Category Archives: odds and ends

May Miscellany

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about all the various goings-on in my life lately, but haven’t found a way to write all the loose ends together.

One dumb idea was to use the theme of Lines or Separations, Old and New. Oh, my, that was unwieldy. But a few pictures that I found might have worked with that theme.

In the back yard pool the plumbing got completely blocked with matted spruce needles from the neighbors’ tree. We had to call a repairman, but by the time he arrived and blew out the plug with CO2, B. had mentioned our problem to the neighbors and they cut down the tree! I hope they will finish off the tall stump soon.

Even now this oak hardwood is being turned into floors in our house, but I took the photo when it was sitting in the family room acclimating for two weeks.

I noticed how the lines of iron railing make an X over the stairs, as though to signify that they will not exist in their same form after they get some of that beautiful oak covering them. But in the meantime my elbow complained from pulling staples out.

The most troublesome line of all is this one, below, on the ceiling that flows without a border from the family room into the kitchen. The kitchen has satin paint but the family room has flat paint. I’ve been working hard, on a ladder several times with a brush or a little roller, painstakingly trying to get a straight line between the old textured kitchen surface and the new smooth family room ceiling. I’m not yet finished, but I hope all that’s left is to roll once more some flat paint on the family room side.

It never occurred to me to have a complete hiatus in my doll-making efforts. I wanted some wool for stuffing the dolls. It is a long story, and I can’t decide if it is horrible or hilarious, but in any case it is too painful to tell, how I ended up with ten pounds of raw and dirty sheep’s wool that is so full of foxtails that no one would believe it. Nature Girl says that if one wants foxtail-free wool one probably has to get it somewhere besides California. But I’m not asking for that; I’d just like some 90% cleaner than what I got this time.

My first picture of the wool shows it at its most appealing. If you click on the photo you can see close up the lines of golden lanolin.

I have spent hours pulling out foxtails, and I thought I got them all out before washing it, during the skirting process, but afterward I discovered a million more, and that was just in a pound or two of the wool. The next two pictures show my post-washing sorting project, and a wad of stickers I removed with wool fibers still clinging. Now I have to wash it again to get out the dirt that the hidden foxtails held on to through the first three washings.

Before I leave this topic, I have to say that I love the wool, even though I got a bad batch. Working with it before washing, I couldn’t stop sniffing at my hands with the good-smelling lanolin on them, and they felt so soft, too. Now that the lanolin is out, the wool is white and fluffy where it isn’t still dirty. Makes me think that spinning would be satisfying, too. 

When I had my new stove functioning for two weeks I baked the last of the butternut squash from last summer.

And now that the stove is in the living room while the floors are being laid, I ran over to Wal-Mart and bought a GE electric kettle so I can make tea. That’s it sitting on the new kitchen counter.

Since I didn’t want to be in the way of the floor guys, I spent a long time at church one day, making communion bread, taking inventory in the bookstore, and removing several monster wheelbarrow loads of a pretty plant that had taken over one perennial bed.

When the plant is blooming, you get an impression of purple at the tips, but they droop down a bit, so it’s vague and not eye-catching. When I cleaned up some of the mess I found these flowers that had fallen off, lying on the blacktop like flower candycorn.

May has been mostly cold and wet, with a few sunny and warm hours to encourage seeds to sprout. The gardens have some lush growth of certain plants, and the largest snails I have ever seen. I was able to fit in another trip to see Seventh Grandson, and as I type he is sitting on The Quilt playing with his toys.

Doesn’t the Bible say something about lines falling in pleasant places? I could have used that verse, wherever it is, if I’d made this post all about lines.

Down Day

A nearly sleepless night following an exhausting day yesterday, made for a day where I felt dreadfully slow, and sickly in various ways, and wore my dunce cap all day, too. I lack good judgment when my body is this tired. That is, I can’t think well enough to know how to minimize the bad effects of extreme fatigue, and decision-making is a challenge. Last time this happened to me I went shoe-shopping because I had a birthday discount coupon at my favorite store, and I ended up spending a lot of money on the wrong thing, and could not get it back.

So at least I knew enough not to go to any stores. But I didn’t take a nap, because I thought, “Naps don’t usually work for me.” Now I think it would have been worth a try. I didn’t spend any money online, either, so that was good. I managed to come up with some short comments on other people’s blogs, but I couldn’t write anything long and thoughtful, so as to make progress on my book reviews, for example.

I accomplished about a tenth of what I’d put on my to-do list yesterday. I stayed home and did a little laundry, a little sorting of this and that, and I deadheaded the tea roses. I also picked a couple of rosebuds to add to this bouquet I started yesterday, from some of the things blooming in the yard.

Now I have taken my Benadryl, to make sure that I sleep deeply. I had to take it early, because it takes a good twelve hours to get out of my system. Tomorrow has its own long list of projects and I don’t want to risk another day down. Thank God I can afford to have a surprise slow day and not make a lot of people suffer for what I didn’t do.

If this quote from Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, is true, “God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind that I will never die,” then I will wake up again tomorrow and be delighted to see that my dunce cap is no where to be seen. 

Streets of the Modern Wild West

In my neighborhood there is a residential street named Filament. When we were first house-hunting here I thought how humiliating, to have to have one’s address be on “Filament Street.” That is not bad at all, I have now discovered.

How would you like to live on Deny Court? I’m not sure if I’d prefer to live there rather than on, say, Pretentious Way. I’d like it better if it were Denial Ct–that is something I can get my mind around, and most people who live in houses have to be personally familiar with the attitude.

In any case, I’d consider it risky to look for a house to buy, in some of the areas of Greater Sacramento where these and other strange names for streets are found. I might fall in love with a house on Elude Ct., and if it were a bargain, I would feel a lot of pressure to sell my literary soul for it. Do good deals tend to come up more often on streets with names like Image, Essence, Adorn and Agree? Perhaps if the quality for which the street is name is positive, like Esteem Ct. or Acclaim Dr., the houses cost more, not less.

Are the houses on Pretentious Way really so? Or are the people who live in them? Perhaps the residents are only illiterate foreigners. Forgive me, but I really can’t imagine. Many questions present themselves, such as, What sort of qualifications does one need to be a street-namer? I suspect that the naming agency nowadays pulls words out of the dictionary by means of a computer database.

As I think about it, many if not most street names that we are used to are concrete nouns, or common or proper names after plants and people, places or events. When you start having words for intangibles, or verbs and modifiers, it is bucking the sensible tradition and causes confusion in the mind every time you turn into your lane.

I didn’t like it when streets in new developments were called “Mountain Ave” or such like, even though there was no elevation even in sight. But at least we know what a mountain is, and it is a simple concrete and neutral thing.

But to live on Proper or Refined or Benevolent: it does sound as though the street, or the houses– or the people?–are being described. I don’t like that. These are all the true names of real residential streets I am listing!

Streets with number or letter names should be considered more, if they are running out of ideas. The picture is of the road on which my childhood home was located, and it had a number for a name. But this is the age when a lot of people make up new names for their children, and perhaps that is the next thing to look for in street names. It will happen in California.

There are also streets named for general categories. The typical School Street or University Ave usually refer to a specific example that is nearby, but one doesn’t usually run across Savant Drive any more than you would see a street named for houses, students, or cars. We might just as well have a street named Avenue, though I didn’t see that one. I did see Component Way, which goes into the same pocket of my mind as Filament Ct.

This aspect of our culture is so vast and jumbled, I am getting more confused and bored as I ramble on. Let me just say that if have to move to Sacramento, the street I will look on is Clarity Court.

Cubbies and Holes Question

When we were at the furniture refinishing shop the other day the owner showed us this piece that he is currently working on for other customers (who, it turned out, are members of our family!). No one knows what it was designed for. The holes in the bottom of the compartments are too big for shot glasses, and I think too big for egg cups, also. When it was found, some of the cubbyholes had labels attached in front, listing some of the United States. But you will notice there aren’t enough spaces for all 50. 

Does anyone out there have an educated guess as to the intended purpose of this furniture?