gave it to us. We didn’t use it for months because I didn’t like that you had to use special litter and pads, but once we tried it, it is so worth it.

Last week I ordered a couple of metal pull out drawers designed to go under sinks and in lower cabinets to see how I liked them. We have a lot of food and pots and pans and storage containers in our low cabinets and it is really hard to squat down and pull stuff out from the backs of them. I put a two-tiered one under the sink and cleaned that out. The other two, shown here, are very sturdy, but don’t stack as well. I put my Golden acrylic paints and Ranger inks in them for now, where I can get to them easily, but I might end up using them in the cabinets, depending on whether the wide ones I ordered fit. They should get here today.

I packed up a beautiful Japanese tea set that I laid claim to many years ago from the room full of stored antiques in my grandfather’s house. At the time, my sister wanted it for my niece. I said, no way, this is mine, and I promise to give it to Brooke when the time is right. The time is right. I kept one saucer that was extra – it seems that a cup or three were probably broken at some point because they were always missing. The set was so delicate that I never used it. There was ancient sugar in the sugar bowl that I had to clean out. I suspect that this set probably belonged to my Aunt Lib.

It appears that Diego requires my attention now.

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No. It can’t be Sunday already.

More than anything, this is a test to see if WordPress behaves on my Kindle. I finally wrangled the Tapestry Weaver South site away from its old hosting company. They knew we had moved the site, but yet they kept bugging us with spam and then emails to update the credit card on file. The person in billing kept sending me the same message even though I kept saying cancel our account. I really hate outsourced customer service. Anyway, the account I thought was canceled is now canceled, I hope.

I am being lazy today. I glued dictionary pages to some bookboard pages to start on Sharon’s class. When I got overwhelmed with ideas, I decided to do that instead and then maybe I can jump off a word on each page for collage and embellishment. I just need to get the ball rolling somehow.

Boy, do I have a lot of earrings to give away. I have a lot of onesies that will be good for hanging off pages or the spine of a book. At least the bowls on the dresser are sorted and clean, and I have thrown some junk in the trash and put a few things in the boxes. Now I realize, ick, these curtains. They probably need washing in the worst way. I see a cobweb on my inkle loom. I bet that top shelf is covered in dust.

I need a housekeeper and a cook and a personal trainer.

Feeling unsure about Portugal now that people are complaining about how damp and cold the housing is on one group, and in another group they are talking about how awful the mosquitoes are. Oh well, no place can be perfect. But one of my big wishes was to pick a place without many skeeters. Maybe I’ll end up in the PNW after all.

My brain feels cooked. I don’t know why, other than Pablocito being a pain all night.

Hopefully photos tomorrow.

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Evening follow-up

Here’s what I got done today other than preparing meals and washing dishes and making the bed, which don’t count. I cleaned the ceiling fan in my room, which is harder than it sounds. I noticed that some artwork I had leaning on the molding over the closet doors were really dusty too so I got them down and cleaned them and put one of them in a frame. I still need to clean that area but it’s hard on my neck to clean high places so I’ll do it tomorrow. I took a walk and put two books in the little free library. And I finished transferring the photos from Flickr to the end of 2017. I had hoped that I had stopped putting photos on Flickr by that time, but I didn’t, so I will plan to do January 2018 tomorrow and clean out the refrigerator for my house cleaning task.

This is a painting that I did in Mary Beth Shaw’s workshop in Petaluma in 2012.

This is one of those accidental shots that I looked at and thought hmmm. There might be a good abstracted composition in there.

Now I’m going to watch another episode of The Queen’s Gambit and read How Green Was My Valley.

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Friday, thank God!

Well. This was the longest week ever.

Following the lead of most other universities, UNCG announced that it would suspend classes for one week to give faculty and staff time to get ready and then all lecture and seminar classes would continue online in some form or another beginning March 23, indefinitely.

And while I am relieved that steps are being taken to slow the progress of the pandemic, my allergies and anxiety symptoms combined are mimicking the virus symptoms so I am in quite a tizzy emotionally. I get sick with this kind of thing every single March, but I don’t have a fever.

I’ve got no clue whether I should stay home or not so I’m isolating myself as much as possible. I’m an introvert and a contingency planner (INTJ) so this is good for me. Luckily I have my own office. But I am ready and able to work from home next week if necessary. I’m glad I bought that laptop!

Last night I finally sowed my first tray of seeds. A large variety of peppers, sweet and hot, lots of Roma tomatoes and a few Brandywines, calendula, arnica, and coreopsis. I am using a different kind of tray this year and will transplant the seedlings into bigger pots once they develop two sets of true leaves. I’ll go down to the UNCG community garden to sow some carrots and lettuce. I missed out on getting the garden club students to help me because I forgot about it with everything else going on.

One thing is for sure, I never lack for something to do at home.

The weather is beautiful and we are hanging out on the screened front porch again. I think that winter just might be behind us now.