Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gorge on Life!

Do you guys watch the show A Chef's Life? Its my new favorite show on PBS. On one episode, her husband claimed she was "gorging on life".  I love that expression. I think we should all be gorging on life, we only get one after all. Why not gorge away!?

 Life is good these days. Gerry and I worked in the yard a bit this week, getting ready to start some early greens for the garden. Tatsoi, spinach, kale, and some lettuces. We have a nice little space now for starting seeds and getting seedlings ready for outside.

Gerry turned over the compost and the chickens deigned him worm God :) They feasted on fat earthworms, they are not vegan chickens. The soil is so rich from all of the chicken poo we have been adding to the compost bin.

Three of my work mates. We stopped by the store today to pick up some supplies for seed starting and I shot this pic. These are three of the smartest guys I have ever known. Left to right, Adam is an organic farmer and knows anything and everything you could ever possibly need to know about organic gardening, growing, soil amendments.... He is a walking garden encyclopedia. Gerry took a winter gardening workshop with him and it is now paying off in wonderful winter greens for the table. Ethan in the middle is our brew master. If there is anything at all you could ever need to know about brewing beer, ales, cider, mead..... he knows it. Its scary how much knowledge is stored in his brain :)  Sean, on the right started about the same time I did. Economics major at UNC (smart), track star, and one of the sweetest kids I have ever known. Also brilliant.

I feel so lucky to have this job. We got in the car after shopping and Gerry said, "that is the coolest store ever". He is so right. A huge order was being unloaded from the warehouse truck when we got there, everyone was busting it to get the truck unloaded, merchandise checked in and at the same time helping customers. All of it done with laughter and joking and knowledge and just plain having fun.  I really don't know a lot of places where work is this much fun. I am blessed.

Morning Tea

A new cookbook from my pottery pal Barbara and my violets continue to bloom

New batch of kombucha bottled

 Monday, Wesley and Lazarus came home and we went to the Carolina Theater to see the movie Wise Blood with a commentary by Lucinda Williams at the end. My friend Barbara came with us. The film is an adaptation of Flannery O'Connor's book. Barbara did her doctorate on Flannery O'Connor and her photographs were used in the opening credits of the movie. Her name was on the credit roll at the end. Very proud of her! We picked Barbara up early and she had prepared a beer tasting for us, Scottish Ale, appropriate since she is a Scot. The beer, Old Chub, was quite good. Barbara showed Wes and Laz her Flannery photos and gifted one of them to Lazarus. Now they both have signed Barbara McKenzie photos of Flannery O'Connors south. They are over the moon with joy for these photos they now have. Both huge Flannery fans.

I think a bit over the moon for each other too. Peas in a pod. What an adorable couple they are. Wesley wasn't feeling so great and got worse as the evening progressed, so we missed most of Lucinda Williams. I got to hear her sing one song and then we left. I love Lucinda but my kid comes first and she was not in great shape. We got home, and by the time I got upstairs she was throwing up. Lazarus was by her side. Now that'a a man to hold on to! I made her some ginger tea and left her with Lazarus, she was in good hands.....  I am so happy she has found someone that seems to really care about her. This has been a good year for her. She too is finally gorging on life.

So things are great here on our little two acre patch of land. The weather has sucked most days, gray, wet, cold. But we get out in it anyway and make the best of it. There have been a few nice sunny days, but right now, sleet is falling. 

My chickens crack me up every day. What did I do before I had them, I wonder? I reckon I found something else to laugh at :)

Peace y'all

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Blue Sunday

The sun finally decided to peek out today, it warmed the Earth, it made the sky so blue and it felt good. I had Sunday brunch with some art pals today at Motorco in Durham. They don't like it when I post photos of them, so here are some arms and legs..... and empty Bloody Mary glasses :)

My very talented friends. All clay artists, two are also painters, one is a creative director, a writer..... so much talent squeezed together in a tiny yellow booth. Laughter, memories of family, friends, drugs we used to do, ha! It was a good day. The bartender must have known we could handle a glass half full of vodka! Went so well with breakfast tacos, not a better brunch anywhere!

 I went to the Shambhala Center before we all met, tried to meditate, found myself to antsy to sit still. My feet fell asleep and felt like pins were sticking in them, the guy behind me thought he was supposed to do some fancy breathing, I wanted to turn around and ask him not to breathe. I wasn't in the spirit of compassion and Shambhala apparently, so I said a prayer for my family, some friends who are suffering loss and then went into the library and had some tea instead. Read a book about Shambhala. It was still nice and I felt calm and peaceful and reminded to show kindness to those who don't necessarily show kindness to me....

We took a little walk around the area near Motorco. A building that used to house a clay studio, an art space and a metalworks studio has been demolished to build a newer better thing. Someone smart and clever has salvaged the facades to incorporate into the new construction. Love this use of old for the new to come.

I have my loom dressed and now trying to decide, blue or brown..... I used the little loom Wesley gave me to sample a blue one. I like blue....  there's Anna Branner's little cup inspiring me and making me smile.

I have lots of blue rag strips, so maybe blue it is. Hard to decide..... maybe blue since it was such a blue day today.

ahhh...... as good a day as it was, when I got home I got the news that another too young to die friend of ours passed away in the night. 50 years old. Too many of these calls this past year. Another heart attack. A bad one. He didn't make it.
People, take care of your hearts! They will attack you if you aren't kind to them, and when they do it's a mother.

Life is fleeting and uncertain. I am so thankful for blue Sundays.......

Friday, January 16, 2015


Two blogger friends have posts today of a mom's passing. Another blogger has posted of her mom's illness and her caring for her. Gerry and I have both struggled this past year with our mom's hospital and nursing home stays, and I know many others who read my blog have also been dealing with these same issues over the past year.

In the months before my dad died, this is where he would go, to the beach. Every day. He would take bread and throw it to the seagulls. I didn't go with him one time. I have so many regrets from that time when he was dying of cancer. I had a new baby. I couldn't deal with his dying. I guess I did the best I could at the time. I guess we all do the best we can when a parent is dying. And they understand. They are our parent after all......

To those of you saying goodbye to loved ones, thoughts and prayers are with you today.....


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Still cold and quiet

 It's still cold, icy, wet, dark......
I don't mind it so much. Today I woke to a quiet, dark house. The cat wanted out. She has started sleeping with me. She's old, she wants to be next to me all the time. Gerry left before daylight so he could get to Raleigh to shoot the opening day of the legislature. I had the house to myself all day.

I started the day bottling my first batch of Kombucha. I gave it a taste before carbonation, it's really good. I'm excited to be making it and not spending $3.50 a bottle at Weaver St. anymore. I got these bottles at work. So cool.

I watered my growing collection of houseplants. I'm transplanting and cloning and adopting from work. Most of the plants I have are beneficial to the air, thank you plants!

I rescued these succulents from my mom's house where they were dying a sad death. How anyone can kill a succulent? Don't get me started.....

I put on a pot of vegetable soup, used tomatoes that I canned earlier in the summer from the farmer's market. I mixed up a batch of artisan bread. Love that recipe. Gave up on my sourdough starter. What a pain in the ass. No thanks. The artisan bread batch I keep in the frig is so much easier.
We had soup and fresh bread for supper, the house smells like winter.

I also took a deep breath and dove into warping my loom. I had all day with nothing pressing that had to be done. When has that happened in like.... a year?!  I did math. It went well. I used this beautiful ivory cotton for my warp. I'm going to make myself a small rug. Just because..... I never make myself anything and I don't even want to travel down that selling road right now. You know that road. How much did this cost me to make? How much time did it take? I will NEVER get paid what this is worth in time and materials. Why am I doing this? Who will I sell it to? What if no one likes it? How many will I have to make/sell to make a decent income?  Oh no, no, no, not right now. I gotta job, thanks. This is going to be a hobby just for me, just because. 

I miss this one. Just home from California in this photo, caught in a quiet thought, having tea. She texted me today, she starts her documentary class tonight. 5 months until graduation......

It was a nice day. Hibernation. Renewal. Quiet.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cold and Quiet

The days have been dreary this week. Cold, rain, dark, grey. I have finally put away all of the Christmas decorations. I left up the white lights on the mantle and around the windows by our kitchen table to add some coziness to the winter quiet.  I am consuming large amounts of hot tea and coffee to stay warm and stay awake during these dark days. Even with that, I find myself falling asleep on the sofa by mid afternoon on some days.

Wesley has gone back to school. The house is so still and quiet without her here to talk with. We had a few bumpy days, trying out this new path we are beginning. She will be here less, she is venturing out to find her life, and I am finding my place in a life with her here less and less. Fortunately we can talk honestly and openly with each other and we parted in a happy and peaceful place. We are both growing and finding out new things about ourselves. As it should always be.......

The cold and the quiet makes me want to weave. It's the getting started though.... the math.... ugh. I want to make a rug. Begin.......

The quiet has also brought with it book reading. I have a new find. I like reading short stories. I never have before. But Lazarus gave me a book of Flannery O'Connor short stories for Christmas and I really liked reading it. Just a quick story I can complete before bed, or in the car while waiting on something...... not so involved as a long novel that I can't ever seem to finish anymore. Having read the Flannery book, I recalled buying Accidental Birds of the Carolinas a while back. Honestly, I bought it for the cover. I was into birds nests with my clay work at the time and bought it for inspiration. I tried reading it, but didn't quite get the short story thing at the time. I wasn't ready. I have picked it up again, and I really like it now. Funny how our tastes change.....

 I also bought a new blank journal for my leather binder and I am trying to write down a few thoughts each day. Maybe things that really don't belong on a blog, or maybe just the weather report. I like writing in a journal. Wesley has kept them since she was a little girl. She has boxes full of them. I found some that I kept a while back and read back through them. Things haven't changed much, ha!

I gave myself a little gift over the holidays. We sell Guy Wolff pottery where I work and I like his pots a lot. I bought this tiny one and an African Violet. My grandmother grew the most beautiful violets you have ever seen She kept them on a back porch and every time anyone came to see her, she would take you outside to show you her violets and she would pet them and just preen over them. She could take a leaf, stick it in some soil and they would grow into beautiful new plants. I have never had any success with them. I think I tried too hard. I wanted so much to grow them like her. Then I gave up. But we have healthy beautiful violets at the store and so I decided to try again, armed with new knowledge of how to care for them. So far so good, and I bought another. I also am trying my luck at propagating the leaves. I have about a dozen under a dome with light on them. Fingers crossed.....

Scott Garrett had a post about fermenting today, so this is for him. I made a batch of kimchi and I think it is just about ready. I have also started a batch of Kombucha. Do you know Kombucha? It is my new favorite drink and I am hoping it is as beneficial as everyone claims it to be. We sell kombucha scoby starters and its just one more thing I can now talk with customers about with some knowledge. I learn by doing and feel like I actually know what I'm talking about if I have done it myself. I'm going to pick up some bottles and try bottling this batch. Hoping for no explosions during the carbonation!

Work continues to be great. I learn something new every time I am there. I meet the most interesting characters. Hydroponics and home-brew make for some unique individuals. I seem to fit right in :)

I cleaned up my blog roll the other day, deleting blogs that are no longer active. What a shame, I deleted 14 potters blogs. Some of them used to be such good reads and I learned so much from them. Oh well, I have new interests, have moved on. I added a few cooking blogs that I like, exploring more vegan options and a couple of plant care blogs. I find I am looking in other areas of interest for blog reading and there are some great ones. The pottery blogs I once loved reading are being replaced by more interesting things these days. There are some great blogs out there and far more in depth and interesting than Facebook. Still finding that I have not missed a thing by staying off of that bandwagon. And it gives me more time for reading short stories and fermenting!

peace y'all

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Spiritual Healing

The Prayer of Saint Francis 

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

I'm not a big fan of organized religion. If you take a look at the state of the world, many of the conflicts of today and years past are born of religion. I don't agree with most religious zealots. I could write pages on my views of this confusing topic, but I'll save it for some other day.....

I am, however, a fan of spirituality and care for the spirit. I am a fan of compassion and kindness towards other human beings. A fan of justice and equality.

When I woke up the first morning at my mom's house, the sun was streaming in through the beveled glass on her front door and it created a rainbow on her bible that was placed on the table. Every Christmas she opens her bible to Luke and the story of Jesus' birth, and on this morning, there on the pages of the Christmas story was a rainbow. Do you believe in signs?

These are some of the pills my mom takes with her morning coffee. While I'm practicing spiritual healing, she is downing every pill the stupid doctors will dole out to her. This is her healing, when in fact every one of these pills causes yet another side effect she has to go get treated. And with what do they treat these symptoms? Why of course, another pill! She ended up in the hospital this past week because one of the pills she was taking had lowered her potassium and caused irregular heartbeats, and they sent her home with a bag full of new pills to adjust the potassium and thin her blood.  God Almighty!!!!! When is the medical industry going to stop killing all of us?

The United States consumes more prescription drugs than any other country in the world and we are one of the sickest nations, we also have the wealthiest medical and pharmaceutical industries in the world. Here, let us make you sick with our pills then try to get you well with more pills. I'm sick to death of these pharma giants and their greed at the expense of human life.

This girl is responsible for me coming home with my sanity. She was like a guardian angel, watching for signs of a meltdown, being there to help me get through the crazy that is my mom. The manipulations came, the baiting, the pity parties, the tears (not mine). Wesley watched me and jumped in when she felt it was necessary. We went to the beach. The ocean heals me, it always has. The weather was warm, the water sparkled, the beach was quiet, the seagulls called to us. Peace......

Wesley with her dad's old film camera. What a beautiful sight to see. I remember Gerry holding this camera. Developing his film in the darkroom. Making great photos for the newspaper with this camera.

We went for walks on the beach, walked in the pine forest behind my mom's house. We sat by the pool and read. We did not go to the hospital. We helped my step father. He is an amazing man, so kind and compassionate, and he understands what I go through. I was there as much for him as anything. We waited for him to bring her home. Then it all began. My payback for not going there for Christmas.......... I know now how to protect my spirit, so I'm ok. I found myself breathing deeply this afternoon and I thought of all of you that have left posts, saying, just breathe. So right, breathing deeply is healing.

Also, here is a funny thing we did every day for a laugh when we needed one. I heard this guy on The People's Pharmacy the other day say that you should do at least one full push up each day, get up and say out loud, "I'm Awesome". I was telling Wes about this and so we decided to give it a go. I barely could do one, but the next day, tried again, did two. This morning Wesley did 10! Each time we did it, and then said, "I'm awesome",  we collapsed in giggles. Try it, it really does make you feel good :) but do it with someone, its more fun!

There was a day when I would have come here to my blog and ranted for pages about what happened this week. I would be sick right now, stressed, crying, angry. I don't need to purge that anymore, because I deflected everything that came at me. I only want happy right now. I'm in a good place and don't feel like a rant about anything these days. I don't allow the manipulation. I protect myself from it now.  I didn't always do that. I didn't know how. I didn't know I was allowed to. I know now.

Someone that has all that my mom has should be happy. She's not. I feel sorry for her. Her beautiful home a block from the ocean, her wonderful husband, her clothes, her jewelry, her grandchild, her belongings...... still unhappy and needy for attention.  Damn y'all, what do you reckon it takes to make someone like that happy, I wonder?

So, peace.....
happy thoughts

Sunday, January 4, 2015

So this is Christmas.........

Keeping it real, yo..... I really do not like this holiday! I respect the birth of Jesus and what this season is supposed to be about, but this is not what I signed up for!

Wesley and I sat in her bed today and cried together. We cried for many reasons, we talked, we laughed, we cried some more. This is the season for tears for many of us I'm afraid. It's a sad year for Gerry as he watches his mother slip farther and farther from him. He watches as his dad can't deal with the enormity of it all. Ger bought his mom an iPod shuffle after seeing a documentary of how music was awakening memories for dementia patients. We took it to her on Christmas eve. He put on it Christmas carols and her favorite gospel songs and songs from her past that might trigger memories. We watched as her eyes darted around, her mind woke up, she started clapping her hands, tapping her feet, then moving her legs, then remembering things. She enjoyed it and we enjoyed watching her. She smiled and joked and for just a moment we saw her come back briefly. She looked at Gerry and said "you are the cutest thing I have ever seen". 
But we had to leave, I don't know if anyone has bothered to put her headphones on since that day. 

I made the mistake of telling my mom about all of this two days ago, after not going to her house for Christmas. And so what do you think? Today I called her house and her husband was just getting home from taking her to the hospital. But, here's a big surprise, the doc could find nothing wrong with her. Perhaps he should talk to me.......

So, tomorrow Wesley and I are going to drive to the beach and go see what's up at the hospital, after nearly getting through this month without an epic. We almost made it.........  lord have mercy.......

Friday, January 2, 2015

and another new year......

Do you have the traditional New Year's meal at your house? The ham hock thing, the black eyed peas, collards, cornbread? I would guess if you live in the south you do this. Maybe even in other parts as well. I have a vegetarian and a vegan living with me, so things have to get adjusted a bit with this menu. 

Yesterday, to keep myself busy while I waited on Wesley's plane to arrive, I made a pot of black eyed peas, using home made vegetable stock instead of the ham or bacon seasoning. Just as good. I have also got a sourdough starter going and made sourdough bread, although I'm not a fan of kneading bread for 15 minutes and I think I am going to ditch the sour dough for my tried and true artisan bread recipe that is quick and easy and way better tasting. 

To change things up a bit from the traditional new year's menu, I made a kale salad from this recipe We went to Pizzeria Toro with our friends Bob and Laura the other night and they had the most amazing kale salad. I came home and searched for a recipe that would come close, this one is it, although if you make it, cut back on the lemon juice a tad bit. 

I also googled around for some interesting new year's meals and found this noodle bowl recipe:
It was really yummy! Try it!

Laura gave me a new beer cozy, how do you like it? Cute, right? So, dinner was great, Wesley is home from California, all snug in her bed right now. The house is quiet, Gerry went climbing with some old climbing buddies today, (one of them in his 70's, go Dawson!). I'm having coffee in a new mug from my pal Meredith, the chickens are squawking their news of eggs they just laid, they are always so proud of this achievement. I'm enjoying the last of our Christmas tree here in the quiet of the morning. The tree is dry and the branches drooping farther and farther to the ground, it will have to come down this weekend. 

I called my mom yesterday. Her voice sounded very weak and her breath labored. I will have to go down next week. I know me not coming around for Christmas has made her sad, but you make your bed, and you lie in it. I have to guard my sanity so my family doesn't suffer the agony of my issues with this holiday. All I can say is thank God another Christmas is past and I have a whole year before I have to face another one. 

One last thought..... iPad Insomnia. Yep. I have it. I haven't slept more than two or three hours a night in over two years. I have been reading about how the iPad/iphone light can disrupt sleep patterns so I started leaving my iPad downstairs at night. I usually take it to bed with me and read for awhile. Instead I have been taking a book that Lazarus gave me to bed and reading that. Guess what? I have slept for five nights in a row, all night. Whoop! Sleep! what a wonderful thing it is! I am still waking at 4am to let the cat out, then the hateful neighbor's rooster starts crowing at 5am, but still. I sleep from 11pm-4am. Thats a bunch of sleep when you haven't had any in a long time. After five nights of sleep I took my iPad to bed again, and I didn't sleep all night, tossed and turned. Me and my iPad are breaking up. Its just going to be my day friend now. 

I hope all of you had a fun New Year's celebration. Here we go, another one..... 2015. Are you ready?


Thursday, January 1, 2015

The promise of a new year

Yesterday on New Year's Eve, I drove to Asheboro to have lunch with my good friend Meredith from Whynot Pottery.  Many of you that know Meredith have met her through our blogging and you know that she is like a warm and cozy blanket that just wraps around you with comfort and ease. We don't see each other that often, but when we do, its a great visit. We had lunch at one of my favorite places, The Table. Meredith is like my own personal therapist. We have very parallel lives and she gets what I'm saying, 100%. Its so great to to have a friend like that.

Monday night, Gerry and I had dinner with some other good friends. It is so hard this time of year to fit in all of the invites and parties and visiting with friends. Gerry and I are not much into the party thing and rarely show up for one, but we do like to have a great meal with friends. I feel very blessed to have these friends to share a meal and good conversation with. 

This is what I hope for the new year. Time with friends. Good food, healthy family, laughter, happiness.

Last night I was going to write a post about my new year's resolutions. I sat here at the computer and tried to come up with something, all the time wondering why we wait until the first day of a new year to make promises and or changes for ourselves. Why not make a change on August 5th, or June 18th. Why wait until a new year begins? 

I couldn't think of anything I want to resolve to do differently. I even looked at other blogs and tumblr to see what others were doing that I might do also. Nothing...... I already eat as well as I am going to. Yep, I have a meltdown every now and then and stop at the Sonic drive through for a footlong hotdog with chili and mustard and a large Dr. Pepper. Yes, I eat chocolate for breakfast and that is not going to change. But I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, I have kept off most of the weight I lost doing Weight Watchers and I feel good. I exercise when the mood strikes, but I am active most all the time. I will never stick to a disciplined exercise routine, why resolve to do it now? I don't take medications. I have a new job I love. My family and friends are well. So what do I put on my list?

This time last year, we were anticipating the arrival of the monks. Their stay with us last February taught me a lot about compassion and kindness, and if I were to make a list of resolutions, I think it would be to behave more like my friends Tashi and Jamphel. Whenever I find myself judging someone or thinking an unkind thought, I think of the monks and how they would act. Maybe I will resolve to be more like them.....

This was the sky yesterday in Asheboro. It was a clear blue, not a cloud around, then the planes showed up, then the sky filled with clouds of odd formations, just out of nowhere, forming from the contrails of the planes. 
This happens frequently over our house. No one believes me. I'm not making it up. We can sit on the porch and watch it happen.

I don't know..... just sayin'....... 

I hope everyone has a fantastic 2015. What do you resolve to do this year?

peace y'all