Day after Deaf Day

I had a rather rough week.  It’s gone, and there’s no reason to dwell on it. But even though the worst was over by Friday, I was still utterly exhausted on Saturday night, when I hit a huge low, became acutely homesick.

Mary had offered me her house for the weekend while she was visiting her family, but I couldn’t take her up on it; I had to be here. So I sat in the studio Saturday, using up wet sheets left over from the week’s demos on little objects, available for advice.  I skipped dinner, went into town and splurged on a recent novel and some takeout…but then, hit that low when I returned.

Fortunately, I got some sleep and it’s helped. Today it’s lovely and sunny and warm, in the 80s. It is the Easter holiday and there was a massive egg-hunt. During the week I made two rather silly eggs to contribute to it (as well as two martini glasses for one of Friday’s two events, the only one I attended), but the very last thing I want is a crowd right now. I’m skipping everything today: the hunt, the brunch, wireless access in the studio, and the studio itself. I may skip dinner and wait to publish this till tomorrow as well. I found some window screens and am airing out the winter-musty house where I stay, while reading my novel on the porch in the balmy air, eating my own food, doing laundry during my actual laundry hours for once, drying my jeans in the sun and being deaf and peaceful, relaxed and content. Later, I’ll go for a walk.

Two weeks from today I’ll be in southern Ohio, visiting a dear friend, and then, home: to Paul, to Lupe, to my garden (I found some seeds in anticipation: flax!) and to my studio, where I’ll be able to return to my own work. Spring Concentration at Penland is not like a residency, at least not for instructors, but it’s utterly beautiful here in the mountains; the wisteria has begun to bloom up here, and the lilacs and dogwood and tulips are in full glory, irises are just peeking out enough to see a tip of color, and the green has crawled slowly up almost to the peaks. I’m sorry I’ll be leaving before the rhododendron show, but I’ll be very glad to be home, too.

Spring, Sporadic

…Another Penland week. It was a nice one thanks to the previous weekend’s rest, the new voluntary demonstration attendance policy, and the fact that a friend who deserved time to try something new was here taking a one-week class.  Also, Heather did one day’s demo, on wax / encaustic surface treatments, a very popular thing I don’t do (I tried a bit after class). There’s one more week of demos to go, all mine, and then folks are on their own. Somewhere in there we’re meant to make martini glasses (for us, out of paper), Easter eggs, and something for the auction, I think in that order.  Though they are all really optional projects. So I made one of my demos this week fit the bill for an auction project (as well as two of next week’s). I beat fiber (flax) for it today, and I also had time this week to pulp down a once-favorite soft blue linen shirt that was just about ready to disintegrate on its own, but not to make sheets…hopefully, tomorrow.  The weather is still odd, sort of coughing up spring in little chunks, and then suddenly cold or storming or both, and it makes everyone tired. But finally on the mountains you can see green other than pines, the trees are sprouting wee leaf buds now on all but the highest elevations. The three one-week classes are finished, and the three-day board meeting is over (surprisingly, I knew two people on the board from elsewhere; it was very good to visit with them);   a huge influx of people at mealtimes.  Now (I think!) it’s just us 8-week folk, for 3 more weeks exactly.

R & R

This is on one of my regular Penland walks…I call it the Lazarus door.

A three day weekend was absolutely what I needed.  I re-did the class demo schedule and left Saturday just before lunch.  It began raining just as I got to Mary’s. The house key was easy to locate; I hit the grocery and finished off a pile of nagging non-Penland office-type work during a thunderstorm, did laundry, played with cats, made my own dinner, watched a captioned dvd, did not set the alarm when I went to bed.

On Sunday… I…did…nothing. Read a novel out on the deck in warm sun accompanied by a perfect mild blossom-scented breeze, occasionally stopped and wandered Mary’s impressive, varied gardens, went for an early evening walk up the hill and back down, and was blissfully deaf. Ahhhh.

Mary came home later that evening from her mushroom-hunting foray with 150 morels! We shared some wine. Monday, we went to Asheville in her truck, picked up 300 pounds of sand, visited a few places including Asheville Book Works (very nice!) and ate a delicious Himalayan buffet lunch.  Back to Black Mountain for a few more stops here & there, a walk and some gelato…it was hot. My car said it was 86 degrees outside, but as I climbed back up to Penland, it slowly dropped to 79. I was so ‘busy relaxing’ all weekend that I didn’t take any photos, but spring is more advanced further down, and for this northerner, the most spectacular sight of all was wisteria running wild in full bloom. Today, it’s rainy and cool but finally not cold, and the class went well, and friend Eileen is here for a week-long class.

My favourite place in Spruce Pine:

Blue Ridge

It was a simultaneously tough and great week, as full of ups and downs, twists and turns as the mountain roads here…or the weather, which went from 74 degrees and sunny Monday to an overnight storm that still had some Western NC communities left without power and with lots of wind damage as of yesterday. It also had Penland wake to icy, stinging snow, cold and terrific winds on Tuesday.

Wednesday, once again, was lovely, sunny and mild.  The tenor of my teaching days approximated the weather: great Monday, awful Tuesday, excellent Wednesday…so, when yesterday came with equally lovely weather, I anticipated another good teaching day, and was blindsided when it was not.  I don’t know why, but it took all day for six people to do prep that a dozen or more have done in previous classes in less than two hours; it still wasn’t done by 4 when I wanted to leave. I gave up and took off, intending to just head into Spruce Pine (the nearest town) to replenish personal supplies and come right back.

Instead, I kept driving, onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I drove its lovely curves, stopped for many of its breathtaking views, and to take several short hikes.  I skipped dinner and stayed up there, feeling the caress of the sweet soft air and thinking of old dear departed friend Ed, Mary’s husband.  He was in a lot of pain, often, in his last years, but he had his motorcycle, and he would ride the Parkway often; he told me, “It’s good for what ails ya.” It was.

Today we wrapped up what I thought would have easily been done yesterday, and I demonstrated what needed to be done to progress the project; the class has the weekend and Monday to do the prep, much more than ample time.  As for me, I’m taking a three-day weekend, and I’ve thrown the syllabus out the window.  From here on out, my demos and talks and access to my expertise are optional. It’s not a credit course, so if someone wants to throw away the tuition, that’s their decision. Mary is gone for the weekend, but she told me where the spare key is, and said, “Mi casa es su casa, mi refrigerator es su refrigerator.” and I intend to have some R&R, hang out with the cats, and maybe explore Asheville. And I’ll take the Parkway back.

Why Try?

Why try to blog?  Too much to doooo…I’m just trying to keep this thing going for awhile, till I can evolve it later this year, I hope. My time here is halfway done, which seems incredible.  I’m just now feeling like I mostly know the ropes.  After a week of rain and cold, it’s now turned lovely, wildflowers and blossoming trees, which always happens after Edible Books.

The crew. Front: Josiah.  Middle, L to R: Pat, Barbara, Heather, Kelly, Amanda, Jenna.  Back: me, Linnie.

Our Edible Books event rocked!  The class was totally enthusiastic, worked hard, made gorgeous and/or hilarious books, and so did a surprising number of other people.  It was so nice to once again be able to shout the official proclamation (though I did not, as once was traditional, stand on a chair), “Eat Book!”

I kept this one.  Not only was it a contribution from someone I respect, it just underscores how I am looking at things in general these days. “Edible with patience (+ a little water).”

I’m trying to make the web page for the event: still waiting for photos.  Maybe today, during my laundry hours?  One can but hope; watch this space for the link. I advertised it as The First Annual All Penland Edible Books Festival, which made some purists cringe (sigh), but for me projects into the future. I did add the clarifying ‘(we hope)’. And I do sincerely hope Edible Books becomes a tradition here.  Internationally, it was the Twelfth Annual Festival.  Of course, I raised a glass (actually a few) to Judith Hoffberg.

Edible was followed last night by the Poly Prom.  In the afternoon, I ran out to two local thrift stores and found an appropriately disgusting jacket for $3 at the second, unintentionally but happily replenished my stock of evening-reading paperbacks at the first.  I didn’t stay at the prom long, maybe 20 minutes; it was the worst possible deaf-person scenario, which I knew would be the case: loud music, shifting light from the original Wonka movie being screened as a backdrop, lots of talking, shouting, shrieking, laughing – it looked like a blast!  That was fine with me.  I started reading one of the paperbacks and got some sleep, but I don’t think anyone else did.  Noisy campus?  No problem for deaf people. Things all work out. I’ll try to remember that as I address my formidable to-do list today.