2017 First Day Part I

“Then what is the answer? Not to be deluded by dreams.” – Robinson Jeffers, “The Answer”

Wow. This is going to be hard. I wouldn’t blame you at all if you skipped this one. I always write a post on New Year’s Day about my goals and expectations for the coming year. I am not a cheery person these days and I don’t want to bring anybody down. But philosophically I have belonged in the camp of the Dark Mountain Project for quite some time. This kind of gloomy realistic thinking does not resonate with most people and most certainly will not get you invited to parties, but I’m not a people person anyway. If I had children, I really don’t know if I would still be sane as this point. Also, I’m not really interested in discussing it, but here’s what is in the back of my mind, and I feel that it is important to put it out there today.


“We must unhumanise our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.”

  1. We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn how to live with it.
  2. We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times can be reduced to a set of ‘problems’ in need of technological or political ‘solutions’.
  3. We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilisation: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.
  4. We will reassert the role of storytelling as more than mere entertainment. It is through stories that we weave reality.
  5. Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with the attempt to step outside the human bubble. By careful attention, we will reengage with the non-human world.
  6. We will celebrate writing and art which is grounded in a sense of place and of time. Our literature has been dominated for too long by those who inhabit the cosmopolitan citadels.
  7. We will not lose ourselves in the elaboration of theories or ideologies. Our words will be elemental. We write with dirt under our fingernails.
  8. The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.

From the Dark Mountain Project Manifesto

So, there is the broader view of my thinking for the years ahead. Next, a cheerier post about our plans for the year.

critters, Upcycling, whatever

T-shirt Upcycling and Life

Just some photos from the last few days

^^^The Lyle Lovett collection, well loved

^^^This one was in absolute tatters

^^^Pablocito actually was taking a bath in the tub, but he wouldn’t do it after I got the camera.

^^^Theo doesn’t like the camera either, which is a damned shame since he’s so handsome.

^^^Anybody want some big chunks of beautiful maple?

^^^Proof that I wasn’t a total humbug this Christmas



I think that I can safely predict that from now on I can expect to go into an artist’s block during every major election year. It’s too stressful. Although of course this year’s blew all the other ones out of the water. I wish that I was the type of person who can turn to art when she’s depressed, but that’s just the way it is. The doctor upped my anti-depressant dose, because I’d rather feel sadness and anger than feel hopeless and nothing at all. That’s depression. It’s something people don’t understand until they experience it.

I’m going to try to finish up moving my studio to Susanne’s house this weekend and do something fun while I’m there. It will depend on whether I can get my neighbor to help me move a large heavy bookshelf in his van, but I’m tempted to rent a truck if he can’t. I want to get it done! It will be great to have a kitchen and back yard to use, as well as share tools and equipment with Susanne. We’ve been sharing for a long time, just not in the same space. I want to make paper and books again, as well as continue to play with fabric and stitching and collage. My tapestry studio will remain at home.

Here’s the space:

You know I’m a treehugger, but hallelujah, Duke Energy has finally decided to put this dying maple tree next to my driveway out of its misery. I will miss the woodpeckers that feed on its insects but they have plenty of other places to go in the neighborhood. They are supposed to cut back my trees in the front yard too. I hope that they don’t stomp my lenten roses and make a big mess but I don’t mind them cutting back my trees. I never expected these yoshina cherries to get so tall, since I was told that they grow to about 15 feet. If I had it to do over again, I’d do edible landscaping.

Although I am going to continue to try to not write about politics here (I do plenty of that on my personal Facebook page), because of the incoming regime, my thoughts are turning to preparation for the tough times ahead. I don’t mind telling you that I am afraid and freaked out. Don’t tell me not to be, please. It’s not my choice.

I’ve let a lot of the “back forty” garden go because of physical problems and the horrible mosquitoes. I don’t want to use a community space like I did a couple of years ago and then not be physically able to maintain it. That was embarrassing, although I’ve been told that I am welcome to come back. So I will need to adjust my thinking and look seriously at what I can do with the situation at hand. That means not doing too much at once and hurting myself, possibly building some planting space up where I don’t have to squat down, and serious critter and low-maintenance weed control methods, whether my husband likes it or not.

Also, if I can grow enough or buy produce at a low cost, canning. Storing water and medical supplies. Have a couple of well-stocked bug-out bags at hand. Get serious about simplifying again.

At least I don’t have children or parents or grandparents to take care of, so I don’t have those worries any more. Just the cats and Sandy.

I was about to write “We’ll make it” but I no longer have any confidence in anything anymore, so I can’t honestly write that. Emigration has been seriously on my mind but I don’t want to give my great job up so close to retirement age. Our savings have mostly gone into the house and I’d like to enjoy it for a while.

We have a big 40th anniversary trip to the United Kingdom planned and mostly paid for coming up in May. That is something wonderful to look forward to.

Deep Roots Market, depression/anxiety, Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, whatever

A Bit of Catching Up

Well, you know. You know how it is with me if you’ve been reading my blog for a while.

Anyway, since I last posted, the election brought a lot of attention to North Carolina. Ben Harper showed up at the pub across the street, sang a few songs, asked us to vote for Hillary, then hung out for a while right at our table. I offered him some of my nachos and he took me up on it. I look drunk and excited because I was drunk and excited. Such a nice guy.

Then a few days later Bill Clinton came to UNCG.

I’m not a Hillary fan, but I dressed as close as I could to a suffragette on Election Day. I don’t do pantsuits.

A couple of days later:

So I’m marching in Washington on Jan. 21. I feel quite steamrolled and helpless, though.

We got our front porch screened in! But we haven’t gotten the second coat of paint on it yet. The weather turned cold and rainy when we finally had the time. It has an outside electrical outlet and a ceiling fan now. We didn’t find a front door that has satisfied both our budget and the Historical Commission yet, though.

Thanksgiving at my sister’s house at Lake Waccamaw:

I just moved my studio from the church to Susanne’s house. I didn’t feel safe at the church any more and Susanne seems quite happy to have me there. It will be a much better situation.

The “resistance” group of owners of Deep Roots that I’m involved in has managed to bring some positive changes to the co-op. Whether it will be too late is the question. But the manager is gone and it looks like it will begin to behave like a co-operative again instead of like a private business.

Theo is looking quite frail these days. Diego and Pablo are plump and sassy.

Sandy and I went to Savannah, Georgia for his birthday in mid-November. That will be a separate post.

Back Forty, whatever

Back in Dixie

And boy, am I glad that I didn’t pay attention to the news much while I was on my great Oregon adventure. The only good news I saw was from the Supreme Court, which was, of course, AWESOME, but the news of the Carolinas was just plain awful. I can hardly stand it here any more. My plan to move to the Pacific Northwest looks better all the time.

I’m about to blog the trip, but wanted to warm up by doing a little brain dumping.

We ate well in Oregon, but also we ate a lot of sugar, junk food, fried food, cheese, bread, and of course I sampled the local beer and ale rather liberally, so I came home with five extra pounds. I finally got up the courage to look up my blood test results and my cholesterol is still way too high but it came down 13 points. After my trip I’m guessing it went back up too – BUT – I’m starting over. I’ll get it going in the right direction again.

When I left North Carolina we were in the beginning of an intense heat wave, which triggered a lot of thunderstorms so my garden was watered naturally. The woodchuck finished off the pea vines and most of the parsley and all the flowers, but left the rest alone. At the UNCG garden I picked three yellow squash and saw that squash borers, the bane of my squash growing existence, had gotten into the vines so I pulled two of them up. Tomatoes had ripened and unfortunately three of the Brandywines had rotted. I brought home one big green one that had started to turn yellow home so that I can ripen it in the kitchen, and harvested many Sungold and Roma tomatoes. Hopefully I will have okra soon. Zinnias are blooming and the sunflowers are gorgeous!

When I left Oregon, THEY were in the beginning of an absolutely insane heat wave with record-setting temps. However, we spent most of our time at Cannon Beach where it is so cool that we needed jackets and used the woodstove. At our class at Pacific University in Forest Grove I actually burnt my hand on the outside metal door of our classroom, but we were lucky because we had air conditioning. Much of the campus didn’t.

Now it is a reasonable temperature here in N.C. and we are getting storms every day. I do love a good storm. I have recovered from jet lag and had two days of major catch-up to do at work. Now everything is back to normal. We had considered going to Lake Waccamaw to see my sister’s “new” house but there’s a bit too much chaos going on in their life right now, so we have that to look forward to later this month. I’m ready to stay home this weekend anyway.

Because home is still home and as much as I badmouth this state, Greensboro is a great city to live in, and I know a good thing when I see it. I’m a lucky woman.

But I’m still moving to Oregon (or somewhere to the northwest) when I’m 60. It’s where I belong.