Sunday morning coffee pot post

Weather has always been fascinating to me. As the daughter of a farmer in a pre-Internet time and no-cable TV house, I was expected to watch the weather forecast on one of our three TV stations and report to him in the evening when he came in, since a farmer’s work generally lasts sunrise to sunset and the news only came on at 6 and 11.

Sometimes I wish that I had studied meteorology in college, but I would have had so much science catch up to do. The only science I had in high school was biology, since one of the coaches “taught” my chemistry class (we never once went into the lab and he never lectured about chemistry), and I was always an arts and lit student. I learned a little bit in a college freshman earth science class.

Anyway, crocheting this weather scarf is making me more aware of the comparative weather of our year. The photo above is of the first two months in 2018, when we started with a polar vortex week. Other than that, our weather is really wild during the winter/early spring. It often changes 30-40 degrees in a single day. I’m sure that these big swings will be more extreme as our climate continues to change and the Arctic ice and permafrost melts.

March and April are just as wild, with many more color changes from day to day. Then suddenly, May was different. During the entire month of May, the high temperatures stayed between 76-90 F, often within 5 degrees for days at a time. The summer of 2018 was surprising. We did not have a single day with a high over 95. Now, I guarantee you that the humidity made most of those days feel well over 100 degrees.

The basic Tunisian crochet class ended yesterday. Actually it was intended to be a one-day class but it was Hilary’s first time teaching and she had a couple of students who didn’t have any or much experience in regular crochet, which she didn’t expect. She was kind to extend the class to two more Saturday afternoons, and it was leisurely paced with plenty of chat. I walked away feeling part of a tribe and Amanda’s hugs were wonderful.

They are doing a “Sophie’s Universe” crochet-along (a crazy fabulous free pattern, google it) on Saturday mornings at Gate City Yarns and I am going to join it weekend after next. This is what I need, a small comfortable group I can create with on a regular basis. I miss having a studio mate, even though I didn’t want to collaborate and basically just wanted a quiet companion to share energy and space.

The lettuce and calendula and arnica seeds are coming up! I planted leeks, onions, chive, monarda, and coreopsis a few days ago. I still have them inside the house since the temps are supposed to plunge to about 20 degrees mid-week. The rains have stopped from time to time to give us a short break before beginning again. As they are supposed to do today. It is definitely affecting my mood.

Current book: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. I am really disappointed with this one because I looked forward to reading it for so long. It’s been a real slog to get this far (about 70%) and I’m glad I didn’t buy it. I don’t like the main character. She is whiny and it is hugely depressing. I am from that rural farming poverty stricken conservative world, and I should be able to relate to it, but I don’t because I have had a mind of my own since childhood. I think that a lot of it could have been edited down and it would have been a better book. However, I want to see how she ends it and I am not skipping to it because that is cheating in my reading world.

Anyway, I am wrapping this up and getting back to the loom. I’ve got three more feet to weave on the twill gamp curtain panels. Oh! Almost forgot – I crocheted a bag with those long thrums from this project. I cut off about 8-9 feet of warp and couldn’t bear to see it go to waste. Result is below.

This week is spring break for UNCG and Susanne and Sandy and I are headed to Topsail Beach next weekend for a book workshop with Leslie Marsh and Kim Beller, so more good things are coming.

Oh, and this blog turned 14 this week. How about that?

Underwater

Rain, rain, rain. Puddles everywhere. That’s how we roll in North Carolina – drought or drowning, seldom in between. For years I have remembered my birthday as being in the season of mud, so it must be usual for February. We sandbagged the basement entrance again.

I am in an odd mood this week. Probably because I am not drinking and I started a diet yesterday. An actual diet plan, with an app, not my usual hey, I know how to eat healthy and I’ll just do that. I do know how to eat healthy, but it is not helping my weight and cholesterol issues. I kept seeing an ad for Noom, and decided to try it.

So now I’m eating SUPER DUPER healthy. With a calorie counter and a pedometer. And I am hungry and miss my cheese and peanut butter! Ah well. It must be done.

Underwater. That’s how I feel.

The weaving project is going well. I’m still plugging away at it and I hope to have the second curtain panel done by the end of the weekend, since the forecast is MORE RAIN. It is great to be able to weave standing up at my Macomber loom. I’m very glad that I decided to keep it. I should sell my Baby Wolf, though. It is just collecting junk on top. Once I get that tapestry off the Shannock loom (don’t ask an ETA for that, please) I will consider selling or trading it also.

I ripped out the entire 2019 Tunisian crochet weather scarf, charted all the high temperature data for Greensboro (the airport) for 2018, redid my color scheme a bit, and started over with a 2018 scarf. It goes more smoothly than doing a day at a time. I was very surprised that our highest temperature for last year was 95. That cut out two colors from my scheme so I shifted them all down one and rearranged a couple of other colors that made more design sense to me. The results are more pleasing and logical to me, and you know, logic is a prime concern for me. It will be interesting to me to compare the 2018 and 2019 scarves. This project punches all my OCD buttons so I have to make myself take breaks. Thank God for work or my hands would be aching by now!

Even though I have avoided the greenhouse, I started some arnica, calendula, and a variety of lettuce seeds indoors a few days ago. I bought a little pot of parsley at a grocery store about a month ago and it had probably two dozen seedlings crammed in there, so I separated the strongest ones and replanted them in the planter by the front steps.

There are too many things that I want to do, too many books to read, too many places where I want to travel.

There is a faint dread underlying my days, and I am trying to keep it from bubbling up. Perhaps re-engaging in political discussion and reading has not been the best decision. But how can I not? And there has been a few bright spots, although these bright spots often are relief that something awful is being undone, when it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I have no trust in anything any more since the 2016 election. I know that anything can happen, no matter how crazy and illogical. It is a surreal world, and I feel underwater.

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I don’t think that there will be photos in this post. I’m just going to sip coffee and write about random stuff for a little while.

My birthday is tomorrow and I will be 58. Maybe it is because my job requires me to plan one year ahead but I’ve been thinking that I am 58 for several months now. I guess this year I will be thinking that I am 59. Retirement has been on both Sandy and my minds for quite some time. He is probably going to retire this year. I will see if I can retire at 62 so that we can do some retirement stuff together before he gets too much older. I will probably work part time or get temp jobs. We are lucky that I “should” be able to do this because I will have a pension and insurance from being a state employee. We’ll see as the time gets closer.

It baffles me that I am this old. Maybe everyone feels this way. I never had children and for years I was the youngest one in any group I hung out in (still am in some groups). I don’t generally feel the social constraints that I might feel if I was a parent or grandparent. But as I’ve said before, I have never felt that I really belonged here anyway. I feel at home with my artist friends but I seldom get to see them. They are either too busy with work or family or they live far away. Or I cocoon myself away to protect myself from hurt and bolster my energy and don’t make the effort I should to be a good friend. Introvert behavior in an extrovert world.

Low spirits this week with nightmares, an anniversary of a tragic event, and a political world emergency. My blood work came back and my cholesterol levels are the highest ever. I have to get my butt in gear or very likely have to give in to taking statins. At least for a little while. I’m going to try an Ayurvedic supplement called triphala in the next three months and pay attention to my diet again. Pescetarianism suits me pretty well, and I am a tofu/tempeh fan.

I also unfollowed and left a couple of liberal prepper groups on Facebook. I find them useful sources of information, but there is a lot of serious negativity and some wayout alarmist posts as well. I am sufficiently alarmed at humanity’s prospects already and don’t really need to uptick the anxiety.

The solar panels do make me feel like I am doing what I can in our little corner of the world. I refinanced them with my local credit union this week, along with an unexpected expense (new water heater). This is more expensive per month than what I had but it will force me to pay it off quicker and I feel more in control. The other financing was way too complicated – it turned out that the 0% for 18 months only applied to 2/3 of the loan. I was irritated about this misunderstanding and emailed the company about it. The owner of the company called me and sent me a check for 3% of the loan for the trouble I’ve gone to in setting up the first financing (a protracted, complicated pain in the ass) and refinancing. That was pretty damn impressive, and so I am again very happy with them. Duke Energy says they will be sending me a rebate check for 14% of the loan in the next few weeks, then I should get a 30% tax credit.

This weekend is a rainy one. I have not started any seeds yet! Today I am weaving and this afternoon will go to Gate City Yarns for the Tunisian crochet class and learn a couple more kinds of stitches.

Okay, back to weaving! Maybe I will post with photos tomorrow if I get around to taking any.

Tunisian crochet

When I am not weaving the twill gamp curtain panels, and by the way, I’ve started the second one, I have taken up crocheting. This is a slippery slope for me. I have always loved to crochet but every time I begin doing it I get obsessed with it and I don’t quit soon enough. The house can be absolutely quiet and I will lose hours while crocheting. This is probably the closest I ever get to meditation.

I mentioned that I am taking a class at Gate City Yarns. I have also mined Ravelry and Interweave Press website and the Interwebz in general in search of free patterns, not only in Tunisian crochet but any crochet. When I quit smoking 24 years ago (and I think that yesterday was my anniversary for that!) I crocheted many snowflakes and Christmas ornaments. Even though I am not a lacy kind of gal, I hooked up a lot of doilies and delicate filet crochet thingies. A lady came to my house and bought most of my ornaments right off my tree. After that, my tendinitis cranked up, and I got rid of my crochet thread and itty bitty hooks, and vowed to never do it again. That wasn’t the first time I made that vow.

WELL. BUT…this is TUNISIAN crochet! It might be different! And I have SO MUCH YARN.

So, I decided to do this weather scarf. I got out a bunch of colors of Tahki Cotton Classic that I bought years ago from Earth Guild, and similar cotton yarns I have on cones. I assigned colors to a range of temperatures like this:

Then I looked up the high temperatures for each day on Weather Underground and made a chart with the corresponding colors. Then I started stitching one row for every day. Yesterday I caught up to the current day and it is not enough! So I also have a regular crochet project in which I am making dishcloths and produce bags with the long yarn waste from my current weaving project.

My buddy the Fabulous Zha K gave me a bunch of interesting boxes and tins on her way outta North Carolina and this wooden wine gift box turned out to be the perfect container to keep my current crochet projects together.

I hope that this will work out and I can be wise about it. I am weaving standing up and when I need a break from that I sit down and crochet. In the meantime, nothing else is getting done, unfortunately. These seeds aren’t going to plant themselves.

How it is with me

Better. Much better.

I am able to make myself do the things that have to be done. And do the things that my soul craves as well.

During the last weekend in January, Sandy and I got out and cleaned up the back yard and took the remaining tatters of the cloth roof off the gazebo, AKA the outdoor studio. The idea is to move it more toward the middle of the yard and away from the trees, and from there it will be mostly up to Sandy what he wants to do with it. I am not moving it or the many pavers that I put down when I set it up long ago. It nearly handicapped me then. But it was a great place to paint and make paper and read and journal until the trees behind starting dropping branches on it and the vines began ripping through the screened walls. A big limb came down on our back house a few weeks ago and so Sandy is cutting away at it and burning it. He is such a firebug.

20190127_125847

Saturday somebody told him that he looks like Captain Kangaroo.

Between that weekend and this weekend we moved the greenhouse closer to the house where I think that it might get a little more morning sun. This will be a warm week and I will start some seeds.

20190203_154715

Last weekend Sandy took me to a country restaurant called Hillbilly Hide-a-way that we have been curious about for a long time. They bring you out some of everything that is on the menu that night and then you can order more of whatever you want, all you can eat. I guess if you are a huge eater it is a great deal. People wrote all over the walls for years so we added our names. It is a very popular place. I doubt we will go back though.

20190126_191041

20190126_190402

20190126_193429

On Thursday, we went to see Gaelic Storm at the Blind Tiger here in Greensboro. I saw them in 2016 and they put on a great show. I’m kind of surprised I didn’t write a post about it then because I took photos then. They have a new fiddler this year but here is a photo from last year when they ended the show up on the bar.

Gaelic Storm at the Blind Tiger in Greensboro, NC

Then on Saturday, I took a Tunisian crochet class at Gate City Yarns, and afterward we ate at Pier Oyster Bar and Grille, both in downtown Greensboro. This was our second time at Pier, and man, is it good. I had ahi poke tacos and the shells were crispy fried wontons. This is the first time I have found poke with the same flavorings that I found in Oregon in 2017. YUM.

I really like Tunisian crochet. We have two more classes, and here is the start of the sampler…will post the final product later. I like the look of it and it is much easier on my right hand.

20190202_145227

20190202_150213

As for Amanda and Gate City Yarns, I think that I have already proclaimed my love for Amanda here. I took the spinning wheel that belonged to Ida Eisemann to her. I had bought it in an antique store in Saratoga, Florida around 2002, I think. She was so beautiful that I could not leave it in the store. However, I felt strongly that she needs to go to a spinner so Amanda is going to look into getting her restored (she needs a flywheel) and either buy or sell her for me. She was lonely at my house. I believe this is an object with a soul.

20190202_150504

20190202_150524

Yes, I am still weaving! I am making a mess of the hemstitching on the first curtain panel now.