I still have a few blog posts to do about the Portugal trip, but it is time for a coffee pot post.
It is an absolutely beautiful day, a rare day in the low 80s with low humidity. I’m going to do some yard work. It’s a mess in the back. It grew lush while we were gone, and our yard guy was waiting for us to get back. Then he got Covid. Hopefully he will be able to mow on Tuesday, but meanwhile, my fig tree has exploded and the branches are covering my elderberry bush and raspberry canes, and the blueberry bush (not that the birds ever leave any ripe ones!) is covered in ornamental grapevine and pokeberries have grown up huge and stout. So I will try to take care of those issues. I think that I need to move the elderberry and raspberry.
Just heard some good news from one of my neighbors. There is a huge old loblolly pine tree in front of his house that by now has to be one of the oldest trees in the neighborhood. It must be at least one hundred years old. It has survived all kinds of hurricanes, microbursts, and tornadic windstorms when most of the other trees on the street did not. They have been pressured by some of their other neighbors to take it down because people around here don’t know the difference between a loblolly and white pine and they are terrified of a pine’s potential to fall on their house. So they finally applied to the city to take it down. The College Hill Historic District Association turned it down.
Way back when I first started this blog, I was livid when my next door neighbor cut down all the beautiful loblolly pines in her back yard. I did not get the city notice in time to oppose it. The city arborist misidentified them as white pines and admitted that he didn’t know much about pines (!!!). We used to own that property and I had a real attachment to those pines, and they shaded the house that I moved into. Once I watched one of them bend nearly in half during a tornadic storm and it popped back with no damage! This is the sister of those pines. It would have to be a really strong tornado to take this old girl down. I had considered looking for one of her seedlings to plant. Maybe I will still do that.
Sandy wants to go to the Parisian Promenade at a lovely park in Greensboro today, and usually I would want to, but we would have to ride a shuttle to get there and people around here have mostly abandoned wearing masks, even at our co-op. The main reason is that after the hell we went through in Portugal with him needing to sit down every five minutes or less, I’m not anticipating any pleasure in accompanying him through a long afternoon where seating will be scarce. We have folding chairs, but they are too heavy to carry far and there won’t be parking at the park.
So, this is a segue into the mood that I’ve been in this past week. Sandy is flat out saying that he did not like Portugal now. I know that he enjoyed the interactions that he had with people other than me – he loves meeting new people and we did a lot of that. But he was in a lot of pain from DAY ONE, and I think that colored everything from then on out. He bitched about the food almost daily. I think that there may have been about six meals that he didn’t complain about during the whole 17 days, and four of those were not at Portuguese restaurants. I usually tasted a bite of his food, and except for the pink spaghetti travesty, there was never anything wrong with it. I honestly think that it was his pain speaking, but after all the time I put into planning this trip, to say that it was a disappointment is an understatement. And that was not because of Portugal.
I have been moving back and forth between denial and sorrow and anger and deep, deep depression since we have been home, and I’ll be glad to go to therapy on Tuesday. This may be another of my big dreams killed and with the downward spiral of civilization and the rise of fascism in the United States, I don’t know what we’ll do. He is a very sick man, even though he is in denial about it. Everyone keeps asking me how it was and when we’ll move to Portugal, and I don’t know what to say. I have to have him on board for this move because we will have to get rid of most of our stuff and sell the house. I liked Portugal very, very much and I really want to leave the United States soon while we still can. If we have to stay here, it will not be terrible though. Greensboro is a great town, we live on a great street, and I love this front porch.
The cancellation of Focus on Book Arts while I was gone was another huge disappointment because it was probably the last chance I had to go. I was also pissed off because I don’t understand why they didn’t send out emails to their list warning people that they may have to cancel it for low enrollment unless people who planned to go registered right away. We had bought non-refundable plane tickets with travel insurance, but insurance doesn’t cover cancellation of an event. So one of us is not going and Susan and I are still going to go play in Portland for six days. There are other art retreats. FOBA had doubled its prices anyway.
The refund from FOBA pays for my AirBNB in Portland and a bit more, so I remembered that Dan Essig was teaching his wooden/mica book class again at Pocosin Arts, about a five hour drive from here near the Outer Banks. I’ve taken it before, but that actually makes it perfect. I’m going to tell him that I’d like to concentrate on doing wooden and mica covers – I can always bind them at home. I signed up for it and the cheapest accommodation (a shared room with four bunk beds) and I’m going to do what we had planned to do at FOBA for meals: buy good bread, cheese, fruit, almond butter, and beer. and make my own meals in the kitchen there. Eat some seafood in a restaurant outside and get Mexican take-out now and then. And spend a glorious week on my own, just concentrating on making books and not worrying about anybody else or travel glitches or decision making that involves others. There is not much to do at work in June, which is why I usually take a lot of vacation from May-July.
Next year at this time, if all goes well, I will be retired from UNCG. I may go out and get a part-time job somewhere, but that is still the plan. Or I may run away and disappear into the wilderness, become a cave woman or a deer child. Time will tell.