coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Last night I slept the longest and the hardest that I have slept in months. I did it without alcohol or Xanax or melatonin and if there were any large firework explosions in the middle of the night I slept right through them. I didn’t even get up to pee until 8:30, then I fed the cats, and went back and slept another hour until I woke naturally. It amazes me how much the need to sleep rules my desires. I mean, I forego almost anything in order to wake up without an alarm in the morning. This did not start with the pandemic, but the pandemic and election depression certainly doubled the insomnia and desire to sleep until I wake up like Dorothy and find out that it was all a dream.

I haven’t done much this week – it’s been a particularly bad one for my mental health. I’ve been very angry and cranky about small bureaucratic stuff. I haven’t gotten a response from Orbitz about my Aer Lingus credit despite a couple of follow up emails. The little dipshit technical things at work which usually involve many emails about changing a number from one column to another, or three forms with verified signatures that get sent without copying me, or having to do triple the work to change two letters on a form – those are the things that make me nuts. I will miss my department co-workers and buddies, but I won’t miss the job. It has changed so much since I have been there, in the name of “simplifying” for other departments. I do so many different things I can’t keep up with the changes any more, which makes those people who only see their part of it cranky with me.

I need to be careful what I wish for, though, because who knows what budget cuts might bring next year. I need to keep this job at the minimum until Feb. 17, 2021, which I am not worried about, and preferably until May 1, 2023, when I will be 62 and have 20 years in with the state. That’s my target date.

Thanksgiving at Lake Waccamaw is out. My sister and I decided to follow the advice of the public health professionals. I thought about going by myself to our lake house and backing my car in so that nobody can see my liberal bumper stickers, but that county is one of the red hotspots in North Carolina with the highest rate of Co-vid 19 infections. It is too bad that such a pretty tranquil place is in the middle of a bunch of white supremacists and hard-headed people. And I am not exaggerating about the white supremacists. My brother-in-law and his friend went to a meeting that advertised a lecture about Lincoln. Turned out it was a negative lecture and it was an organized local White hate group, complete with a ladies’ auxiliary called the “Confederate Roses.” They found out a whole lot about their neighbors and local businesspeople.

So I preordered a turkey dinner with side dishes and a pie and a quiche from Deep Roots Market. Although we will miss my sister’s cooking, at least I will be able to enjoy Thanksgiving without worrying about the food prep. I ordered enough that we should have leftovers for a few days.

This will be a beautiful weekend. We had a freeze this week but my front garden with the bricks around it did okay. We brought in the lemon tree and large aloe plant, but I think that they can go on the front porch for a few more weeks at least. I need to clean out my garden plot at UNCG and bring the wire supports home.

I’ve ignored my online classes again. I wish that I was one of those people who could escape into art when they are depressed, but all I want to do is sleep, read, and play mindless games.

I see that I never posted photos of the papers Susanne and I dyed and printed last Sunday. I will try to remember to do it later. I want to work on transferring the rest of the 2011 posts over from Flickr before I do anything else.

Coronavirus Chronicles, GTFO, Obsession

A little talk about the future

Today is my sweetheart’s 68th birthday! We won’t be going out to eat tonight because we are cautious, but I’ll cook him his favorite dish tonight.

Again, I spent a good bit of time this week transferring photos from Flickr to WordPress and updating links. It’s not a terrible task. Once I get into a groove it goes very quickly. However I still have almost nine years of blog posts to finish before my Flickr account renews in January, so I’ve had to make it a priority. The memories have been bittersweet for sure – posts about my mother, my beloved cats that have passed on. I just passed Sandy’s heart attack in April 2010 and am now on our trip to Colorado in June 2010.

Our goal is to move to Portugal in 2023. At that point, I’ll be able to get my social security early and most of my pension from my job. That should be enough for us to live on. We are frugal people anyway. But it really can’t be soon enough. Sandy will be 70 by then and he is getting less able to walk for more than short distances. Hopefully he will see a doctor soon about it. Neither of us are getting the exercise that we need but I have a feeling that this is something more. And the climate crisis is urgent. I truly do not think that we have a lot of quality time left.

It will take a lot of energy to downsize and pack up this house and sell it in the next 2-3 years, and I guarantee you that Sandy will want to wait until the last minute to do it. I have very low energy, myself.

There are services in Portugal that help ex-pats with the logistics of getting visas, residency paperwork, a place to live. I believe that you can ship two times to Portugal as an incoming resident before they hit you with tariffs big enough to make shipping a terrible option. Some people pack their stuff in a large 8×20 foot container and send it by container shipping. I think that would wreck my nerves, waiting almost a month for that much stuff. Although I do have trucker friends…

In the meantime, I think that I will get rid of a lot of these old books I have collected and raise a bit of money by putting together collage packs for sale here and maybe on Etsy. I still have an Etsy account but I haven’t used it for years.

And it sounds like it might be okay to book plane tickets to Portugal this summer! The vaccine news is good. I want to book the tickets by the end of the year to get the no change fee for United. I still haven’t heard back from Orbitz about the credit that I am due for Aer Lingus, but they have raised their prices so much that it probably won’t be worth using it, and I have to book the tickets with a flight originating in the U.S. It’s the principle of the thing. They said I had until the end of November to use the credit, and then they said it expired at the end of June. I am booking tickets for four people this time, so I need to get relatively cheap tickets for all of us instead of booking Aer Lingus again.

It’s exciting to be thinking about travel again! The hardest thing, after figuring out the dates, will be where to go. There is a lot to see and we are not up for any more whirlwind trips and checklists.

Back Forty, bloggy stuff, political activism

A little talk about the past and present

I’ve distracted myself from the distress of the U.S. Election by spending a lot of time updating my blog from years ago – going through each post quickly to find photos that are hosted on Flickr, downloading them, and uploading them to WordPress and changing the link. This is going to work. I worried that I might not have enough room for all my photos on WordPress, so I began with the big travel blog posts and then started at the beginning.

This week has been 2007-2008, a particularly emotionally volatile time in my life. I was severely depressed in 2007, lost several friends, a cat that I handfed as a feral baby, Squirt, and his mother and sister, Mama Kitty and Miss Peanut. My husband’s work situation was awful. And I managed to squeak out finishing my M.A. in Liberal Studies in the midst of it. There are clues to my misery in the posts that I transferred over from when I hosted this blog on GoDaddy, but I noticed that I left out dozens of posts that I wrote. They are gone forever now. I can’t say that I am sorry that I made that choice, but I am glad that I left the clues.

I am amazed at the photos of the Back Forty. WOW. It was beautiful. I worked SO HARD on it. There was a lot of food produced, pre-groundhog days. I mean, LOOK>

Also, my God, the energy I had! I complained a lot about the same old physical stuff, but I got shit done. I was involved in the community. I finished a degree and started back on the Studio Art BA degree that I had abandoned in the late 80s.

2008 was also an election year and I suspect that I left out a lot of political posts as well. I was happy that Obama won, then disappointed in his food policy, which was my big focus at the time. I would leave the Democratic Party soon after.

What a difference 12 years later when Obama seems like a dream President, witty and intelligent. I have been a Bernie girl since long before he ran for President in 2016, but I have come to believe that this country needs a centrist president. My personal political opinions skew much farther left, but I am a realist above all else. We can’t waste time trying for the impossible when we can at least get the direction pointed away from total disaster.

I have hope for getting the pandemic under control and progress on reducing the effects of climate change, although, again, I am a realist. That point tipped several years ago. There is no reverse.

So yes, I am happy about Biden and Harris, and I hope that we get to Inauguration Day without a civil war and white domestic terrorism unleashed. I am not yet, nor likely to be, filled with glee. My main concern, getting an insane criminal out of the White House, seems likely to be accomplished. That is enough for right now.

Coronavirus Chronicles

Pre-Election Day Jitters


I know I am not the only one in distress. I have been grinding my teeth again and I have to take a Xanax to go to sleep at night.

Life right now in the U.S. feels like sitting in a hospital waiting room for hours to hear about a loved one in surgery. What is the chance of recovery? Are all our lives in this “family” going to change forever? I feel kind of numb. It felt familiar and I finally remembered when I had felt this way before. I don’t know how else to describe it. Sort of in shock, a bit of dread, but also hollowed out. I felt this way in the hospital waiting to hear about Sandy’s heart attack, Mama’s kidney infection, Daddy’s cancer.

Not panicked. Just…waiting. Waiting, thinking that surely the unthinkable will not happen, but knowing that it could.

I can’t not look tomorrow, or even today, even though I know from experience that the polls mean nothing.

Thirty minutes down the road from us, the police made international news for pepper spraying people in a permitted planned protest/walk to the polls event. Children were in the crowd. No one was violent except the police.

We will not be healed, not in my lifetime.

bloggy stuff, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Well, lookathere, it’s now Saturday afternoon. Time has been all whacked out during the pandemic. You would think that it would go more slowly, being mostly stuck at home, but instead it races.

I’ve been avoiding politics as much as I can make myself do it, and since hospitalizations are at a high with not many (or any) ICU beds available it has become time to really hunker down again. When I went to work yesterday I mostly closed my office door and had little contact with anybody, even at a masked distance. I plan to keep it that way for a while. I don’t think that we are going to do Thanksgiving, even. My brother-in-law is having heart surgery soon, and they need to be extra careful. I am still considering going down to the lake house but Sandy doesn’t want to go.

Twitler and Mikie and the Ratlickers have been hitting North Carolina hard this week and last, bringing more Covid to our state. North Carolina has always been a purple state. It’s been gerrymandered badly during the past decade so it has been a tough slog at the state level. We have a Dem governor and attorney general and a deeply red state legislature. The GOP is not even embarrassed at what they do to suppress the vote and get their people into power by any means necessary any more. So I am looking forward to getting my Social Security and getting the hell out of Dodge at age 62. Hopefully we can wait that long, and we will survive in good health that long. I spend a lot of time on ex-pat Portugal Facebook pages these days. It’s doable, but it’s gonna be rough on my anxiety and the cats.

On Election Night I am doing a Zoom meeting with some artist friends connected through Leighanna Light’s Facebook page, where we will all have some kind of creative work that we are individually doing and some emotional support. I expect that unless it is a landslide we will not know who won that night. Certainly it was a devastating surprise in the 2016 election the following day.

Anyway, another hurricane remnant came through this week: Tropical Storm Zeta. This one was fast and strong and blew out a lot of power in central/western NC. We had no problems. We seldom lose power in this house.

The other thing that happened was that I did an online chat with an Orbitz rep to ask some questions about my Aer Lingus credit, and it was good that I did, because they told me that it expired at the end of June and was surprised that someone from Orbitz told me differently. Fortunately I had enough misgivings that I had not booked our flight. Now it has been passed up another level and I might get a refund since I have documentation of the Orbitz rep saying that I had until Nov. 30.

That would be splendid if I get the money back.

On the tax refund front, however, we are still stuck with nobody to help. I think that when Kathy Manning gets elected to Congress and we actually have a Rep who might help us we will call her office. I highly doubt that Tea Party Ted could be bothered to help out a Dem/Independent couple. I would at least like to know if we should re-submit our tax return.

Still working on moving the Flickr photos over to WordPress and changing the links in my blog posts. That is a pretty tough job considering this blog has moved three times and I’ve been posting since 2005. However, on the second move I lost a LOT of posts because it was so boogered up on GoDaddy that I moved a lot of it manually, and in doing so I skipped a lot of the more mundane entries. I lost the links to a lot of my photos too. In the noughts I wrote a lot, often daily. I have been working on this project for a little more than a year, and plan to not pay Flickr anything come 2021. They became too expensive and I’d rather pay WordPress to host my photos. Then I ended up dealing with moving the Tapestry Weavers South mess of a web site and I lost a lot of time. At least it is on now where I can deal with both of them in much the same way.

Sandy has been doing a lot of handyman work around the house and it has been a very good thing. I got some more of the front porch painted but it was stormy this week and I have dealt with my mental health by spending a lot of time in bed, unfortunately.

Okay. Back to cleaning and a bit of art work. I finished The Good Lord Bird this week and it is a great book. Amazing that the subject of John Brown could be made so entertaining and funny. I want to read more James McBride. Right now I am sticking with mid-19th century U.S. historical fiction and starting Lincoln in the Bardo.