Thursday, October 8, 2015

Tossing Things, Keeping Memories

In an effort to get more storage space in my small house, I've been sorting through old things and getting rid of stuff. Well, some stuff.
Not this blanket. It was made for me when I was a little girl. Perhaps I posted about it before? It's beautifully hand-stitched.

It's in such pretty shape because (honestly) it wasn't my favorite blanket, so I didn't use it much. But because of its handmade beauty, I kept it.
Then there's my Kitty-Cat Blanket, also hand-made. My mother could tell you who made both of these. I can't remember ... some dear old ladies in Charleston, West Virginia, either family members or precious friends.

It's a wee bit tattered and stained, but not in bad shape for over 50 years old. Of course, I'd never part with this one either.
However, there's another blanket, a store-bought blanket. I'm embarrassed to show it. I remember my parents taking me to the store to pick it out. I was three years old. Oh, how I loved the fake quilted pattern! I slept with it every night until it had its own special smell. (haha!)
I slept with it till I wore a big hole right in the middle!
It's a full-sized double blanket, but I kept it (didn't use it, mind you) for FORTY-NINE years, in a little trunk, hauling it from house to house. Eighteen moves in twenty-six years.
Well, at last, it was time to say good-bye to the blanket. First, I cut off a good-sized square from one corner. I'll hem it and make a small doll blanket with it. It has almost no holes (heehee!!)
I'm such a sap. But really, folks, these items have some kind of emotional, spiritual significance to me that perhaps some people don't understand. I identify with the whole Velveteen Rabbit mentality, even though I know it's ridiculous ... that personal items that a child (especially) sleeps with and attaches herself to, and loves, have real significance, there is almost relationship there. So, yes, I kept part of the blanket -- shoot me :) The other 80% of the blanket went into the trash dumpster with my Baby Secret doll and the bag of hairless, limbless Madame Alexander dolls. Each time I walk by the dumpster, I pat it gently and tell them I do still love them. I gave them the blanket remains to help them through the ordeal of transitioning to a life in the landfill. Goodness, that sounds heartless!

I must know ... are there any other 50-something women out there who understand this silliness? Am I the only one?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Walk to the Watery Regions

[Monday]  When we lived in Oriental we often walked down the street to Smith Creek, or took a bike ride to see the Neuse River. Now we live in Bayboro, quite near a different river -- the Bay River. The Bay River runs out of the Pamlico Sound just like the Neuse, just a few miles further north. The Bay is neither as wide nor as long as the Neuse. Today we took a family walk down the road to see the swollen Bay River.
Adam and I donned our Gill coats and wore boots. The girls put on hoodies and went barefoot. ((sigh)) I have tried, I promise you, I have doggedly tried to force them to wear shoes -- shoes, I tell you!  -- but to no avail.
 Drizzly and floody:
 Little drowned crayfish:
About a quarter mile down the road we came to the river, flooded well over its banks. This narrow road simply wanders into it.
 Does that spot look familiar? I posted a photo of it last week. Here it is, today:
 Here it was, last week:
Notice anything missing? Yeah ... the house! I don't know where it went .... floated down the river? Removed by some devoted owner? (hardly!) Did those cranes lift it to safety?
The doggies were happy. See them grin?
 You should understand that in moving from Oriental to Bayboro, we have leapt from one world to another. A mere 15 minute drive. But Oriental is populated by many retired people from New England. They are used to a very ordered, tidy, attractive, upper-class way of life. It's a lovely little village, a bit out of place in the rural South -- a clean, sparkling jewel. Oriental has a few derelict buildings, a few run-down fisherman cabins. But generally ... it's trending up. To us who are used to living in the true rural South, it sometimes felt a little artificial. I quite liked it :)
Bayboro is a real Southern town in the back end of nowhere. Here are some buildings we passed Monday on our half-mile walk to the river.
I find them interesting, appealing, forlorn.

See those big ole trunks on the porch? What are they? Below is the house from afar.
 And yes, people live in that house.
As we neared the river the large fish-processing buildings dominated the road. They were flooded all around.
Not nearly so many shrimp boats as in Oriental, and more of those in the Bay are small and junky. But the "Karah D." is lovely.
They're replacing the bridge near us and have been working on it for months. This causes an annoying detour every time we go anywhere. Since the river is swollen we thought it would be a good time to walk to the bridge, see the work, and view the river.
 Here's the north prong of the Bay River as it flows up toward Aurora.
I don't know that we'll walk this as often as we did in Oriental. Traffic is faster and thicker. Lots of people do walk our road though, all day long -- lots of poor people without vehicles. They walk to Bayboro and walk back home. The detour is even more onerous for them. Adam has met and chatted with many of our rural neighbors because of this. It's a good thing. We are quite happy to be on our farm.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Wringing Out the Sogginess!

Hi, everybody! Yes, we're still here and fine in the middle of soggy Pamlico County. Yes, we are a county that floods badly. No, our house/farm is not flooded. Hooray!

Everything has been canceled today -- schools, work, Bible study, prayer time. I'm not leaving the house. The one road (which is a detour already) that takes us from home to the dryer world has water over it. Last night a driver hit that water, lost control, and his car ended up in the creek.
photo lifted from the county sheriff's office
Poor person! Adam and I had just driven over that patch of road, coming back from New Bern. I knew there was water standing on that road because I'd seen it earlier in the day, so I told Adam to slow down, and he drove in the other lane. In the dark ... there's no way to see it.

All that to say, we're fine. We received much less rain that was forecast, which is such a blessing. No more roof leaks right now, although the damage to plaster and paint is significant, and will need to be redone. (Boohoohoohoo -- I HATE that!)

For those interested, the flooding elsewhere in the county isn't due to rain (although heavy rain exacerbates it). It's due to "wind tide," an unusual feature of living here. A strong, prolonged northeast wind will blow the water from the Pamlico Sound straight into the Neuse River. It shoves the river water up into the creeks, and then into the canals, and around here everybody either lives on a creek/canal or has to drive over several to get anywhere. After days of a stiff northeast wind, the county floods, roads submerge, sink holes develop. Your house might be high-and-dry, but you can't go anywhere.

I'm looking forward to that today! Let the knitting and hot tea commence! God must have listened to my last whiny blog post :)

Love to all. Adam will spend the morning shoveling manure.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Different Autumn

You know me. I love autumn. Usually by early October I'm crowing about pumpkin bread and loads of knitting and scarves and various kinds of tea. I might share a Victoria magazine or a Robert Frost poem. I've done posts like that, oh yes I have! Last year, Julia and I had an October Party, remember?
I painted a tea party:
In 2013, I blogged about yarn and leaves and temperatures dropping. And mums!!
Let's see, how 'bout 2012? I usually write at least one weird autumn poem.

Enough of that. What about 2015? Why am I not waxing eloquent about strolls in sweaters, visits to garden stores, knitting mittens, painting dead leaves, or sipping tea in long afternoons while watching Tasha Tudor videos?

Because that's not my life right now. Some years are luxurious, and I've had three or four of those. But life changed this year. My homeschooling days are over. The mornings of sitting on the couch with a daughter reading Homer or Chaucer, sipping chai, and planning a walk to the park ... those days are over :(   Kinda sad about that. But life must plow on.

We're rather hurried and scurried this year. Without meaning to, I changed too many things in my life at the same time. I changed my residence, my daughter went off to school, I got a job (and not an easy one), went through some stressors at church, my son got married. Some of those are quite good, some are not, but all are changes.

I look around my house now:
*Boxes. Lots of old, unpacked, damp boxes of keepsakes (junk), treasures (junk), and things not worth hauling into the attic yet again. I'm throwing long-defunct Madame Alexander dolls into the trash can.
*A five-gallon bucket strategically placed to receive rain leaking through the roof.
*Black plastic bags full of coats, blankets, winter scarves and gloves. And no place to put them.
 There's that girl! There's that bucket.
So, life isn't perfect this year. Who can craft a perfect autumn each year? Should I expect that? No. Some periods of life are more chaotic ... even less attractive ... than others. Otherwise, it wouldn't be life.
My sweet Adam, however, persistently tries to brighten my life. He brought me these.
 And he made this for dinner -- Honey-puffed Pancake with bacon and fruit. Delectable!
What a doll he is.
And busy or not, I will knit!!
 We'll see what October offers this year. There may be no time for poems, dry leaves, strolls in sweaters, or certainly watercolor painting. I may only have a moment for reading old Victoria magazines while in the ladies' room. So be it. May October bring pellucid blue skies, repaired roofs, and at least a few spare minutes to enjoy a wisp of yarn or a scrap of poem. Just a scrap :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beauty Above and Below

Saturday evening at twilight we gathered in the field, anticipating the full lunar eclipse.
Adam built a fire in the fire pit. We ate smores. He and Julia sat there for hours, nibbled by insects, enjoying an event he's been longing to see all his life.

Don't get your hopes up. My phone camera was not up to the task of capturing any decent pictures of the eclipsing moon. It was fascinating to see, especially the first half of the partial eclipse when the moon was clearly not any shape it is normally supposed to be.

Beside my front porch are a few rose bushes, including one yellow. It's still blooming.

And some truly impressive rose hips! Years ago in Statesville I tried making rose hip tea from the hips of my Rugosa rose bushes. (I still miss them so much!) You can read about that disappointing adventure here.

Monday, September 28, 2015


Now the farmers have cut the tall corn
in their  far-stretching fields,
And again I can see the distant forest,
the sky-high trees.
How can a stalk of corn
block a pine grove from my sight?
It's both silly and terrifying.
What else am I missing
for a dead stalk of corn
that will be gone tomorrow?

Bayboro, NC
Sept. 27, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Dream Job

After that last post I wrote about how I handle (or don't handle) work stress, a friend asked me honestly about it. Could I identify exactly what stresses me about my various jobs? I ruminated on that one. Here's what I decided stresses me:
1. Working with lots of people
2. Having to service or help or work for lots of people
3. The pressure of having my job performance on display at all
4. Being responsible for other people
5. Being in conflict with others, correcting or assessing them
6. Being in charge of groups of people
7. Too much talking, interaction, or responding to questions or requests
8. Being confined to one area

Basically, at work I will thrive if I'm allowed to be the introvert I am. But I've always had jobs that surround me with people. Even the office jobs I've had (college student development office, and a Christian education office in a church) surrounded me with people.

My dream job would:
1. Give me a handful of other people around me, but we would be on the same level of employment/responsibility. We would not be each others' subordinates or bosses.
2. Allow me to do lots of organization of lots of stuff
3. Ideally, would put me in charge of a large inventory of beautiful things: books, art, documents, old objects, I don't care. I find objects to be utterly non-stressing. It doesn't disturb me at all to handle lots of money or valuable things.
4. Not make me work utterly alone; I need to have some people nearby. Otherwise I get lonely, depressed and creeped out at being alone.
5. I'd love working at a library or a museum, or even managing inventory or documents for a business or office. Managing a bookstore would be a dream, as long as there weren't too many customers - haha :)

Does this give my readers any ideas about what I should pursue? My training is all in teaching and music, and both of those fields seem to cause me stress. (Ugh. Poor choices maybe?) Time for an abrupt career change-of-directions?