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Nov. 17th, 2015

more handwork

Thursday - Eye of Partridge scarf
Eye of partridge scarf

Friday - Hitchhiker
Hitchhiker scarf

This is one I've worn quite a bit.

Monday - Thistle & Bead shawl
Thistle & Bead shawl

This one's never been out of the house before. (Amanda, this is the blackberry yarn I got at our first Maryland Sheep & Wool, in what, 2008?)

And Tuesday - my woven Moebius cowl
Thistle & Bead shawl

And the back


I love this one. It's my first flyer at Saori weaving (though I was still pretty stuck on symmetry). I wove this on a rigid heddle loom, and when I got near the end, I un-reeled the beginning of the scarf, brought it around across the remaining warp, and wove the bottom fringe into the warp on the loom, to make a cowl. I was supposed to twist the fabric so it would be a true Moebius, but in my effort to keep everything at the right tension, I failed to twist. I also managed to get the fabric wrapped around the loom in such a way that I had to remove the cloth beam to get the cowl out of the loom. I understand that these errors are not uncommon when making these cowls, which is a comfort. It's always nice to know that my mistakes are not just my stupidity, but common results of the process.

David quit working at the Academy, hallelujah. He's already happier. I was meditating on my job situation this past weekend, while at a retreat, and suddenly this thought came to mind: "The path to happiness lies not in getting what you want, but wanting what you have." Okay, thanks for that reminder. For all my whining about this job, I've got it really good, and I should be grateful. I like my co-workers, they like me, the benefits are great, the pay is pretty high for this market, and they don't breathe down my neck. Attitude of gratitude!

Oct. 16th, 2015

It's that time of the year again: STATE FAIR!

This weekend, I'm going to Raleigh for two days of AA service meetings, in which I expect to get a lot of knitting done. I'm the alternate, so I don't vote, I just listen. If they elect me to the regular position next year, I'll have to vote. I'll still be knitting, though. Knitting keeps me from being sarcastic with people (out loud).

The service assembly gets out around noon on Sunday, and I'm going to the State Fair. I am so stoked. My birthday's next week, and I have work plus a guild meeting that night, so I'm celebrating my birthday on Sunday.

I so love going to the State Fair by myself. I can see all the animals, eat whatever I want, ride the Ferris Wheel and take pictures from the top, wind my way through the crowds, look at the Wonder Mops and the giant pumpkins, all that crap. With the cool weather, it's even better. After I've had as much Fair as I can stand, I'm going to see Mom and Phil, and we'll go out to dinner.

Speaking of birthdays, holy shit, I'm in my FIFTIES. I'm middle-aged. When did that happen? I still feel like I'm 24 inside (except for my hips, those traitors). Heh. Well, it still beats the alternative.

Oct. 12th, 2015

Sunday wtf

Yesterday, the weather was wonderful. Cool, clear, sunny, just perfect. I took Jake to the running trails on post. These trails are inside the fenced garrison area, but they allow hunting outside that area, and some people have very poor judgement about hunting (understatement of the year). Jake is not as big as a deer, but he's deer-colored, so he wore his hunting vest.

I wore a blaze orange hat that Dad sent me at least 15 years ago. I think it's the second time I've ever worn it.

There were no hunters, thank goodness, but there was a lot of automatic weapon activity on a nearby range. Jake was not happy about the gunfire, and stuck close by. I sure do love that dog. He's my buddy.

(Just because, here's George, being the cat loaf.)

After our hike, I decided to do some yard work. I made three garden beds in the yard last spring, and I was way too ambitious about it. In the heat of summer, I couldn't keep up with the weeding, and all the beds were completely overgrown. I transplanted some lily bulbs into a better position, moved the landscaping timbers, and mowed the rest. I did the same with my "herb" bed, entirely overgrown with weeds - I managed to spot and save a tarragon plant out of the entire thing. I moved that poor tarragon in between the two rose bushes, and mowed the rest of it down. I have to say, my roses have been blooming like it was their job. They smell heavenly, and I'm so happy. That was the best money I've spent of plants, ever. Anyway, that was quite a workout.

In the afternoon, I went to help a friend unload a U-Haul full of furniture. With a few helpers, we got it unloaded in record time. I managed to nearly knock myself out in such an elaborate way, I'm sure I couldn't do it on purpose. I'd picked up a heavy wood cabinet from a furniture dolly, then stepped on the dolly when trying to move forward, and fell to one knee, hitting my jaw on the cabinet. In the excitement of hitting myself in the jaw, I didn't notice that I also hit my arm, where there is a large and ugly bruise this morning. (There's no bruise on my jaw though, oddly enough.) You can just call me Grace from now on.

Sep. 11th, 2015

Fridays are fabulous once more

Fridays make me want to throw a parade. I'm in a terrible cycle of procrastination and semi-depression at work. I am not even mildly interested in this, and yet, here I am. Hey, at least I have a job. I've certainly had worse ones. (I really am trying to be positive about this. Being retired for six months just spoiled me.)

David is a whole new man since he left that crappy job. I'm actually happy to be around him most of the time. I know that sounds ugly, but the old David was obnoxious, and mean. I told him as much, and it seems to have made an impression.

Yesterday, I sat down and finished a project on the table loom that had languished since March. I had warped for a Saori class last October (!). At the class, I used the Saori loom for the class instead (and ended up getting one), but I still had the warp on my table loom. I decided to make two scarves at once with two different novelty yarns.


Naturally, this was a pain in the butt to weave, so it sat untouched for most of the year. (To say nothing of the other looms that were in use.) Anyway, I got that sucker off the loom last night. It had been so long, I honestly didn't recall how long the warp was, so I didn't know if I would have scarves or what. As it turned out, both are at least five feet long, so they are scarves. I tied the fringe, but still need to trim it. Part of the reason I wanted to get that done is to warp the thing for the next project I have waiting for it. What can I say? I'm fickle.

Aug. 31st, 2015

Meanwhile, back at work

So, now that I'm back full time, I've been decorating my office. This painting was in my mother in-law's house for years. We put it up in the Carolina House when she lived there, and I got it when she died. It was in my home office/studio for a long time, but Mom gave me another painting I wanted to put in its place, so I brought it to work. Everyone loves it.


I made the cross-stitch on the left in 1996, framed it in 2004, and had it here most of the time I worked here before. When I came back full time, I brought it back. The crewel work piece on the right I found at the flea market yesterday for $8!, so I bought it and brought it in. The serenity prayer is nice, if edited to fit, but the design is gorgeous. I've always loved birch trees.


I taught my last aqua bike and aqua aerobics classes on Saturday. Cue the celestial choir! One of my students gave me a hug, isn't that sweet? I plan to go back to taking classes and enjoying it again.

Tonight, my dad got tickets to see Keb Mo in concert, so I'm driving up there to meet him and take him there. I'm looking forward to it, though it's a lot of driving. I was just there yesterday, too. Hey, it's worth it, especially for a free concert!

Aug. 25th, 2015

Between the World and Me

Today was my last 6 am aqua bike class. I have two more classes Thursday evening and two Saturday morning and then I am DONE. I detest those bikes. I teach it, I'm cheerful about it, I won't miss it at all. I could teach regular aqua aerobics all day long, but the bikes, no. Anyway, I'm too damn busy to have a second job, so that's that.

Last month in Asheville, I bought a copy of "Between the World and Me," by Ta-Nehisi Coates‎. I've read him online for a few years - he writes for The Atlantic, and I've enjoyed his style. I toted this book around for a while, and finally read it Sunday in the Memphis airport. "Between the World and Me" is deeply disturbing, distressing, and utterly true. Destroying black people is not racism, it's our heritage in the US, and the police officers doing this are not rogues, they are carrying out policy. I came close to tears several times. Over the course of four hours, I read the first section, took a break, then read the rest. It's that good.

It's in the form of a letter to his son, explaining the life of a black person in this country, and he himself came to understand his reality and that of those around him. It's fascinating, and scary, and beautiful.

I highly recommend it.

Aug. 24th, 2015


Man, I've been racing around lately. In early July, I went to Atlanta for the International AA Convention. In late July, I went to Philadelphia with David for a job fair. The next week, I went to Asheville for a workshop, and went to Raleigh for the state AA Convention right afterward. Two weeks later, I spent a week in New Hampshire. Last Friday, I went to Memphis for a regional AA conference. Next weekend, I go to Raleigh for another AA conference. I can't recall the last time I mowed the grass. It's been crazy. After this weekend, though, it's done for a while, at least.

When Mom and I went to Harrisville Designs for the ColorPlay class, we drove up. That was tiring, because the two of us have the worst possible sense of direction. It was amazing that we arrived. Coming home, we thought we would never escape from New Jersey. Anyway, after the class got out on Friday, we drove to see some family friends in CT. They have a house on a lake, very pretty. They also had a loom they wanted to get rid of. ~ hand shoots up in the air ~ Happily, that old loom slid right into the back of Mom's car, and came home with me. It's up on blocks like an old car in the carport, because it gets wet in there when it rains. If I ever see a Saturday in my own house again, well, okay, in a couple of weeks, I will tackle the clean up and refurbishing on the loom. (To those who might ask, why don't I work on it during the week? It's a frigging sauna here right now. I work outside between 8 and 10 am, or not at all. Heh. Damn Yankee, that's me.)

It's a 40" wide 4 harness Harrisville loom made in 1983, and it's been in a garage for a couple of years. It needs some Murphy's Oil Soap, some sandpaper, and a lot of new cords. It probably needs new heddles, too. Even the apron bars are rusted. Steel wool to the rescue! Anyway, those things are about $2500 new, so even with the elbow grease, I'm getting a bargain. Once I get the thing back into commission, I'm going to make a throw for the lovely person who was so happy to find a new home for her loom. She's a peach!

David is out of his old job, and an entirely happier person these days, hallelujah. The study materials have arrived for the new stuff, and let me just say Yikes, but it's only a phase. Once he gets through that, he will be on to newer and better things.

Finally, I have given notice at the gym, and this week is my last week teaching aqua bike and aqua aerobics. I never minded the latter, but the damn bikes are killing me, and I can't WAIT to be done. Saturday morning is IT. Sayonara, bikes. No love. I'll go back to taking the classes instead of teaching. Much better.

Aug. 7th, 2015

Back to the ol' grind

So, I'm going to go back to working full time here at the AHEC. I'm not even a little bit excited about it - it's dull, rote work. However, the pay's pretty good, working conditions are good, and I know that I get along with everyone here. This is a valuable commodity in Fayetteville, where we have a large captive workforce. (When I left in December, they got scores of applications for my low-level administrative job, including people with PhDs. So sad.)

The reason I'm going back to work is that David's leaving his current job, and getting into a new one that won't pay as well to start. His current job is a soul-sucking disaster, that pays so well, he's put up with it WAY longer than I would. They call that golden handcuffs, and it's accurate. I'm glad he's leaving there, he's miserable and I'm over it. Also, he needs to get out of the damn house. He spends too much time in the right-wing echo chamber of the internet.

I've applied for other positions, and in fact, I have a response from one recruiter, who asked me to follow a link for an on-line application. The link doesn't work, and I've tried it in three browsers. Their server doesn't respond. I replied to the email to let them know. It might be a bad sign.

I also applied for a manager position here, but another person got it. That was disappointing, to say the least, but that also illustrates how many really talented people in Fayetteville are stuck here working for an hourly wage. Since I have a BA (thanks, Aunt Jean!) and worked here for almost ten years, I make more than most. Man, the economy might be improving (from the wreckage of the Bush era), but not for us common folk.

I did not watch the GOP debates last night, as I'd rather not have a stroke. The lying and blatant pandering makes me bellow at the tv, and it's upsetting to the dog. (The cat just ignores me, as cats do.) I have very little hope for politicians in general, and mainly wish they'd all shut up and do their damn jobs. Sadly, they view their job as a) do whatever the campaign donors say, and b) get re-elected. Representing their district is way down on the list of things to do.

When I was living in Syracuse, I had two friends whose voting philosophies were opposite, but equal. Tracey disliked watching or reading the news, so she would ask me who to vote for each year. (Doubled my vote, hey!) Fred felt that both parties are just two sides of the same coin, and paid for by the same people, so voting is a waste of time. I'm starting to see Fred's point. The right wing has pushed politics so far right that these days, the center is to the right of Eisenhower.

It's all very discouraging.

May. 25th, 2015

Memorial Day

Thank you seems like a lame thing to say to all the people who have died in service to our country. What else is there to say? Thank you, Captain John Ryan Dennison, for being killed in the prime of your life in Iraq. As Patton said, let the other guy die for his country. I wish we didn't have to have wars, but it seems that it will always be with us. David, meeting a pacifist who claimed that war never solved anything, replied, "Yes, except for slavery, facism, communism, and Nazism." Not a small detail.

Since last I wrote, I've taken a couple of weaving workshops, done a lot of AA service work, and taught a lot of aqua aerobics classes. I keep my calendar full, but today I have nothing scheduled until 6:30 tonight. David is peacefully playing some video game on his phone, and I am futzing around on the computer. I may venture forth later to buy some curtains. My rose bush is blooming again/still, the nasturtiums are blooming, the peas are coming in, and the lilies are covered with buds. I planted a dogwood, but it seems to have died directly. Damn it.

Last week, my old job called to say that two people were leaving at once, and would I work part-time on a temporary basis. I agreed, and will start on June 1. Because one of the people leaving is my former supervisor, I think they'd just like to have someone around with some institutional memory of the department. I told them that I have a lot of travel already scheduled, and I will need to work around it. Anyway, I will get to test my theory that I could do that job in two hours a day. Once you get the system in place, it's pretty easy to manage. I hope the system's still there.

Mar. 7th, 2015

Almost daylight savings time?

Tomorrow, we spring forward. Unlike most people, daylight savings time does not make me mad or even inconvenience me in any way, and I fail to appreciate the biannual histrionics. For heavens' sake, people, this has happened twice a year for your entire damn lives, get over it already. I may be a little unsympathetic.

Last month, I took a weaving class as an advanced beginner. I learned quite a few things, and got some new weaving tools, and I'm looking forward to using them. One is a kit to convert my four treadle loom to six treadles, and that will be a big project. I look forward to getting that done, and winding on and warping again. I wound three warps at the class, and threaded and rethreaded several times. The last three times, I had no threading errors, which is unprecedented. Practice is a good thing!

This weekend, I'm staying with my dad while mom is out of town. It's a low-key commitment - his aide is doing all the heavy lifting. We mostly hang out with our respective electronics. I met up with my cousin and his kids today. (Anonymous because I'm sure my cousin would prefer it that way.) I got a tee shirt for the boy and a box of cute candy bunnies for the girl, and they were both thrilled. They are great kids, and I always enjoy seeing the whole family. While I'm at mom's, I'm developing a relationship with their new kitten, Annie. She was cool at first, but after a few days of dishing out the wet food, she's warming up to me.

Look at those crazy whiskers! Man, I need a kitty at home.

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