Update about blog

Barbara Rogers 2020

My other blogs: Alchemy of Clay
Three Family Trees...the Swasey, Booth and Rogers families

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Forcing spring

Does it work? Momma Nature (Gaia I call her) has been tricky with nice warm days in February, and then a few which are below freezing. The other day I woke at 7 to frost on my car and the roof of the apartment building downhill from me. It then was sweater weather at 3pm of 56 degrees.

Rain was due the next day.

I was gifted with a nice big branch of Forsythia, which has been inside at a window, sometimes getting some sun, at least more consistently warm than outdoors. I was hoping for beautiful yellow buttery flowers.

I don't know what makes some buds turn into leaves, and some into flowers. Of course Momma Nature must know, and the buds were thus determined long before they open.  So this is how it is.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Enjoying February in Black Mountain

A great view of the YMCA's Blue Ridge Assembly building over the valley...and across Lake Tomahawk.  Dampnesss in the air acts as a magnifier of distances.

See the little red roof through the trees from my balcony? I'm actually much closer to the BR Assembly building, but this day the moisture in the air kind of made it harder to see it.

Here's another view from my apartment. I get to see the other side of the valley only for 4-5 months of the year...which is just fine with me.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Going down Black Mountain Ave

 Foothills meats is also a restaurant. I haven't eaten there yet, because I'm kind of vegetarian.

 I drop by the Black Mountain Natrual Foods store occasionally, today to get some more chocolate covered ginger.
 I also pick up Traditional Medicinal teas...especially the one for Breathe Easy.

At the end of the road is a bridge, and a view of the on-ramp onto I-40 going west.  And the new hotel in town...a Hampton Inn.  I've heard there's a salt water pool there, but they don't allow locals to come use it. Mmm, may have to invite some family to stay there so I can try it out, since I'm really allergic to chlorinated pools.

The Swannanoa River, in one of its many branches, runs under the bridge...here looking to the east where it comes from...

 And here looking west as it flows toward Swannanoa, the unincorporated town.

All the Town of Black Mountain offices are now in this grey building just to the right of the river, which once was a car dealership, and more recently Fabric and Foam. I wonder if they've thought of a new name for it yet.

Across from the Town Offices is the Stove and Chimney store. They have a somewhat tarnished reputation from the adult son of the owners having put a hidden video camera in the ladies rest room.  Yep, that was on the news. Glad I don't want to get a stove or chimney! It's kind of a fun building, which has been in the process of being built for about 5 years. The owners also aren't very high on customer service, according to one of my friends. Well, every town has someone like that, and mostly  they don't tell the things known about them.

Monday, February 17, 2020

A spread at the reception

A few days ago we had an opening reception at the Red House Gallery, of which I'm a member.  This is the pretty table ready to have guests have snacks, and oh my, such delicious deserts.

 A bit of a Valentine theme...

Ed had just purchased a painting (which I managed as clerical volunteer) and here another member serves him the first piece of the coconut cake made by Sheila, who also arranged all the food.

Here's Ed and his new picture by Rachael K.Clegg.

The Red House Gallery is home of the Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League, of which I'm a member.  More of this show is being shared in my blog about art "Alchemy of Clay."

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Are you going to vote?

About this time I get so tired of seeing the commercials for all the politicians running for office. And about half of them aren't even for offices in my state, because the only local TV station shares info for South Carolina as well as North Carolina.  The other 2 "local" stations broadcast from South Carolina completely, so I only watch national news on them.

I have a mute button to turn off all commercials.

And yet, I have to figure out who to vote for.

Our early voting has started.

And thanks to the Republican gerry-mandering in North Carolina, which has now been declared null and void or illegal, by some courts (supreme?) we have reverted to an earlier set of precincts, so some of our North Carolina and US offices are now in my district again.  For the forum the other night, one candidate said he had just found out he was running in Asheville and he hadn't been, up till that decision.

So I will watch the candidates introduce themselves on the video that my friend took at the forum, and their brief speeches.

And as my friend Linda said (quoting someone else) "Vote for a light post to run against the fool in the white house...it would be an improvement."

But this is a year I certainly won't stay home, thinking my choice doesn't matter.  It really does this time. And half of my choice will be based on who can win. OK, those are just my opinions. Who are you going to vote for?

Here's a humorous YouTube video about "The Day Democracy Died," sung by the Founding Fathers.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Crowded long tables

We've all attended some banquets, feasts, or large group dining!

Holly Jolly sales room, 2017 December. This shot is looking over the top of my display towards Pat.
These photos from a few years back show a crowd that gathered one evening to look at long tables spread with - yep, pottery!

And some of our potters do more sculptural things, like Dori English's display in 2017.

 Here's Fred with his whimsical wares.

Freida made sculptures like purses out of clay that year.

And Sally had different kinds of trinkets.

Suzie and Carie had more functional pieces...to get ready for a banquet, right?

I have Crowd-a-phobia.  It' otherwise known as Enochlophobia...
... known by different names such as Ochlophobia and Demophobia. As the name indicates, this phobia consists of an irrational fear of large crowds and gatherings of people. Enochlophobia is closely related to Agoraphobia (which is the fear of and desire to avoid situations wherein one believes s/he may be subjected to incapacitation, humiliation etc).
Actually I avoid going out most nights because of having cataracts, which make driving a bit difficult...glare of oncoming headlights particularly bothers me. And I hate how cataracts influence my life, such that I avoid driving at night often.

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt photo shows many men, each with their own bottle of something liquid and probably alcoholic, eating in a crowd.  Come on over HERE and see what other bloggers have come up with following this theme.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Holding place for peace

What way can I help move our world to peace right now, this minute, wherever I am, and whatever I am doing?

Enlarge that saying/poem, and think about it, please.

If we don't pay attention and learn from history, we may repeat it!

I acknowledge that its my header at this time, but I frequently change that, so this is included again!

I am posting things that speak to me of reasons 40 years ago when I named my son "Peace" (Tai, from the I Ching.)

"Love is the answer." That's really tough to hold in your emotions when you see what hate can and does do...whether in history or these days. Many people have studied the dynamics of hatred, of the spiral of destruction, and become peace makers. This is what they've concluded...love.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
So the exercise of Tonglen (from Yoga) gives me the opportunity to work on that impossible-sounding approach to the most hateful situations and people. I must start, of course, with approaching the aspects of life closest to myself and explore my own hateful feelings and see how to transform them to love. After all, we can't change other people's feelings, only our own...look at that good old 12 Step Program prayer..."to change the things I can."

But assuming that I've practiced this for a long time, I can then move my thoughts to larger areas where hatred and fear is predominate. And eventually I will wish nothing but good outcomes, peacefulness and love for all the world, and all the sad and mistaken politicians full of their own hateful narrow minded attitudes. Yep, I hope eventually to see them with love and forgiveness. (Believe me, this will take a while, maybe not even this lifetime!) 

In the meantime, I envision them in cocoons of silken threads that envelope their actions and hold them in a room of mirrors where their energy just goes right back into them. Is that too much to wish for? Well, it's a step on the path.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The sunny snowy creek again

A big stone may hold heat or cold...here it has a last smattering of snow before the sun gets much higher.

 There's actually a ford that this road leads to, a rocky crossing that's shallow where the utility trucks cross Flat Creek. I'm not sure what the little building holds..perhaps electrical equipment.

 The new railing is still fresh enough to look like green lumber. That will change with the weather of course.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

IBS - seldom the topic of conversation

Irritable Bowel Syndrome - IBS.
Apparently my doc never gave me that diagnosis. But he's sent me to a gastroenterologist. (And I spelled that right on my first try!)

But all the tests didn't show anything. Which might be good, but it just meant paying for a specialist who prefers to do surgery on people (to help them of course) or at least to take pictures of their intestines.

And as I complained to a nurse on the way out, (saying I still was having symptoms) she gave me a handout about the Low FODMAP diet...this was over 8 years ago. Anyway it was pretty confusing, but I happened to look in our local used book store and found this book, which included menus as well as details of how it works.

So I tried doing the restrictive diet for the several weeks as recommended...then would add just one of the possible types of food that I was "allergic to." The allergy in this case would then cause my symptoms.

If they didn't return, I could add that food gradually back to my diet, and if they did return...no way.

So by the end of this time, I could only eat small amounts of milk products, small amounts of things like broccoli, and no legumes. Skip all beans, including soy products! But I could still have some nuts.

I should mention that I'm not recommending this as a treatment for anyone else.  Work with your physician for whatever is troubling you!

I tried living with a restricted diet following my Low-FODMAP personal tests for about 6 months, including visiting relatives and telling them I wasn't eating certain things, and that they could go ahead and fix foods they eat and I'd just pick things out that I couldn't. Of course because they loved me, they cooked only what I could eat.

I discovered part of my problem was frequently having antibiotics (for other life-threatening conditions) which kill all the friendly bacteria in my gut. That's when I discovered pro-biotics. (Ask your pharmacist, they know a LOT about side effects of drugs we take.) I found they (pro-biotics) were helpful, not only when taking the antibiotics, but afterward also.  But I didn't take them all the time...as I figured after a while the billions had probably made a home in my intestines. I know other folks that take them all the time.

And then I started a daily dose of Benefiber...which is a bit of fiber that can be stirred into almost any liquid, and it disappears in my coffee each morning.

 I am no longer avoiding legumes, or sodas, or even milk products. But I just have yogurt or creamer. And only one legume for every couple of days. I have a soda as a treat. I'm even trying to be vegetarian! And I still have flareups. My doc put me on dicylomine which diminishes the cramping that I still get...but not as constantly.

But as I am using my mental capacity as well as my dietary needs, I've followed the ideas from John O'Donahue by my own extension of naming my various illnesses and treating them as companions, if not friends.

So my IBS is now "Aunty Dia-Maria and her millions of microbes."

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A place of beauty

We'd had a dusting of snow the day before, followed by a morning of fog and chill.
But before going to church I decided to see how the creek was doing, if there might be any snow left along it.
And as I drove over there, the sun came out! Yay!

 New rails on the bridge may not be as picturesque as the old ones, but they are certainly more reliable!

The sweet Rhododendron leaves are always green, but covered with frosting of snow. They'll survive just fine however.