Author: jeanne (Page 3 of 118)

I'm just your basic complicated simple red dirt girl who feels most beautiful when wearing skirts that caper and earrings that dangle. Entering into my Second Life (my tenured phase, I call it), I tell, write, stitch, and perform stories about this time of life when the mythological (and downsized) empty nest is now filled with aging pets, aging parents, a retired husband, and the knowledge that you're living on the finite side of infinity.

So What’s Happening with The 70273 Project?

Quilt 423

A few weeks ago, Uta Lenk, 70273 Project Ambassador for Germany, messaged me to see where we are and what’s going on with The 70273 Project now. She was putting together a presentation for the German Patchwork Guilde annual meeting (now online, of course), and she thought people would like an update. I thought y’all might like an update, too.

As you may remember from our fourth anniversary post, we exceeded our goal before our fourth year mark. Congratulations to us, and thank you to all!

However, we’re not done yet, and I need help., so perhaps you’d be willing to raise your hand to help in one of the following areas:


Peggy Thomas, Fearless Leader of the Data Angels and Gladys Loewen, Amazing Wind Beneath her Wings have generously offered to head up the Data Angels, and they need volunteers to take information from the Provenance forms and enter it into Excel spreadsheets that will be sent back to them and merged into what will eventually be an online searchable database where Makers, Quilters, Piecers, Finishers, and  anybody else who’s interested can find which quilts their blocks are in and where in the world those quilts are on any given day. Dedications made will also be in this database, along with the dimensions and number of lives commemorated for each quilt. The only information you will not find in the database is anything about those who chose to remain anonymous, so if you ticked the anonymous box, don’t worry: you will not be spotted anywhere.

The work you do as a Data Angel makes it possible for exhibit curators to select the quilts they’d like to put on display (saving The Engineer and me an inordinate amount of time!), and we’ll have a complete catalogue of quilts to hand over with the quilts when a museum or other organization expresses interest in becoming the project’s permanent custodian/guardian.

So, if you’ve always dreamed of earning your angel wings; if you know your way around an Excel spreadsheet; if you have dependable teens or college students at home now who need something to do; and  if you can find some spare time under the seat cushions of your life, please let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Peggy and Gladys who will get you set up and going.


I worked with a volunteer for a couple of months, trying to figure out a way to create a DIY fill-in-the-blanks label form that could be completed, emailed, printed on fabric for labels, and merged into a Quilt Database, but alas, we just couldn’t make it work. I do have, however, two wonderful volunteers who have agreed to take the information I send them and create the labels then email them back to me for printing on fabric. Once they’re up and running, they may want some help, so stay tuned for notices about that.

Once the labels are printed on fabric, I need people with feet-on-the-ground in the Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Newnan, Georgia area to take quilts and sew the labels on and amend or add sleeves as needed. I have figured out a no-contact hand-off system that keeps us 6-feet apart, and the hand-off takes place in a parking lot (yet to be determined).  Once the batch of quilts is completed, the batch will be returned on the appointed date and time and another batch of quilts in need of labels and sleeves can be picked up. You get the idea.

As quilts come in, I check them in and use the handy-dandy form I created to tag them with the quilt number and what special attention they need. Once this gets rolling, I will need 1 or 2 people who live in this area to agree to coordinate the effort to find volunteers to take quilts to sew on labels and sleeves. If you read this and are willing to coordinate or take quilts home to sew on labels and amend/add sleeves, let me know.


Yes, we really do! There are still bundles of blocks needing someone to turn them into quilt tops or finished quilts. If you’re willing, you can leave a comment at the bottom of this post or here’s how to let me know via email.


Lest you think I’m shirking my duties in favor of eating bonbons in front of the television, here’s what I’m working on:

~ Creating an online gallery for each exhibit, with photos of the exhibit; a list of quilts in the exhibit; general photos from the exhibit; scanned copies of exhibit signage and informational materials; pertinent information about the exhibit; etc.

~ A page for each quilt containing photos, a copy of the label, stories gathered, and a list of each exhibit the quilt has been displayed in with a link to that gallery section.

~ Scanning and filing mountains of paperwork related to The 70273 Project.

~ Preparing the information for Data Angel Coordinators and Labelette Leaders.

~ Checking in the quilts and tagging them with what needs to be done.

~ Answering emails, as eyes permit.

~ Talking to groups of quilters, disability special interest groups, students, and college classes in our zoom meeting room. I LOVE doing this. If you’re interested, let me know in the comments below or send me an email. All I ask is that your group make a donation to The 70273 Project to help cover costs of things like the special (and costly) fabric we print the labels on; postage; boxes and shipping tape; QR code’s that will be assigned and attached to each individual quilt, and other supplies.

~ I’m also gathering stories via written or online interviews. These interviews will go into the archive for each quilt, and I’m developing audio recordings of information for each quilt that can be used  at exhibits when the world does – and it will, eventually – open up. If you’re wiling to be interviewed, let me know. I can email you questions or we can chat. Your choice.

You get the idea – there’s still much to do before we sleep, and I’d sure like for us to get this done by our fifth anniversary on February 14, 2021. Or, said the European way: 14 February 2021. With your help, we can do it.

Thank you for making this amazing project happen in the first place, and for taking it to the next level by helping create the searchable database, attach the labels, and create the information and story archive for each quilt. For more info and to stay in touch, join us around the FAcebook group campfire or like our Facebook page.

Rainbows of Gray

ocean breaking on huge, jagged rocks

When her daddy refuses to let her return for the last three years of her full-ride scholarship to The Piano Conservatory saying sternly, “Women need a husband not an education – especially an education in playing the piano,” my grandmother agrees to marry Granddaddy who agrees to let her keep her piano. When we are old enough, Grandmother teaches each one of her grandchildren to play the piano. On our assigned day, Granddaddy picks us up after school in his white and gray Ford F-150 and takes us to their house where he treats it to Co’ Colas (in the small bottle, of course, because they taste better) and ‘cream (vanilla ice cream) before our lesson.

From small bottles of soft drink, I learn about forming  relationships over food.

”We weren’t allowed to buy soft drinks at the local store,” he tells me, “but there was one shop owner in town who would sell us a case if nobody was looking. His delivery boy had to carry them to the car, though. We couldn’t risk being seen toting a wooden case of Co’ Colas out of his store because black people didn’t buy enough groceries to keep him in business and white folks, if they saw him selling Co’ Colas to us, would stop shopping there.”

From small bottles of soft drink, he learns about discrimination.


”Which bus do I ride home?” the seven-year-old me asks Mother as she drops me off on the first day of second grade.

”Just ride the bus you rode last year,” she tells me, and I do, waking up just as Mr. Dan Phillips pulls the snub-nosed, rounded bus #5 into his barn at the end of his route.

”Mr. Phillips,” I say as he turns the silver upright handle to open the door and let himself out, “am I spending the night with you?”

”Where did you come from Jeanne?” he asks.

I point to the third seat on the row behind him, still rubbing my eyes awake.

”C’mon,” he tells me, chuckling softly. “I’ll take you home.”

”She was sound asleep,” he tells my mother, and she’s so short, I couldn’t see her in the rear view mirror. The routes changed this year. She needs to take bus #2 home now, Robert Storey’s bus.”

From riding a school bus, I learn to ask for help.

As a fourteen year old, he drives a school bus, stretching to make himself big enough to reach the pedals and shift the gears. “We didn’t usually have enough gas to get us through the entire week,” he tells me, “so Friday afternoon I had to zig-zag back and forth across the road to slosh what little gas was still in the tank to keep the engine running and get us all home.”

From driving a school bus, he learns resourcefulness.


Harriett Dean, mother of my best friend Dianna, takes us swimming at Lake Spivey. Harriett Dean spreads out a towel and settles herself with a good book while Dianna and I run to the water. Quickly tiring of the pick-up game of Marco Polo and knowing it is too early to get the inevitable grape snow-cone, Dianna gets out of the lake, climbs onto the concrete block wall, grabs her nose, and leaps feet first into the water.

The smile that wraps around her face as she comes to the surface, shaking the excess water from her curls-from-a-box hair tells me this is some fun I want to have, too. I hoist myself up on the wall, walk out to where I think Dianna jumped from, and leap. When I come to the surface, I’m too far out in the dreaded deep end. My feet can’t find the bottom, and every time I try to yell for help, my mouth fills with water leaving no  room for sound. Dianna is making her way back out of the lake for another jump. Harriett Dean is laying face down on the towel now, tanning her back. Nobody else knows or notices me. I am going to drown, and I’m not even sure how they’ll find me because this is a lake, not a swimming pool.

Eventually I dog paddle my way to the shallow end. I will need a nap, but I will live.

From swimming, I learn that just because my friend friend can do something doesn’t mean I can do it, too..

They were to jump from the 40-foot platform because that’s roughly the same distance to the pool as the ship’s deck is to the ocean. He wasn’t afraid because he knew how to swim – his mama made sure of that – but he was puzzled when the Navy survival course instructor barked, “Black people can’t swim, so those of you who can swim form a line over here, and those who can’t swim, fall in behind the two black boys.”

Surprised to learn that black people can’t swim – something he’s been doing his whole life – he watches as self-declared non-swimmers fall in line behind him while his friend Austin, the only other black man within sight, takes a place at the front of the Can Swim Line. One man jumps in, comes to the surface, and swims to the side of the pool. Another does the same, and now it’s Austin’s turn. Austin leaps into the water easy enough, but he goes straight to the bottom and stays there. “We have a rock,” the instructor calls out before he and his assistant dive in to pull Austin to the surface.

Sputtering and coughing as one is wont to do after spending unplanned time under water. Austin catches his breath, looks up at the instructor, and asks wryly, “Which one did you say is the line for those who can’t swim?”

From a swimming training session, he learns stereotyping.


Excerpts of stories from the memory banks of two people – a black man and a white woman who are roughly the same age and who grew up not too far from each other. I learned a lot about racism, racial inequality, and the power of listening and bearing witness that story-swapping afternoon.

I asked which term I should use: desegregation or integration. He prefers desegregation. Why?  Because desegregation brought us together, allowing black to keep their own culture and community. Integration implies they must lose their culture for us to live side by side.

It was the best conversation about race, racism, racial inequality, segregation, and integration I’ve ever had. It happened with a stranger, and it happened because it was true conversation – no attempt or need to convert; no accusations and anger; no finger wagging. Just good old-fashioned back-and-forth conversation, complete with deep listening, bearing witness, and asking questions that rose from a place of curiosity, of sincerely wanting to know more. Chalk one up to the reaffirmation of the  power and value of storytelling and good old-fashioned conversation.

Let’s Talk Pin Poppets

My Fainting Couch Pin Cushion

Thanks to COVID-19, I have time to carefully gaze upon and consider various objects I live with. Today  I pay special attention to and ponder pin cushions. In the Middle Ages, pin cushions were called by several names, my favorite being Pin-Poppet (in no small part because that’s what Sharon Howell, my friend from across The Pond, calls me). Pin Poppets were a way to showcase prized collections of needles and pins. Having a plethora of pins and needles was an apparent status signal, probably because pins and needles were expensive to make or purchase, what with the need for swords and protective body armor being so great and all.

The familiar tomato pin cushion came into play during the Victorian era when tradition held that placing a tomato  on your mantel kept evil spirits at bay. (Next time maybe we’ll talk about my favorite way to keep the dreaded evil spirits moving on past my house: colorful bottles.) What to do when tomatoes were out of season? Grab some red cloth, fill it with sawdust or dirt, tie it up, and hope the evil spirits had wet macular degeneration. As was the hallmark of Victorian home decoration practice, it wasn’t unusual for women to fill parlors to the brim with  pin cushions of every hue and design, and their most prized pin cushion was always the ubiquitous tomato pin cushion that did double duty monitoring evil spirits and storing pins and needles.

I can’t remember ever owning a tomato pin cushion. Does that surprise you? My studio is a tiny little ole’ space, which means I don’t keep anything that isn’t cherished or needed, but I do stray towards excess when it comes to pin cushions. I have five, and they’re all favorites.

I discovered my Fainting Couch Pin Cushion in a little church bazaar in beautiful downtown Cashiers, NC. The price tag said $5, and the volunteer apparently misread my appreciative gaze with price reluctance because she immediately blurted out, “I’ll sell it to you for $3.” Money well spent, if you ask me. Not only can my pins and needles recline in comfort as they wait to be called into action, but there’s storage space underneath. All this for only $3.00 (I offered to pay her the full $5.00, but she wouldn’t take it.)


This little beauty comes from my friend Peggy Thomas, a woman who is fearless in the face of big projects like creating the searchable database for The 70273 Project (Speaking is that, Peggy and Gladys Loewen – also a wicked good organizer and fearless woman –  need volunteers to enter info, so if you know your way around Dropbox and an Excel sheet – or are willing to learn – and would like to do something productive and hugely appreciated by people around the world, let me know!) Isn’t it adorable?  It lives on my studio altar.

My friend and German Ambassador for The 70273 Project Uta Lenk gave me this pin cushion (gifted me the pins, too!) when I admired it while watching her stitch hexies during some down time at the Patchwork Gilde Exhibit in Celle, Germany a few years ago.

The Engineer surprised me with this heart-shaped wrist pin cushion – had it sent to me while I was staying with our daughter through some health issues she had several years ago. He heard me lament that I needed a pin cushion that went around my wrist, so he did what any amazing husband would do and went shopping to find one that’s heart-shaped. Perfect for a man who loves his wife (even after 47 years), the wife who was born on Valentine’s Day, right?

Last but definitely not least, this pin poppet belonged to my mother-in-law. I claimed it for myself after her death. She and I didn’t make quilts back then, but we did take many, many, many sewing classes together. Stretch ‘n Sew, to be exact. Remember that? And when The Engineer came into some money the first year we were married by winning a radio show contest, he went straight to his mother to ask what kind of sewing machine he should get me for Christmas. She sent him to the store to get one just like hers – an Elna  Super. I still use it. I wish I knew where she got this pin poppet, but that wouldn’t make me cherish it any more. As you can see, it’s made in colors of 1970s, and the base is velvet. It feels SO good resting in the palm of my hand.

Though I haven’t quite figured out all the details (I do already have the crushed walnut shells, though), I will eventually be making pin poppets from the tops to laundry detergent containers as soon as I get finished using them to draw circles for another project I’ll be telling you about later.

Now it’s your turn. You know I’d love to hear stories about your favorite pin poppets – ones you own, have inherited, or remember fondly. Feel free to use  my new, improved, easier-to-use commenting system or find me on Facebook or Instagram or join us around The 70273 Project Facebook Campfire to regale me with all your pin poppet stories.

The School Bell Tolls for Yours Truly

a bookcase filled with books and memorabilia

My bookcase – part library, part museum

Throughout my career as a college student, I took an overload of classes. Such is my nature. And now, thanks to sheltering-in-place and the willingness of so many teachers to offer their classes and workshops on zoom and other platforms, I am in overload heaven.

Here’s my current class schedule:

~ Get Right with Money offered by my amazing friend Nona Jordan
~ Yoga Nidra, also offered by Nona (Today is Day 21 of my self-designed 100+ Day Project: Operation Flexible Mind, Flexible Body.)
~ delicious offerings on quilting and life in general by my brilliant friend Jude Hill over at her internet nest called Spirit Cloth
~ Sharpened Visions: a Poetry Workshop (offered through Coursera by California Institute of the Arts)
~  Foundations of Positive Psychology, Resilience Skills (offered through Coursera by University of Pennsylvania. I’m writing a book about an incident in my family’s history – May 5 and 6, 1933 when my daddy’s family was held hostage by 5 armed bandits – and, judging by how they went on with their lives, resiliency seems to be something they excelled at.)
~ Art on the iPad, taught by Susie Monday
~ Convivial Creativity, offered by Carl Nordgren and Mark Tully through the  Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of North Carolina Asheville
~ Dream Yoga/Lucid Dreaming, offered by Linda Go through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute University of North Carolina Asheville
~ Seven historical lectures about the War Between the States and life during that era
~ Writing Raw with my long time amazing friend Julie Daley
 another one-time workshop on resiliency through the Resource Center for Women and Spirituality in the South
 4 art quilting classes I purchased a long time ago and kept meaning to get around to taking them
~ Supercharge Your Chakra Practice taught by A idea Judith
~ Sacred Beekeeping through

For the longest time I have petitioned the Sweet Spirit of Surprise to make learning opportunities available that I can get to and afford. She delivered, and I am oh so grateful, though I can’t decide if my hoggish behavior will energetically support continued online offerings of interest or drive them away. Let’s go with what’s behind Door #1: continued opportunities for me to learn from the comfort of my own studio, a place I can get myself to without inconveniencing The Engineer to play Driving Miss Jeanne. On February, I was given permission to drive, but after my last eye treatment, I’m afraid to put myself behind the wheel of anything but my computer.

Gotta’ scoot. Class in an hour, and I’m still not dressed. Wait – it doesn’t matter what I wear, so I choose yoga instead.

Oh, and by the way, I ditched my old, clunky commenting system and now have a shiny new system that’s easy to use, so tell me: how are you spending your at-home time theses days?

If a Tree Falls in the Middle of a Waterfall, Does It Make a Sound?

a tree in bloom over a waterfall

View from my Studio Window, Before

She buds.
She blooms.
Over the course of ten days, she comes into her full glory. Every day I sit looking out my studio window, mesmerized at the splendor of her branches gracefully sheltering the spot my log once called home.

Today, as I eat a pack of crackers and call it lunch, I listen to Clarissa Pinkola Estes tell the story of her trumpet vine and how its raucous blooming annoyed the neighbor man. One spring he harrumphed over and asked her to cut it down. “I can’t do that,” she told him. “It’s an old vine. And beautiful.” One day she arrives home to find that the neighbor man has cut the vine down to the ground. And on her side of the fence, mind you. Once the initial wave of grief passed, she digs up the vine, plants the roots, and in a short while, the vine is growing again.

blooming tree lays across waterfall

blooming tree over waterfall


broken tree


I cover my mouth in horror of the neighbor destroying the trumpet vine, pick up another cracker,  and look back out at my tree of graceful blooms . . . to find it laying in the water. Tracing it back with my eyes, i see where the tree trunk snapped, the blooming limbs landing in the falls. Once again I cover my mouth in horror and disbelief.

Later, while I am on a business call, The Engineer and Mother  go out, cut off a few small branches, smash the ends, dip them in a root-activating powder, and plant them in soil. The trumpet vine grew back, so I’m hopeful these will begin to sprout, too. Maybe in a few years, I’ll sit mesmerized under the beautiful blooms framing the waterfall (I’m on my 17th day of yoga, so I might be able to get down and back up by then – it could happen.) I’ll spread out a quilt and picnic under the gloriously blooming tree, telling her the story of her grandmother who once thrilled my eyes and salved my broken, grieving heart with her beauty.

You Wood Miss Her, Too

a waterfall

Last night was a brightly colored weather calendar.
Rain fell sideways for hours and hours and hours.
Wind threatened to turn our stationary house built upon a rock
into a house boat
and send us down the falls.
Thunder came in one gigantically long clap
that knocked pictures off the walls.

The lightning came indirectly from Mother Nature
as the electricity danced with our generator in a mechanical two-step
on, off
off, on.

It was a frightening night
to say the least.

We woke to an ebullient waterfall
telling us the story of last night in her own language
of loud, full, boisterous falls.

a waterfall

And then I noticed it.
My log was not there.

a waterfall

Years ago, in another night of
raging, threatening weather,
the log was wrested from the place  she then called home
and came to perch on the edge of the largest drop
of our waterfall.
Right on the edge, I tell you.

a log in the water

She lived on the edge
in shade and sun,
this log did,
with just enough of each
for her to become her own ecological system.
Plants sprouted on her
grew on her
bloomed  on her
then died on her.

a frozen waterfall

The water rushed around her.
The water froze around her.
Beavers skipped over her to get to the other side.
Driftwood pieces scooted by.
Some waved at her,
some didn’t find her worthy of attention.
And still she stayed just the way she was, this bole,
totally un affected.

A boy and a man play in a waterfall

One summer, she taught Handful how to play her version
of Pooh sticks.
His glee was infectious
just as she knew it would be.

She became my womentor,
I spent many an hour
talking to her
watching her
listening to her
learning from her.

I don’t mind telling you
that I already miss  her terribly.
I also don’t mind if you know that
I cried my way through the morning.
She may have looked like just a log
stuck on the edge of the falls,
but to me
she was more.
Much, much more.
She was my friend, my guide, my muse.

I admired her steadfastness,
her stillness,
how content she was being
a log.
She didn’t try to be water
or a boulder
or a bush.
And you know what?
As good friends as we were,
she never once asked me if the sticks
that attached themselves to her end
made her look fat.
She didn’t allow the rushing water
to steer her from her course
or move her from her perch
or frazzle her.
Nothing phased her.

She didn’t get flashy
or show off
or (try to) steal the spotlight from the falls.
Most people didn’t even notice her
till I pointed her out.
She was who she was
she was where she wanted to be,
she was fulfilling her life’s purpose,
and that was Enough.

I’ve been making some internal changes
in my life of late,
inspired in part
by The Log.

There have been other dramatic storms
since she took up here
so why did she choose last night
to let go and move on?

Perhaps she’s taught me everything I need to know.
Perhaps it was just plain time for her to go.
Perhaps you’ll say
”It was just a log.”
You’d be wrong.
But then again, maybe you’ll say
”I know you’ll miss her
and I understand why.”
and then you’ll be right
and I’ll be grateful.

Treatment #13: Will the Eyes Have It?

woman wearing hat and face mask

Wednesday, 08 April 2020, Day 29 of Sheltering-in-Place: Today is Eye Treatment #13, and as I both expected and feared, my vision has declined. Today I lost 10 letters.  That’s almost all the letters I’ve gained over the last year. Despite knowing the erosion of vision since the last visit, I am sad, bereft, and discouraged. I’ll take it easy tomorrow, then bounce back into the studio on Friday and get back to work making face masks. Thank y’all for your constant loving support.

Finding Smiles on Sheltering-in-Place Days 25 and 26

Saturday, 04 April 2020, Day 25

Gorgeous weather is the bearer of hope.

When we need more supplies to make masks, there is no choice but to go out. Before we enter the store, I give The Engineer a 4” x 44” strip of fabric with instructions to cover his nose and mouth then tie it in the back of his head, and I do the same. Next we both don gloves. Back in the truck, The Engineer says – and I quote – “I felt like an idiot when you made me wear that makeshift mask and gloves . . . and I think it’s the smartest thing you ever made me do.”

I choose yoga, sketching, and short poems for my 100 Day Project, and I start early with a Yoga Nidra this morning led by my amazing friend Nona Jordan. I haven’t adjectives to tell you how wonderful it was except to say that I am now looking forward to a spot of yoga in each day. Yoga will change my life. That much I’m sure of.

man pushing grocery cart

Small pleasures: walking through the grocery store downwind of the blue hyacinths that will soon grace our home.

a grandfather and grandson got out for a ride on the lawnmower

On the way home, we get behind a grandfather and his grandson who apparently decided to break the bindings of cabin fever by taking the lawnmower out for a spin.

There is much to smile about well before noon.

Sunday, 05 April 2020, Day 26

Handwritten sentences: I will not be cranky today.

Affirmations help some days.

fabrics and papers

Chore charts are set aside as we all pitch in to do what needs to be done while mask-making for friends and family continues full steam ahead. The floors are a  garden of thread and scraps of fabric. There’ll be plenty of time to sweep later.

47 Years Ago Today

Me, 10 days before meeting The Engineer

47 years ago today, The Engineer asked me to spend the rest of my life with  him. I’d been invited to a wedding shower and was voicing my reluctant enthusiasm about the prospect of attending. He tapped my nose with one finger and said, “You know, when we get married, you’ll have to go to wedding showers.”

“But you haven’t asked me,” I managed to blurt despite the somersaults of my heart.

Silence, 2, 3, 4 . . . then  “Well, will you?”

”Will I what?” I said, turning to look him squarely face-to-face. “If you want me to marry you, you’ll have to be clear in your proposal. I request and require clarity so there’s no misunderstanding.”

He slid off the sofa, took to one knee, held my hands while looking me straight in the irises and asked, ”Will you marry me?”

”I sure will!” I said on my way to planting a big fat kiss on his mouth.

Before he left that night, we sat outside in the swing, quietly reflecting on what happened earlier. “Let’s not tell anybody just yet,” he suggested – an idea with which I fully agreed. We both wanted to sleep on it, it turns out, to be quite sure in the light of day, and besides, it was April Fool’s Day, after all.

We met on Saturday, January 27, 1973
became engaged on April 1, 1973
said “You bet I will” (a.k.a. got married_ on July 31, 1973 – six months after we met.

It all happened quite fast, our togetherness, and I haven’t regretted my decision once (although if I knew then what I know today on Day 21 of The Great Sheltering-in-Place Adventure, I’d’ve asked him to study hairdressing on the side).

Sheltering-in-Place Days 17, 18, 19, 20

Waterfalls, moss, boulders, plants

A view of a different part of the waterfall as we walk up the path, holding onto the handrail The Engineer built for me when I was first diagnosed with wet macular degeneration

Friday, Day 17 ~ 3.27.2020 ~ Cashiers, NC

It’s 10 a.m. and we are just getting up. While I fantasize about sleeping late, actually doing it ruins the entire day for me. By 10 a.m. I should have much of my To Do List done. Then and only then do I earn time to stitch and write, says the dreaded Voice of Authority on the Committee of Jeanne. (The other COJ members are saving up for a firing squad. I just might create something to sell and contribute to the cause.) Daily accomplishment/productivity is important to my mental health and survival during times like this.

Planning book on red fabric

My weekly planner that functions more like a record/ledger

This year I’m using the Ink + Volt Planner.  I love the look and feel of the red book linen cover and the two ribbon markers, though I only use one so far. Weekly “planning” works better for me this year, though I don’t use the planner quite as it Is designed to be used. So far (and especially now) I use a sticky note (fear of commitment?) to create a Task Well – a list of things I would like to accomplish during the week. Once I’ve done something from the well, I note it in the day it was accomplished (in pencil – again, I ask: fear of commitment?), complete with a box that I then tick off in green ink.  I like structure and accomplishment –  I thrive on structure and accomplishment – I miss structure and accomplishment, but I find it incredibly hard to come by now when time is in plentiful supply. Is it grief or avoidance?

The NC governor issued the official shelter-in-place decree for NC, effective from 5 p.m. Monday, March 30, 2020 to April 29, 2020. We – Mother, Alison, The Engineer, and I – have already been at this for more than two weeks, but there’s something unsettling about it being official and applicable to everyone in the state.

Hosta, moss-covered tree stump

Hope (hosta reaching to the sun) and History (moss covered tree stump)

Saturday, Day 18 ~ 3.28.2020 ~ Cashiers, NC/Fayetteville, GA/Cashiers, NC

Last night Alison said she missed her jewelry, and that sparked an idea that The Engineer fortunately agreed with. We spent the day in the truck, driving to Georgia and back, giving Mother and Alison an hour in their homes to fetch creature comforts and necessities.  It still feels like we’re in a post-apocalyptic movie when we leave the house. They made their lists on the drive down, and they each forgot only one item.

The roads are eerily empty, and I am relieved that there are state patrol cars at the state line. Even though the governor’s decree doesn’t go into effect till Monday evening, it feels like we are doing something wrong, scary, dangerous.  In nearby Highlands, police are stationed at each end of Main Street because apparently people are renting cabins and coming up expecting to shop and dine as if on holiday. The governor as well as Jackson and Macon County officials add into their decree that any rentals less than a month in duration (unless for essential workers) must be canceled and anybody coming up to stay a while must bring enough food and medicine to get them through the two weeks they will spend in self-quarantine.

It was a good day. I close it out as I always do, with a list of Grins and Gratitudes.

Chore chart

Chore Chart V.2

Sunday, Day 19 ~ 3.29.2020 ~ Cashiers, NC

It’s surprising how tiring 9 hours in the car can be. We sleep late, nap long, and continue  binge watching Downton Abbey late into the night.

During our waking hours, I hand out the new individualized Chore Charts I created – one for everybody – intended to keep everyone in their own lane, doing their own chores. Each chart has space for everyone to write in other things they want to accomplish (They’ll likely use it about as much as I use my store-bought planner.). I reduced the number of chores, deleting some and combining some, till I have 8 daily chores, two per person. Thursday will be out entire house day, so everybody adds one chore on Thursday. I write the chores on slips of paper, fold them, and let everybody draw – a DIY scheduling that relieves me of that thankless grumble-inducing task.

To sweeten the pot, I institute weekly challenges. This week it’s water intake. Whoever drinks the most water (measured in 8 oz increments) between Monday morning and Saturday night can hand off their 2 Sunday chores to the person of their choosing. (Even though I’m putting much back into their hands, I have a feeling I’ll be real busy on Sundays.) Another week it will be walking – whoever walks the most steps wins the challenge. That’s all I’ve been able to think of so far.

Small art quilt blocks

Small art quilts, lifelines during former dark days

Monday, Day 20 ~ 3.30.2020 ~ Cashiers, NC

I am cranky. I don’t want to be, and I try not to be, but I’m cranky, and I can list you reasons. I vow (again) to be kinder and friendlier, and even as I write that, I know that despite my best efforts, it won’t last. There’s simply not enough chocolate to carry me through. Should a chocolate shortage develop, you’ll find me eating bark and vines and howling at the sky from atop our chimney made of gravestones.

Today while trying yet again to bring order to The Dissenter’s Chapel & Snug (my studio) (I believe physical environments enkindled and/or support emotional and mental environments, and I need all the help I can get!), I find the small blocks I made during some dark days I lived through in the Way Back When. Funny how many of them I remember. I immediately envision ways to bring them together in one art piece, but my heart settles on nothing yet. It will come, and I think it involves rope. That’s all I know for now.

Supper is at 6 p.m. every day, and for dessert, I stitch as we binge watch episodes of Downton Abbey. (We’re on season 6 and planning to watch the movie next.) Then I think we should make a list and watch movies featuring people who find themselves plucked from their normal everyday life and marooned in a new, surreal existence. Who knows? Maybe we’;ll find them motivational, maybe educational.

Maybe I’ll gift myself a couple of just-stitching days and that’ll be just the ticket I need to get me in productive motion again. Shoot, maybe I’ll even spend some serious time on that book I’m itching to write.

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