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Happy Samhain

Samhain (SOW-wan) is the Celtic New Year.
In the spirit of the season we went to Fearrington for their PumpkinFest Friday night. Fearrington is a "village" down the road towards Pittsboro. It used to be a farm. They kept the silo, a few of the belted cows and goats as a reminder of what used to be. There's a barn where weddings and the Folk Art Festival is held. A gift shop, a nice book store, a casual dining place or two, an inn, and a very expensive (and I hear very good) restaurant. And houses.

I didn't know what to expect, but I sure didn't expect the absolute horde of people. Silly me.
Children in costumes, (my favorite was a little girl dressed as a unicorn, wearing the unicorn head sideways), dogs, knots of people in front of each pumpkin.You had to do the fair walk shuffle: couple of quick steps, stop, quick step, stop, try to step around, stop...

Here are some of the turnips and pumpkins:

 These are turnips - the original jack o'lantern.
The turnips smelled a little.


I Heart Durham Again

Somehow I missed the Only Burger truck phenom. (Food trucks are the new trendy food thing.)
But that's okay, because now Only Burger is also in a building (do you know how hard it is to type with a purring cat using your arm as a pillow?), right next to Rick's Diner.
They just came in second place on the Food Network's “The Great Food Truck Race”.

Very small inside, a couple of booths and a couple of tables. Couple more outside. It's hopping at lunch.
Long, patient line. On the recommendation of someone waiting for their food, I started with the basic burger and fries. The onion rings looked amazing, but they were 86'ed by the time it was my turn at the counter. Next time. The fries were great, hand cut, almost shoestring, with salt and pepper. Burger was delicious, nice and drippy.

Art on the wall. For those of you who are not Durhamites, that's our beloved Lucky Strike tower and and a pair of Duke Blue Devil hands holding Duke Chapel.



Doesn't that sound romantic? Boy loves girl, girl loves boy - but parents don't.
OR, even better, boy and girl decide not to buy into the current debt inducing wedding day gluttony.

However, in geriatric terms it's not so good.
It means Mom went on a walkabout.

Thankfully she was found before the police had to be called, picking up bottles down the block - doing her bit for the environment apparently.

She has to have a "sitter" 24/7 for awhile. I think they ease off after a week or so, but if it happens again, she has to move to the locked unit.
They were calling me when I walked in the door this afternoon.
Then we went to the cafeteria and walked U. Mall, found some cute clothes in Dillard's - on sale.
If she's going to wander, at least she'll look good.

I might write more later, as soon as I can talk about it without using the phrases ARE YOU KIDDING ME, HOLY CRAP, and  HOW MUCH WILL THAT COST.  

AND...I found out I didn't get another job today.  
yay...because it wasn't "the" job...So happy I didn't get it, because it wasn't the one for me. Whoo hoo. 

Oh my god.

BUT, look at this gorgeous tree:


Birthday Flowers, Cats, and Even More Pottery!

I'm not big on the birthdays, especially my own. Really after 21, who cares?
But this year had some very insistent people involved. I was forced to go to lunch, dinner, accept flowers, AND [more] pottery! It was horrible. (Kidding!)
Thanks everyone! (you know who you are)

 Arty cat/flower shot (a.k.a. cat will not be still)

 Bowl from Cape Fear Pottery

New Pottery

  Doesn't the spiral in this Marsha Owen bowl look like Hershey's syrup?!

 This is by Peter Karner, it was my birthday present from DL.

I love it when the bottom of a piece is as good as the top.

And All's Right With The World

Can you see his big Thumper foot? 
You'd never know I have two other cats!

Four Minutes

Yesterday as I drove home from the grocery store, there was a call
An old friend from my mother's past
How is she? She never answers the phone...the plaintive, and now familiar, refrain
My impotent answer does not comfort
She doesn't connect the ringing to the phone, she can't really hold a conversation anymore
Their relationship of almost forty years was spent mostly over the phone
Calls of children wounded in relationships, broken in car accidents, husbands dead
Happy news too, grandchildren born, visits planned, of comfort and friendship despite a continent's divide
I'll still send cards, hopefully she'll enjoy them even if she doesn't know who they're from
Her voice catches
I thank her for being a such a loyal friend - she still sees the person that was
That I no longer do


Progressive Dinner

Last night, the FU We're Over Fifty gals (group name has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent) had a progressive dinner.

At first, the idea shook us up a bit - to the tune of eleven pages of comments since the middle of September. Peace talks in Northern Ireland have had less discussion.

We were concerned: How would this work? How will we get food from A to B? Wouldn't that be a lot of driving? If I have potatoes for home C, how will I get them there? Wait, how would this work again?

It came off without a hitch, (except for me forgetting my purse at home B, necessitating a retrieval trip from  gracious hostess of said home); the food and even more importantly - the company, was great divine.
And all twelve us us managed to get from one house to another with only a minimum of misplacement.

photo courtesy of E.D.
Hostess A: appetizers and wine. Tiny chicken dumplings, shrimp and lobster morsels, baked kale & Gruyere, hummus, and crudites in the lovely home of B. Her granddog, a delightful pug, was visiting. So was her grandcat, but she is much more shy, and did not make an appearance.
S., the timekeeper (and thinker of progressive dinner event), said it was time to move on, so we did.

Hostess B: cheese and salad (and more wine). Two adorable cats, Tigger and Dragon, greeted us from the staircase, looking for all the world like little feline velociraptors. A delicious assortment of cheese, a great rice salad with fruit and yogurt and a green salad. Another beautifully decorated home. Some of us stood around the kitchen island looking at decorating "porn" (Kitchen & Bath magazine) Once again, we had to leave too soon.

Hostess C: The home of S. & T. was filled with fairy lights, good humor, five chihuahuas, and many found treasures. This was the serious sit down portion of the meal. Roast beef, an Indian inspired chicken dish with vegetables and quinoa, side dish of rice, beans, veggies, scalloped potatoes with sun-dried tomato pesto, and fabulous home made rolls. And more wine. The hostess' husband served as the in-house chef and made the delicious roast beef and gravy  Groaning, we pushed ourselves from the table and headed to our final destination.

photo courtesy of E.D.
Hostess D: coffee and dessert. Unbelievably I passed on dessert, but everyone else said it was the lightest cheesecake they'd ever had (with a gluten free crust!), and the chocolate mousse pie was divine. There was a fruit tart and biscotti as well. Another beautifully decorated home, more adorable animals (two cats, one dog).

We can't wait until the next one!


Sigh (a.k.a. Mommy Dearest)

This morning I had my first (and hopefully last) appointment with my unemployment counselor.  He was great.
First, he recognized the rarity (hehe) of my INFJ-ness (1% of the population).
Second, he had a lot of good tips. 
Third, he named IT - the doing of usually arty things until I get an accolade or prize, then I'm  DONE.
He called it, "Master and Move On." That's totally it!
I'm not sure how it helps, but oh how I enjoy a good label. It's like organizing...myself.

Then, since I've been having dreams about it, I took Mom for a mani-pedi. Mostly pedi. Her toenails were gross and I sure as Shirley wasn't going to do them. We stayed in Durham, went to a very nice nearby salon called Mimi's Nail Spa, it doesn't stink of that strong nail polish smell. They serve wine, water, or soft drinks, it's nicely decorated, and their pictures aren't hung too high (that seems to be a common occurrence in nail salons for some reason). It's quite civilized.

Of course she charmed them with her demented ways.

When we got back to W., one of the aides said Mom hit another of the aides with a hanger yesterday because she didn't want to take her meds.

The "I'm not doing it and you can't make me!" face.
Mom, rushing to her own defense, said she didn't even have the car. (hit = car?)

We sat in the lounge across from her room and attempted to talk about it.
Me: They are just doing their [extremely underpaid] job, they're not trying to be mean to you. You need to take your medicine.
Mom: I don't know what about some of these people in here.
Me: Right, but you can't hit people with hangers even if you don't know what about them.
Mom: I don't even have a car. I don't want to be like those people.
Me: Mean people?
Mom: Yes. Let me tell you and you know this, I am not that kind of person. I don't like that. You aren't that kind either.
Me: That's not like you at all, you're not a mean person. The medicine helps that too.
Mom: I know. Sometimes I get so [clenches her fists]. I don't know what's going on in here. And I want to know about that.
Me: It must be very frustrating. [to not remember, to not be able to express yourself, to be unable to refuse to do something...etc.]
Mom: I have no life here.
Me: It seems like that, but you could. They do activities, go places.
Mom: I could do that.
Me: Yes you could.
Mom: Are those good shoes?
Me: Yes, very comfortable.
Mom: Good. We can help each other with that. I don't want to be like that.
Me: No, don't be mean like Granny.
Mom: Oh, how is she? I haven't seen her in a long time.
Me: She died.
Mom: She did?! When?
Me: 2003 or 2004
Mom: I wish I could have seen her.
Me: Well, you did, you were with her when she died.
Mom: I was?! I must not have forgotten that, no that's wrong.
Me: You must have blocked it out. You went to see her almost every day and cooked for her.
Mom: She was over there. (points to the Alzheimer's building across the courtyard)
Me: Sort of. She was in the nursing home.
Mom: I have to pee.

On the way out I talk with the two aides. And apologize.  


I Hate The New Blogger Editor

The preview is not. It doesn't make the changes it says it did. ARRRRGGHHHH.


Happy Birthday, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde

(The man, not my cat.)

Oscar was born a century too early and died too soon at age 46.

He was a wickedly keen observer of human behavior.

In honor of his birthday, please enjoy some of my favorite quotes:

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

Happy 156th Birthday, Oscar.

Mama Made Coleslaw

Thursday, October 14.
I could have gone to FRANK , but took Mom's laundry back instead. Why, you may ask, would I pass up a chance to hang out with my friends -  adults whose conversation makes sense (most of the time anyway)?
We look at art/pottery listen to music, sip adult beverages.
Why not indeed.
Because I am Firstborn, she of the short straw. (I hereby decree my superhero costume to be the Talbot's sweater with the sparkly buttons. And so say I.)

She was coming outside as I came up the walk, kind of teary eyed.
She hugged my neck and said, "Hi! I love you. That doesn't come out enough."
Huh, changing her medication time does make a difference.

She's locked her door again. And the key is where? That's right. In her room.
"I don't know who does that. I don't do it."
The cat must have done it.
"I don't have a cat."
I know.

We find someone to unlock the door, get the clean clothes situated and head out.
As we walk down the hallway she mentions she's getting a kitten. She doesn't have him yet.
What about the litter box?
"Oh you can come do that."
Gee thanks. (The Onion says it so succinctly)

Nantucket Grill is the winner for this evening's repast.
I note that we're both wearing jean jackets.
Look we're twins.
"We almost are," she agrees.

As we wait for our drinks to arrive, out of the blue she says, "I didn't do anything."
You didn't?
"They did."
Who did?
"Those people."
She slides her bread plate across the table - "Whee! I want one of these."
It appears you have one.
"I know that."

She gets her petite filet mignon and mashed potatoes. The tea is, as usual, good.
Must be really sweet then.
Fie on diabetes.

Fish and chips for me. She gleefully eyes my coleslaw, I hand it over. I don't like coleslaw, unless my dad makes it. Chances are I'm not eating coleslaw again.

"Mama made that." [coleslaw]
"I don't know. You're stupid. No, I am."
No need to point fingers.
"You do make your stuff done."

I try. Or I will. Or something.

Some time passes. She's eaten most of the steak, mashed, and part of the coleslaw.
"I'm going to stop eating now or I'm going to have another baby."
We can't have that.

Food continues to be consumed, per usual.
I thought you were stopping.
More coleslaw.

She copies me writing, giggles, "I'm going to keep my mouth shut."

 "I'm going to die."
Explode is more like it.
"I know that."

"Last piece. I'm gonna eat it. I'm not gonna kill it."

"Okay we can go somewhere else now." Next time we are splitting that filet.

We went to Petsmart, to visit the IAR cats and visited with Silent Bob. 

As we walked to the car after a nice play session I said Silent Bob was a very sweet cat.
How soon they forget, Silent Bob.


My Version of a Thrifty Find

I'm not the garage/yard/thrift store type shopper. However, I do love Home Goods, Marshall's, and T. J. Maxx.

Last night in Marshall's I found a Talbot's sweater (cotton/viscose/rabbit) originally priced at $110.00
...for $16.99! Needs a couple of new buttons.

As Stacy on "What Not To Wear" would say - Shut up!

My mother sewed almost all my clothes and many of my sister's. I never picked it up, but do have fond memories of being with her in fabric stores looking at patterns, buttons, and notions. She was very tactile, almost every bolt of cloth was fondled.

My ex-husband, out of necessity, was an excellent tailor. He was a cyclist with muscled quads, but a narrow waist (so very close to my waist size at the time), so all his pants, bought to fit his thighs, had to be altered to fit his waist.
He made extra money while he was in the service sewing on people's hash marks and other insignia. He also designed and embroidered large patches, kind of like murals for fabric, on people's jeans and jean jackets (it was the 1970's). He was/is quite talented artistically.

We didn't have the funds to buy one of those baby carriers/slings, so he made one out of canvas after studying and measuring the ones in the store. It worked great. From the same bolt of canvas, he made The Boy a small changing pad/bed that rolled up like a yoga mat, with tie closures, easy to carry as we traveled.

However, his most ingenious item for The Boy were these kimono type shirts made from his own pattern.
These shirts were screaming easy to get limp yet squirmy babies in and out of. They tied on the side - no minuscule buttons to mess with and no astonishingly small neck holes to get Baby's pumpkin sized head through. (What IS up with that?! Like coming through the birth canal again - every time you get dressed.)
You laid the open shirt out on the bed, laid the baby in the shirt, one arm in, other arm in, crossed shirt over the chest, tied it, and POOF! dressed baby.

 Back to the sweater. A trip to Mulberry Silks  scored these cute iridescent buttons. $9.05 for twelve including tax. The extras are sewn into the side seam should they be needed in the future.
Yes, I could have just matched the two buttons that needed replacing, but my inner crow took over...Oooooo...sparkly...

Took me about an hour to sew on the buttons. Utilized some small motor skills I forgot I had. Quite a feat for someone who got kicked out of Home Economics!

The sweater ended up costing $27.36 total. What a deal!

Now if it would just cool off enough for me to wear it.


Goofy Little Cat

Okay - so this IS the crazy cat lady post!

Nobody's making you read it...just sayin'.

There's not even anything to read really. Just pictures of the funniest cat ever.

I Heart Durham II

Tonight I went with friends to Duke's Page Auditorium to hear a Persian classical music concert.
Wow. Amazing stuff.
The music had flavors of Greek, Roma, Turkish, and Indian woven through it. It reminded me of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project

Salar Aghili the singer, is like Iran's Pavarotti, at least that's what I imagine. So far I haven't found a video that captures, as Rosemary put it, "his pipes." His voice was pure, sharp and hit me in the solar plexus.

All the musicians were incredible. The woman (his wife?) in the video link above was also in the ensemble, playing the same tambourine/drum. Her solo totally kicked major butt.

Hossein Behroozinia, (actual playing doesn't start until about 2 minutes in) who is apparently a Barbat (Persian lute) rock star was also in the musical line-up.

One more reason to love living in a college(s) town.


That's the Way, Uh Huh Uh Huh, I like It, Uh Huh Uh Huh

(you're welcome in advance for the ear worm)

Rejection sadness is over for the moment. For no other reason than I had ice cream. Are there endorphins in dairy?

  • Mom had an entire change of clothes without a mishap. Meaning I did not have an aneurysm looking for her pants.
  • We found out that Tresemme's dry shampoo does not work. (remember that spray on powder in the 1970's? That stuff worked.)
  • I saw an entire episode of Yo Gabba Gabba I had not seen before. (Moono got glasses or rather he got one glass - he only has one eye.) I think I have a crush on DJ Lance.
  • We went to a new place, Grayson's Cafe, for lunch. It was just okay. Even with a 1/2 off one item coupon, it was still over $15. That seems like a lot of money for food you eat out of a basket. Rick's Diner might cost the same, but your food is served on an actual plate. (They also have good onion rings which weighs the odds heavily in their favor.)
Mom tackles her Chef's Salad

Afterward we went to Maple View Farm for ice cream. 

Mom had Strawberry, Honey Toasted Almond for moi.

This is the view from the porch where we started out, but the bees and wasps were too interested in the ice cream for my comfort, so we went inside. You can still see the view.
Which Mom declared,
"Beautiful. Period."

Trying to remember some of the stuff she said today. There's so much.
Oh, she asked about my kids as usual, then I asked about hers.
"I don't have any kids."
She wanted to know if I still had my dogs or had I given them away.
No dogs. Still. 

Of a woman merging onto the highway she said, "I don't know if she's alive or not."

Well, I'm off to do laundry a little dance...get down tonight...



The letter came in the mail today. The rejection letter for the second job I was in the top three for. (pretty sure that's not a proper sentence and not entirely sure how to make it so.) Not even a job I especially wanted, but still - rejection is rejection.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Not the right one, not meant to be, etc., etc., etc. (Don't be a boyfriend and offer up the advice, okay? Just listen.)

I am in a pissy mood today, in case you hadn't noticed.
Relationships are shifting around, disappearing, changing. I don't like that. I feel like I can't keep track of it all.


Pottery Boyfriends

Today, after helping, (took four of us), hang a ten foot x five foot piece of whiteboard wallpaper, (you can find anything on-line), I needed a break.

Being unemployed is not enough of one apparently.

So I headed up to Cedar Creek in Creedmor. I had a 20% off coupon, and a coupon must be used - especially up there. It is my birthday month after all.

A heron keeps an eye out
Giant dragonfly seat

Hand blown glass by Lisa Oakley
Ready for their close-up

It was pretty quiet being the middle of the day on a weekday, I had the whole place to myself.

[One of] my pottery boyfriends, Brad Tucker, was in the gallery hanging out with the nice ladies who work there. I said "Hi pottery boyfriend.", and we all laughed.

A few minutes later, as I pondered which of Brad's pieces would come home with me, he came back in with a paper bag and said "This is for you pottery girlfriend."
Inside the bag was this mug:

Wasn't that sweet?
Then I bought this bowl - coupon well spent.
I imagine popcorn will taste extra delicious when eaten out of this bowl.

The glaze on the bowl is is an ash glaze. Ash and soda (aka salt) glazes are my favorites. The salt pits the surface, giving it a texture similar to orange peel.
I also like the crackle and copper/bronze metallic glazes in raku, but raku is often more expensive and less functional than I like my pieces to be (they often can't hold liquids).

Anyway, that was most of my day. I want to take a nap, but I'm afraid that would be a bad habit to get into.


It's A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood

What a gorgeous fall day! I was supposed to meet a friend at a new to me trail, but we were not there at the same time, so I went for a walk along Bolin Creek.

The sky was scrubbed clean due to the recent rain; truly a Carolina blue.

Water was chortling in the creek, also thanks to the rain. 

The word babble is often used to describe water, but chortle (combination of chuckle and snort)  is an underused word that I like very much. Supposedly it was coined by Lewis Carroll in "Jabberwocky":

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy."

The crispy air was perfectly seasoned with decaying leaves, a hint of mown grass, and the merest wisp of wood smoke. Woodpeckers pecked, squirrels barked. Mockingbirds, wrens, and cardinals swooped and sang against a background chorus of frogs and crickets.

Leaves are starting to turn, mostly yellow or brown from the lack of rain. No reds or oranges yet.

Beautiful day in the neighborhood for sure.