Crazy as a Loom

Monday, May 13, 2019


Yesterday was a quiet kind of day, as my three children were otherwise engaged.
It was different, as we usually get together on Mother's Day, but this year it just didn't work out.

I read someone's post on FB, about not being appreciated on this holiday, and someone else's comment about how the day was fraught with expectations, her exact words were "an exercise in unmet expectations".   Another comment said there was too much pressure to have a "nice day".

At any rate, I had made a plan in my head, that I was going get some things done, and have a nice, uneventful, productive day, and that I wasn't going to get sucked into that vortex of feeling bad because the day wasn't Hallmark card perfection.
 It was OK.

So the very first thing I did, was the thing that had been on my mind for a couple of weeks.  I cleaned the outside porch.
I sent my daughter a photo, with the explanation that it was as good as I could do, given that Bubbalee's heated bed is under that table, and her "chair" is an ugly, green recliner that she spends 16 hours a day in.  And God knows, I didn't want to upset Bubbalee's routine, little diva that she was.

More than ten years ago, Bubbalee appeared at my house.  Wild and untouchable.

 She lived in the barn, and had two litters of kittens, which we caught and found homes for, before we could catch her and put an end to her childbearing years.

She lived between my house, and the neighbors, until a few years ago, when she chose to  permanently stay  at mine.

See her on the roof ??

She had very distinctive white socks.

Here is she when she was very pregnant for her last kittens.

In the solar house.

In the last couple of years, she has stayed very close to home.......she never wandered far from the house, the labyrinth, the chicken coop, the barn.
She met you when you got out of the car, she followed anyone who was outside.
And after years of being fearful of any human contact, she finally decided that she loved attention.
And she got it, from everyone she saw.

She loved to be petted, but never contained.   When I tried to put her in the cat carrier to go to the vet, I ended up in Urgent Care with an infected hand.

But I forgave her.   She just lived life on her own terms.

 I have no doubt that she was happy here.

She ended up being very loved, and loving us right back.

And she was very vocal.

Dale loved  her, called her Bubbalicious.

Cooper followed her around.

Ava wanted to take her home.

 Last night, when we came home from dinner, she was laying in front of the chicken coop.   Because she was quite deaf, I reached down to touch her, and that's when I realized that she was gone.

I don't know what to say.

Bubbalee.   We will miss her so much.  She was part of our days, a constant presence.  

I woke up this morning, and my first thought was, oh my God, Bubbalee's not out there.  When I went out to feed Goldie, it felt so strange.

I am pondering how quickly life can change.  In an instant.   We don't, and can't, know the future, on any given day.

Which is why, once again, I have to remember to "stay in the day", to make it a good day, one that resonates with me.  One that registers on the good, the plus, the positive, as much as possible.

It is truly all we have.

I guess now I'll go move the ugly green chair.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


It's a good thing that we don't know, when we are young, what pain awaits us in our old age.
Why worry us?   Right?
No, when we are young, we are blessedly oblivious.  If we are healthy, we have occasional bouts of discomfort, from this or that, but we have no idea of the daily pain that accompanies our bodies going south.

We romp around like these two, blissfully ignorant.

In my particular case, most of it is arthritis, inherited from both parents.......and because I have lived a fairly industrious (ok, straight out workaholic like) life, and have expended a great deal of energy doing what I wanted to do, I have arthritis is just about every possible place there is to have it.

I especially have it in my neck, where the surgeons poked and prodded and readjusted me three times.
One thing that the doctors don't tell you,  is that when they fuse your spine, ANYWHERE, that the discs below it get angry and funky and start to become a problem.

Ah, so the gist of all this.    Pain.   Mostly in the morning.  Pure unadulterated neck, my aching back coming right through to my chest,  my hips,  and last, but never least, my ********ing
We don't like to admit to it, do we?   We look around at a restaurant, or in a store, and we see other older people, and they don't seem to have any problems, they don't look like they are in pain.  But then, do we look like we are in pain????   How do we know if they are, or they aren't? 
We don't.

I don't think I am alone in this.   I do think that some of us are unluckier than others......but I do not imagine that I am the only person getting older that hurts like hell.

I started taking the CBD oil at bedtime, because a good friend, who also suffers from arthritis, and fibromyalgia, too, swears by it.
So far, I've taken in for a couple of weeks, and I am not seeing much of a difference in the level of pain in the morning.   However, I am sleeping better than I have ever slept in my entire life.
So there's that.
It may be worth taking, just for that.
And the dreams, by God, they are entertaining........which tells me that usually, I don't sleep deep enough to dream.   Interesting.
With the CBD oil, instead of tossing and turning because my body hurts in every position, I sleep for 5-6 uninterrupted hours, deeply,  before I wake up.

So the good side is this:   after a couple of hours, the heating pad, a cuppa coffee, I start to move around, and eventually, I come alive and the pain eases up, either that, or I just move to some level of stubborn-ess and persistance, where I take over anyway.  That may be more likely.

Then there are days, like yesterday, when an added attraction appears.

Lois and I were finishing up putting a hand dyed warp on the AVL, when the jagged light appeared in my eye.  It lasts for 20 minutes or so, and no matter what I take for the headache, it descends like one of the Game of Thrones dragons, and I am toast.

The rest of the day was pretty much a waste.  I slogged through it.  Seriously, slogged.

So does she have a point here, you ask????

Well, there are articles galore about living your best life as you age, but where is the discussion about living with the weight of daily, depressing pain??????  And to be clear, I don't believe pain meds are the answer.  You can take a truckload of Ibuprofen (Advil), or Naprosyn (Alleve), but then you'll just rot your stomach out.   Narcotic pain meds don't really address arthritic pain, they would just make you so dopey, you didn't give a damn.  Not for me.  Acupuncture doesn't work for it.  I've tried it.   I've tried about everything.

It's no wonder, really, that people of a certain age are perfectly content to say sayonara.  Enough already.

It does bring me back, to that place years ago, when I learned some valuable lessons.

About "one day at a time", about "staying in the day", and mostly, "acceptance is the answer to all my problems today".

And always, I think of those who suffer infinitely worse things than I am, those who face worse things on a daily basis, and I do that old slapyourselfonthesideofyourhead thing, and I tell myself it's time to start practicing gratitude, for what I have.

I am still on my feet.   I can still weave.   I did some outside work the other day without ending up totally crippled.   I can still read, and dream, and write.
I still wake up with inspired thoughts about what I want to do today, I am able to make plans, and implement them.   I don't wear diapers, or need anyone to feed me, or get me moving.

I have a home that I love, family, friends, my best companion ever, that white ball of fluff, Naya.

I am fortunate, still.
I am alive.
I will get through the pain, so help me GOD.

If ever I feel like quitting, I will go see these two.

Case closed.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


It's time to walk again....every single day if weather permits.   January and February were brutally unkind as far as walking went.
So I'm trying to make up for it.

I walk the bike path here in town, and I walk some back roads.  The fields are way too wet right now.
I also drive to other trails if I can.

On one of my walks, there are these amazing stone walls.

Look at the size of those stones.

The canal runs through town, this is the path on part of it.

A couple of days ago, L and I drove down to Lock 5.    It was a lovely walk, and a beautiful day.

The Hudson River is high, and fast.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to go farther afield, or run the risk of getting bored with the same routes.
I don't think Naya minds the same walks, as long as there are tons of smells along the way.
But to keep me motivated, I need more.

 Tell me what it is about abandoned mobile homes/trailers???

They are everywhere.

This one will soon be hidden with vines.

On the weaving front.........4 m of yardage, in cotton bamboo and rose yarn.....soft as butter.
And a very pale pink.

4 m of cotton bamboo and hand dyed cotton crackle.

And L's project....a crazy mixed warp with a silk weft.


I had all day company ........and it was a BUSY day.


We colored eggs.

We made cupcakes.

We chased chickens, and made lots of pictures, we visited goats, we went for pizza, we got exhausted.
OK, mostly me.

The screen porch is clean, and the best place for  an iced tea and a good book.

Finally, winter is over.

I leave you with this:

2 chickens trying to lay eggs in ONE box, at the same time.  Neither wanting to give up.
I have no words.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Cut this.

Sometimes you just have one of those matter how hard you try, you know it's not going to turn out so well.

I finally gave up the battle to make this bamboo warp do what I wanted.  I did have a loom issue, with one solenoid not positioned properly to fire off like it's supposed to.  But even after fixing that, it was still a nightmare.
I didn't realize how stretchy bamboo could be.  A loose thread here, a loose thread there.  You weavers know how awful it is to UNWEAVE.

I went forwards and backwards so many times, I was getting dizzy.  I'd weave an inch or two, get out my mirror and flashlight so I could visualize the underside of the fabric, and find floats before they got too big.
I had multiple weights hanging off the back of the loom.

After four hours this morning, and very, very little forward progress, I had to stop and reconsider.
I've been working on this warp for days, and so far, I have only yardage with floats that may or may not be salvageable. 
So as much as it hurt me to do it, I cut the warp off the loom, cut my losses and tried to accept that I have wasted a week on it.

So to date, I have found that tencel warps, and bamboo warps, put on sectionally, so the warp is at least 20 yards long, can be a nightmare.

I need some reliable, dependable cotton.

At least lunch has been a good experience.   This week is leek, potato, cabbage soup, one of my faves.

My 5 year old grand daughter fell running through the house, landed on her chin, and ended up getting three stitches.

My daughter texted me, "OMG, does it ever end?"  (meaning the worry and anxiety over your children)

I said, "Yup, it will, when you die."

As they left Urgent Care, she had obviously bounced right back, and had to be cautioned about skipping down the hall way.

Note, the bandaid on her chin.

I have been dyeing for about three years, and true to form, I have not kept one bit of record of any of it.
Until now. 
I decided it was time.
So I started a dye notebook, and this week, every morning, before I start my weaving day, I dye one batch.
In my pajamas.

I usually use some picture to inspire me, so I've paired  my inspo pic with the end results, so you can see how I'm doing.

This red and gray is bamboo, for weft.

And this green is also bamboo, for weft.

This is mercerized cotton, also for weft.
This one is my favorite of the three.

There's another one on the drying rack. 

I think spring might actually be coming, but the downside is that everything looks so brown and dirty.
I need some serious lawn work done, leaves raked, branches picked up, but finding someone who will do it and do a good job is not an easy task.
My neck dictates that I NOT do it, even though I would really like to.

I love watching the sunset, and seeing the "girls" soaking up the very last rays of the day.
If you look close, you can see  them out behind the gate.   When the sun goes down, within minutes, they will be going clockwork.

Egg production has been high, all winter long.  That is not usual, and I've wondered why.  Someone suggested that it was their glass enclosed chicken run that was responsible.  I don't know that it's true, but it sure is interesting.

I do have a question for you all.
A chicken question.  A garden question.

My chickens have a huge fenced in area, and when the garden is not in use, they have that area as well.
I have decided to build a couple of raised beds outside the garden, for the few things we want to plant.  Keeping it manageable.

So the garden will be empty, unless I figure out something easy to throw in there.  I want to plant something in there that will be easy to manage, and something that at the end of summer, the chickens will enjoy.
Although, they pretty much enjoy everything,  I keep thinking that there is something that would be perfect, if I just knew what it was.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Cracked and found.

Well, this addresses the "cracked" fingers, and Lois' too........around my nails....oh, so painful.

This stuff is amazing, you just have to remember to use it.

"Found" are my car keys......that I lost several weeks ago.  Everyone has tried to find them.....recreating my steps that day, searching the house.  With no success.

In the end they were outside.  I must have dropped them when I got out of the car, and the snow plow guy moved and buried them.
But they reappeared, and the key fob even works.
Little rust on the ring, but that's an easy fix.

 Nothing quite as rejuvenating/exhausting as taking care of your 5 year old grand girl.

She brings the need to sleep, but she also brings joy....lots of it.

We went out for pizza....( homemade manhattan clam chowder first, it's a Friday tradition)

 Then we went to Naya's obedience class, which totally thrilled this little girl.

And a quick stop at Target for essentials.   You know the deal.

She was wired for sound until bedtime.......

but Saturday morning, she had to ease into the day a bit.   She ordered pancakes for breakfast.

What?  You didn't know we run a little diner here????

I love having her.

Even if she does remind me why young people are supposed to have children.

And older people like me are supposed to be grands.

It was a lovely time, and I treasure it.

This is what Lois is working 8 harness crackle, with a hand dyed giza cotton warp.

It's going to be a cloak, I think.

I am doing a custom yardage order.......
the warp is navy bamboo.....and the cotton hemp had to be dyed to match this photo.
I think I got pretty close.

And here it is, on the loom........circles, back again.

I have been pondering the complications of life we plan things one way, and they don't turn out nearly what we imagined; how impossible it really is to lay out a course that will actually resemble what we pictured.
It's one way in our head,
and quite another in real time.
Sometimes I think the joke is on us......even though sometimes it seems particularly cruel.

I do know one thing for absolutely sure.   There is TOO much winter in northeast NY.
I love my old house, I even love the little hamlet I live in.  The countryside is lovely, and it's home.

But the expanse from November to April or May is just too long.  I don't want to do it anymore.

So next winter we are making plans to get out of here for at least 2 months.....maybe 3, who knows.   I know that my psyche, my head/neck issues, my general age and the arthritic changes that come with it, are not happy with frigid temps anymore.  What really clinches it for me, is trying to walk Naya in snow and treacherous ice and worrying about falling and breaking something.

Nope, don't want to do it anymore.  I will try to look at it as a real break, from winter, from working every day, a chance to regroup and take a breath.

Tomorrow, I am going to start doing some spring cleaning.....get myself out of this winter funk.
I have a few areas that need dredging out.   I need to be sending things out of here to be repurposed or loved by someone else.  I think it will make me feel better, at least until I can get outside more.

(I like James Comey, just saying.   I know he's far from perfect, but he is a sensible sounding man, who I believe has a moral compass.
Something we don't see all that often.)

I have a new book, "Where the Crawdads Sing", which came highly recommended to me, so I will say good night.

Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts