One sock, two sock…..

henrysockSomewhere around February, I started knitting…again….I had learned 30 plus years ago but it didn’t take…i didn’t need it.. i couldn’t have wrapped my head around just SITTING…. these days I am knitting while i am listening or watching – things that don’t require my hands, to the detriment of many other things.  I haven’t worked on anything else…blogs, manuscripts, publications..nothing that would make a profit… but i have turned out an afghan, a few dishtowels, scrub pads, a rather lovely shawl and ONE sock.

I confess I have fallen down the knitting rabbit hole rather far… but I recognized the hole before I got anywhere near it…and I made up a bunch of my ‘rules. It wasn’t that hard.. I still have an addictive personality but i don’t have the finances to support it.  Right now I am looking at a few boxes of yarn..my cache… i avoid even going INTO ‘yarn’ stores..if you been in one you’d know why… i have parsed knitting into recreational knitters and subsistence knitters..i am of the later… I am only wasting my time knitting things I can actually use and even then if i can avoid using buying A grade yarn the better.   The brown shawl used to be a small alpaca sweater purchased at for $2…unfortunately I have an entire trunk of Goodwill sweaters waiting to be unraveled….wool from all over the world all disguised as ugly sweaters for the moment. The socks on the other hand are new sock yarn, which I am resisting the urge to buy more of until I complete an actual Pair of socks..I keep unraveling them and doing them over, the 1st one in unraveled to make the second one, and the second one took me 14 tries.  shawl

Once I wrap my head around an aspect of knitting it sticks.. though my right hand is still a little fucked up, my biggest difficulty is SEEING the stitches, I like things like the socks where i can just measure.  Thankfully youtube is chockfull of knitting instructions and inspirational blogs – the videos are much more helpful than learning from a real person, it’s hard to get people to freeze frame and slowmotion backwards.

Ravelry.com  is the internet within the internet for knitters and crocheters, you need never have to pay for a pattern.  It also cross-references all the possible yarns and online places to get them, basically it satisfies all the possible yarn joneses.  There’s even a lovely corner for people like me, who unravel things to make other things.   Btw you can buy recycled yarn all over Ebay and Etsy, unless you are broke like me.

One of the things about knitting that I find endlessly fascinating and does feed into my raison d’etre, is the ability to unravel and recycle the yarn, or even just pick up the stitches on something and continue making it.  Granted you can try to get away with that in sewing, but it’s trickier..unless you are into patchwork, everything you are making is vastly smaller than the used fabric you are starting with.   Yarn doesn’t know that sort of limitation.  If you plot out the chess-like knitting notation on graph paper it is clear that it is completely binary, knit stitches and purl stitches which makes perfect sense to a brain like mine. Knitting is also similar to 3-D printing, you are creating all sides at the same time, the inside and the outside, as well as height and thickness.  Running  a soon to be felted slipper through a few hot wash loads yields a 3 dimensional object which started out as an unbroken line…a skein of yarn, I still think that’s pretty spectacular stunt.

Right now I am more interested in acquiring the skill, than acquiring a closet full of knitting items. I already have a few sweaters now, how many can I wear and I doubt I will ever be able to knit a a sweater as nice as the ones I have purchased, but I am using my new yarn knowledge to improve my thrift shopping. I have some really nice stuff now. But having the ability to churn out a new sock when I need one is empowering ( you know even the Egyptians used replaceable heels on their sock designs?)  I still need to finish this second sock before I start patting myself on the back.

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Hello, my name is Barrie.

img-thingNo, I am not making that up; that was the name I was born with: Barrie Elizabeth…..or so my bio-mom tells me. For long time readers of this erstwhile blog, you know that I didn’t share genetic material with my toxic parent and he-who-shall-not-be-named. And before you ask, NO, I never had an itch to track down my bio-parents; Herself sort of ruined the idea of adding MORE family into the mix. But never say never.

I got a letter and then a phone call from Catholic Charities, I was being sought. In the backwards-ass way the church works, the ONE person who isn’t allowed to look for you is your mother, but my bio-dad’s, sister did get them to find me. In an interesting aside:  she had zilch information on how to where to look, but she found an online post from my mother that handed her all that she needed to get started. So, separately they had no chance of finding me, but when combined it took very little time.

As it happens I took the call at work on Monday…..they had outdated contact information about my mother.. but when I got home, it only took me about 20 minutes online to find her contact information – hey I have stalked a few boyfriends in my time, this was literally child’s play…. I had everything, except her cell phone number…and being the impatient brat that I am…by about 6 o’clock I was sitting in my biomoms living room in Maine(!) having a gabfest with her and my new other mother – HEY, if they didn’t want someone to knock on the screen door saying ‘ I think you’re my mother’, they shouldn’t have moved to the same state – coincidence? I think not…..and as IF having ONE mother didn’t teach me a lesson, now I have TWO MORE!…yes, Joycey has two mommies…and two more birthdays to remember…and two more siblings..no four more siblings and I dunno, a few nieces and nephews..oy vey.

But wait, racefans…it gets better….the only reason I was in my biomoms living room on Monday is because my bioaunt didn’t answer her damn cellphone..otherwise the order of appearance would be reversed… my aunt and her hubby had been traveling through the Maine/NB corridor and had made it back to her daughter’s(my biocousin) home when I called her…”you know I can be there in about 90 minutes right? guess who’s coming to dinner?” So, 90 minutes later I was having ANOTHER chinwag on a deck in New Hampshire.   They were flying back to FLA this morning so it was then or Skype and that isn’t very satisfying first contact is it?  And along with the bioaunt comes a package deal of her hubby, and her kids- my biocousins and their kids…bio-somethings, I am really too old to start  flowcharting family members.

On Monday morning I only had the voices in my head keeping me company, and by Wednesday morning my damn Christmas Card list was SRO!   Do NOT assume that this is somehow emotional or traumatic FOR ME, it’s not, I don’t think teenagers should raise babies…..or even get car keys for that matter…. but I am finding it intellectually entertaining as all hell–the universe is a surprising place. But those two women had to wait 54 years for closure, and some folks like my biodad and his parents NEVER got any. For all they know the church could have pushed me down a mineshaft or sold me to a circus…wait, wait…now THERE’s an image…but seriously Herself was damaged goods, my  Mad Men era dad died in ’66 taking all her dreams with her, no wonder her insecurities ran roughshod over everything in her path… but aside from that, I lived a comfortable white middle class lifestyle where I wanted for nothing.  Pregnant teenagers had few choices in 1962 and I ended up being more fortunate with the results than others.

I am still not sure what I think of ‘Barrie’ as an actual NAME name…part of me thinks it maybe another reason teenagers shouldn’t name babies.   No offense Ellen, whom I am sure is reading this along with Bettie and Fran….hmm…. damnit, now I won’t be able to talk about them on here.  8(

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Chervil hunt

savorychervil Took a few days and a few phone calls but I found it….I didn’t even realize I needed it.

I started hunting for Chervil long after I had created my herb garden… too late in fact since there is barely any room left for even one more herb in that bed. I have become fascinated with a recipe I can’t make without it…well I can, but it wouldn’t be the same. Salted Herbes…Herbes Salées… a Quebecois condiment – which is as the name forecasts…herbs and salt, that’s it. You mince the herbs good and proper and salt the hell out of it and let them sit for a spell, draining all the fluids so you end up with something fluffy and green. One would add it to soups and stews and so forth. I have yet to taste it. There is one commercially sold brand here in Maine, but they are stingey on the herbs and it is made with only leeks, parsley and scallions; a shadow of the original recipe. Since it is a classic homestyle sort of thing, one can assume it varies from grandmother to grandmother.

from a A Taste of Quebec by Julian Armstrong
1 c Chopped fresh chives
1 c Chopped fresh savory
1 c Chopped fresh parsley
1 c Chopped fresh chervil
1 c Grated carrots
1 c Chopped celery leaves
1 c Chopped green onions
1/4 To 1/2 cup coarse salt

In a large bowl, combine herbs and vegetables. Layer a inch of herb mixture in the bottom of a crock or glass bowl and sprinkle with some of the salt. Repeat layers until all of the herb mixture and salt is used. Cover and refrigerate for 2 weeks. Drain off accumulated liquid and pack herb mixture into sterilized jars. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 5 to 6 cups.

herbgardenNow any American grocery store is gonna have everything on that list..EXCEPT, Chervil and Savory..Summer Savory in fact..which I have since figured out both are annuals…and not on my perennial garden shopping list. So, I started calling around,I even had to spell them out. But I finally find a place in Falmouth who had Chervil in pots…though at an inflated price. The Savory was a bit trickier..actually it didn’t take any effort at all..i bought it by accident. I had been poking around at the feed store wasting money on end of season herbs like Pineapple Sage and Cinnamon Basil, I bought another pot of what was labeled Winter Savory for 1.49…turns out it didn’t look anything LIKE my $5 Winter Savory, so I went back and bought the rest of them…the little plastic Winter Savory label even had the Summer Savory picture ..imagine an intense tarragon with an anise backbite.

Now, that I have both of these in the ground, I am going to have carefullysave the seeds for next year since it has to be direct sewn. Seems like an awful lot of bother when I could probably just leave them out and it would taste just as good, right? I dunno, I have yet to try this delicacy, I am too cheap to spend the $6 on 3/4 of a pint of the store bought but yet I will be beaucoup dollars tracking down each and every other ingredient; I do have chives and parsley in the garden already…but i may have to make some room next year for celery and green onion.

While I was tunneling down the French Canadian recipe rabbit hole I found a number of recipes that are improved by the addition of salty herbs, because they seem to lean towards the bland without it. Right now I have my eye on Fricot a la Belette which is Weasel Fricot/Weasel stew, essentially a meatless potato stew with flour dumplings, because the weasel stole the meat..get it? ya, it’s lame, it’s potatoes, what did you expect. Here’s a link to a nice blog post with a recipe. It’s summer here in Maine, I’m hoping to have a few jars of Salted Herbs come fall to make tasty winter fricots.

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Just One Damned thing After Another

2015-11-28 08_44_25-Just One Damned ThingI am on my SECOND run through this series by Jodi Taylor...the english writer not the american porn star.   Right now I am doing audio only for fiction so it makes it way easier to just revisit an entire series.

The Chronicles of St Mary’s starting with Just One Damn Thing After Another is a humorous science fiction adventure series in the vein of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next.

As I have described it to anyone who will listen..it’s as if Bridget Jones and Thursday Next had a baby and left it on Connie Willis’s doorstep to raise.   The series, told in the first person  a la Bridget Jones is very tea-swillingly British, the St Mary’s folks are a collegiate bunch running hell bent for leather through history with some romance, sex, betrayal and dinosaurs all mashed together like Oreo-cookie flavored ice cream.   It has all the best features of all the series I loved, and a timeless element that doesn’t tie it down to any one era.  I can see myself rereading these quite often.

The books…six so far since 2013….are from what is apparently a print on demand publisher. I have been buying the Kindle version allowing me to add the audio for a pittance making my outlay very small.  I am hoping that the author is probably getting a little more than she would from a trade publisher.  I feel I must proselytize about this series because I am getting way way way more enjoyment from it,  than I feel I have rightly paid for.

What I do feel bad is that I don’t yet own hard copies of these books. I tell people I buy a lot on Amazon but I don’t buy books…but I am kinda excluding audio versions.  After downsizing so much these last few years I don’t BUY very many hardcopies but when I find a book I really want, I use the search engine bookfinder.com and find a REAL bookseller who has a copy of it.  Especially since I am particular about the actual editions I want to buy, and you can’t be all that particular when buying from Amazon.

51iqvRSqojL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_My normal procedure would be to acquire a ‘NICE’ shelf copy, a First edition or an ARC of any books that I really love. I have those of The Martian and Ready Player One and Silver Pigs and Eyre Affair and so forth…. but the publisher being what it is, the books are not attractive, there’s no 1st edition, there’s no ARC and the cover art of the paper edition is FUGLY…let me reiterate ….very FUGLY, and I really just don’t want to dedicate a half a shelf to books i won’t open and don’t enjoy looking at. < so sad >

I really don’t understand why a trade publisher hasn’t come knocking on Ms. Taylor’s door, these books are as enjoyable AS the Thursday Next series and  IMHO I like them way way better than Harry Potter.  The author has created an entire universe, with time travel pods, lunch ladies, bad smells , romance, betrayal, sex and dinosaurs.  It would make a kick ass Doctor Whovian television series.

One really excellent marketing device is that the author issues free short stories …so for every book there is a free short story that occurs IN BETWEEN..except for the last one which was numbered 0.5 and was technically novella length.

The series is most definitely a genre mashup.  Not as technically detailed as a Michael Crichton’s TimeLine, though every bit as detail oriented as a J K Rowling that inspires you to curl up with a cuppa and a chocolate frog,  I am calling it  time travel adventure cozy. And I am recommending them wholeheartedly.

 

self sabotage

2015-11-22 10.55.48Martha enjoys the bedroom window view..which will be an interesting experience this coming winter, last year I was still sleeping in a corner of the living room on the couch and the dead branches went down to the ground.  So now I have this view from my desk…when  i get around to sitting there.

I opened this blog post 10 hours ago on one computer and moved to another computer 4 hours ago…and it has remained blank. It is difficult for me to write about things and not complain. I don’t know why i figured my life would be financially better now than it was before i moved, but it’s not and in a few ways wore. My life is better way way better, but that’s cause i have basically not thought any further than the next paycheck. Just remembered today that the company i am working at part time is closed two days this week but because i am owned by the temp agency i am shitout of luck…i am gonna have to put in all my hours in just three days. 1st world problem i know but i’m glad i remembered in time. I tried selling the company, i tried getting some outside work all to naught… so now i have all my eggs in a basket that keeps moving like migratory goalposts.

4b158010-438b-4b3d-b07d-c4c89f5777cbSo, I’m writing a book…I’ve been writing this book for quite a while now…what i thought i could finish by the end of the summer has become a larger project than i had planned. But it’s my 1st unique text I have felt like seeing in print, so it’s still demanding to see the light of day. And I am hoping that it will bring me in some pocket change. fingers crossed.

And this book…which i do manage to talk about to nearly everyone i meet in the real world, i haven’t mentioned much on this page. I didn’t want to jinx myself. It is a culmination..a distillation of all the crap i have learned in the last 50 years. It’s a how to manual for people who live alone, all the crap most people have to deal with, household, cooking, recreation, everything soup to nuts, like i said the damn thing is getting more involved the longer i go on with it. Consider it a mile wide and a foot deep, I hope. I’m at the point where i am putting the meat on all the bones, and if i SAT at my desk and worked i’d have a good chance of finishing it. Instead i waste hours ‘researching’ surfing the net, avoiding writing at all costs…what is UP with that? If i finish the book, i have a shot at making a little money? i swear there is a suicidal asshole up inside my head.

leafy greens

leafparty1 As always I sat down to write this two or three times already and only now have a chance to finish it. I still try to stay away from the computer as much as possible, whenever i sit here i lose hours of time just consuming internet content. I sat down 4 hours ago to work on the new book and have as yet not written a word. I have had to drive cats down to the vet in Massachusetts three times now… I just can’t afford to use one up here, even running it through the rescue group I am creating a deficit i will need to make a sizable donation to cover, with what i don’t know…if i finished writing this fucking book i’d have a better idea. But like all things I really enjoy the research way way better than the actual writing part. I just can’t be trusted with grownup shit.  < i just typed an entire paragraph about how i can’t get ahead of the curve and then deleted…even i don’t want to hear my crap >

raisedbed1The woman next door gave me two of these unused raised bed frames..they are enormous..more along the lines of what you are supposed to build.   I couldn’t lift them so i attached casters to them and wheeled them over.  Looks like I am going to be buy a shit ton of top soil and compost from the city recycling center next spring… first off I am going to rake all the leaves into the boxes… i’m lazy that way.  if nature wanted them in bags, she’d put them in bags herself.

I decided to double down on the herb garden next year… i dug up a few and brought them inside for the winter…though i don’t see them surviving – the Lavender and rosemary are doing okay, fingers crossed on the sage and chives.   I need to move last years raised beds closer to the house to use every inch of sunny space properly.

 

a lot of asses

catonchairA The blog has turned into a record of my furniture these days…. i had to drive all the way to mass on Friday just to get vet care for one of my cats…i haven’t paid retail for a vet for decades, so it was pretty disturbing to get a quote of $600 for an ear hematoma with a straight face no less. It was worth the drive to mass to get helped out by the vets down there. I had sworn off driving back and forth on the same day, but i do seem to be doing it more often than not and in between i drive around visiting friends who just happen to be home… but while i was down there I bought a chair i didn’t need…$9…and it turns out most of it is 200 years old.

IMG_6265AIMG_6256AWhen I saw it at the ReStore i knew it was ‘something’, it spoke to me and said take me home, hang your semi dirty clothes from my thumbs. So I did. It has character, it has wabi sabi…or it IS wabi sabi…i am not sure if it’s a noun or an adjective…or can it be a verb?

I love a puzzle. a long long time ago it seems, I was an antique dealer for a few years…back when i was married and broke and selling my personal belongings, i spent a little extra and trolled thriftshops and find stuff to resell. I can’t say it was fun..i was married. unhappy and broke, but it kept me busy and I learned a shit ton about a LOT of things. I can usually tell at a glance that something is ‘good’, if i am in an upscale shop i know i can’t afford it, but once in a while a blind pig finds a truffle in a thrift store. Considering how much furniture i have divested I don’t really NEED anything else until the 2nd floor is open but i can always find room for a dainty little chair. Besides MY other spindle back side chair didn’t make the move, it got damaged and I didn’t want to look the damage everyday so i curbed it before i moved. IMG_6270A This chair has been professionally repaired at one time…but it seems from the wear on the overcoat of varnish, it was a long long time ago. I love things that tell a story…this says that someone loved this chair…or at least valued it a la Lovejoy and thought it was worth fixing…well three of the legs seem to be from a much later vintage but they are still pretty old too.char1820s

I spent practically an entire day, taking close up photos and researching it online…that sort of entertainment alone was worth $9 to me. once I finally found other examples I was a little freaked to date the chair to the 1820s…i had figured it was 1850s, but all my micro examinations tells me it’s older..way older… while i was happily google searching images, I actually found a cache of well researched magazine articles about American Furniture over at Chipstone…thanks fellas… Nancy Goyne Evans seems to be the big brain when it comes to American Chairs these days..especially these Windsor styles.. her article Frog Backs and Turkey Legs: The NomenClature of Vernacular Seating Furniture 1740-1850  is pretty extensive and fascinating.  According to Evans, 1820 saw a change from 7 spindles down to 4 or 5 spindles in these white pine side chairs, and after 1830 there seems to be a drift towards multiple crest and ladder backs.

IMG_6283AhookwitubeLike I said I had all kinds of fun researching this puppy.  Something that occurred to me while i was doing all this crazy highway driving, that my brain seems to be WORKING these days… I confess I am getting a little hyper stimulated by straight caffeine pills in the morning, but while I am awake I can actually THINK, it’s been a long time since that was both true.  In the end I decided to just hanging the chair on the newly painted wall in the kitchen.   I hadn’t found anything I owned worth the space, the Transmetro poster migrated to the bedroom so the wall was just hanging out looking lonely.   It took me a couple of hours to cut a rail and find the appropriate iron hooks and get everything painted so the chair would be secure and safe.  I didn’t have any shaker pegs, just cast iron hooks…but i had some plastic tubing from the fish tank, so in the end the chair is quite safe and can hold apparently at least one 15 lb cat.  In another home I supposed it would hold silk flowers or old books…in my house…it’s cat asses… but then this little old white pine seat has already seen 200 years of ass, what’s a few more?

escape pods

icon-podcastMy Kindle Fire HD has been acting all wonky lately, still is….. it just doesn’t want to cooperate somedays.  Yesterday it in fact, it just sat there imitating a winking brick for the entire day.  I gave up on it, thinking it was in league with the Laptop which did not survive being used as a launching pad by one of the elderly cats, and started looking for a replacement.   The Kindle Fire…which is  my constant companion,  feeds me a steady diet of audiobooks and podcasts.  Turns out that if I wait until the end of October..the non-HD Kindle Fire goes on sale for $50,  (I may actually buy another one at that price…just in case.)   My Kindle must have heard me, as soon as I got home from work, it allowed me get to settings and set off a factory reset bomb.  Like the deceased Laptop I don’t keep anything on it I can’t wipe by accident… in fact same thing with the PC,  cloud backup means a crash I wouldn’t send me into a fetal curl; it would be an expensive event, but not dire.  Long story short, the Kindle is once again purring away nicely playing a podcast, though I have my eye on it.

I had been at the day job for a few months before it occurred to me to bring the Kindle.  If it wasn’t for audiobooks from the library and audible, I wouldn’t get any books read these days.

There are some podcasts which I have been listening to for years:  WTF with Marc Maron,  Greg Proops Smartest Man in the World, NerdistAisha Tyler’s Girl On Guy, Doug Loves Movies.  Not to forget: Slate’s Culture Gabfest and Double X Gabfest, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, though all of NPRs programs can be downloaded as Podcasts, like Radiolab, How to Do Everything, Planet Money,  Fresh Air  and This American Life.  And if I still have any time after that, there some performed podcasts Welcome to Night Vale and the Thrilling Adventure Hour.

Reprogramming the podcast app on the Kindle by hand is actually a good memory aid, like cleaning out the junk drawer….I know there were probably about 15 other podcasts on there, which didn’t jumped readily to mind, meaning I probably don’t really care if I hear their newest upload.  Meanwhile there are a half dozen that I have not only fallen in love with, and I am working my way through their entire backlist: Roman Mars’ 99% Invisible…  IMHO is the BEST podcast ever, each episode is between 10 and 20 minutes and I am sad when it ends – sending me down the Radiotopia rabbit hole, where I am trying all sister shows, including the Allusionist podcast about the English language…another favorite podcast of all time, leading me to the embarrassment of riches that is Answer Me This. which made it into Episode 300 before I discovered it even existed (hangs head in shame). . . eventually landing me at the podcast produced by the QI elves: No Such Thing as a Fish, another show which is much too short.

I suppose I should not be surprised at the glut of listening available these days….podcasts have grown like topsy, ….both in quantity and quality, since people have been manage to monetize them. but I am seriously tickled to death that there are NOW this many that I actually LIKE, this many that I actually look forward to putting them into my brain.  I would have EASILY bought another Kindle if this one had shit the bed, I doubt I could get through a day at work without a podcast providing me an escape route.

yardage

panoyard_edited-1

Summer’s over… for some reason the other day i felt good enough to go after the backyard with the lopping shears and the reciprocating saw… WUV my reciprocating saw, every girl should have one. I had my eye on a bunch of brush, mostly vines and barberry bushes (still have about 5 more in the yard to kill) but it really opened up the back of the yard. It looks bigger in this pano, that’s just the back left corner, i still have to continue clearing brush up the left hand side between the houses.. Seems the last owner was TRYING to create an enclosed space using what are basically tall weeds. Personally I’m just gonna put in a fence. There’s an old wire fence buried in there now.. but when all the brush is pulled back, i will think about putting in a 4 footer..something yours truly can put in one section at a time. that’s basically how I have been dealing with everything around here: in bite sized chunks.

I think i got very depressed after I moved in. I just didn’t have all the money in the world to do EVERYTHING i wanted or needed to have done. The house, like everything else in life is just one life sized game of whackamole. There was nothing PRESSING the issue of working on the yard..but I figured if i DIDN’T do it on the last warm day of the season, then i would have to spend another winter looking at it covered in 6 feet of snow drifts and KNOW it’s underneath. pond72
Speaking of underneath, note to self, must construct new LID for the pond. The pond came out nicely this year..once i figured out how to deal with it. Step 1: toss in Mosquito controlling donuts very important step. Once all the bad bugs were gone, I didn’t see it as a nasty puddle anymore. I spent about 20 bucks at the Nursery for 2 water hyacinth and 2 water ‘lettuce’ both of which grew like topsy. And another few bucks for small vegetation from the aquarium store, which I intermittently feed to the fish in the house. Heavenforfend, i can’t put them back outside…they have names now…
fishhotel So in the end the pond was just another part of the garden..score. too bad it isn’t deep enough for something to overwinter. The damn plants will all have to be rebought next season because i am too cheap to set up a fish tank for them in the basement….or am i? hmmm…

Yesterday i finally dragged all the trimmings and branches to the dump…i was fighting a massive migraine and probably shouldn’t have been driving, but i couldn’t stand looking at the piles…i knew if i didn’t do it on my off day, they would be there through the winter…like last year. The portland dump…scuse me…recycling center..doesn’t suck…. the minimum for a load so far is $7, so it behooves me to really load the truck if i can. But they have a category for nearly everything i want to get rid of…and they also SELL stuff like mulch, soil and rocks of all sizes… i have my eye on some more topsoil and mulch next year. For a tiny ass yard it seems to have a lot of room for improvement. Still fighting off mister migraine and dizziness like I have never experienced. So today I am just gonna LOOK at the yard…even though all i see are the things that still need doing.

12107047_10153797993865312_8728999232020825414_n

my many vices

tools2 One of the sideprojects I had going on this summer..while I was fixing stuff around the house, I was slowly bringing all my tools and some of the tool bench UP from the basement. The basement isn’t ‘ready’ for any sort of a workshop…neither is the porch, but the porch won’t spontaneously flood every spring…I have my eye on a sump pump to deal with that little problem… aside from that, it’s generally very cool down there and damp, neither are my favorite environments for working.   I have had a poor little box fan running down there since last March. There’s also no boiler or  water heater to keep the place warm and dry…and like the rest of the house, the basement needs to be insulated.  So I dragged everything upstairs a little at a time…including all the as yet still packed Roughneck tubs o’tools…one aspect of my life that never gets decluttered….it just grows and unless something breaks, everything gets kept..because ‘one day i could need it.’

tools1

NEARLY all the plans I had made for the house have been changed since day one. My workshop is now on the porch, the bed is in the office, the office is well..nowhere right now.. and i still have nearly all my lot of boxes of books and dvds in storage on the second floor. I don’t see any more room for bookcases on the 1st floor..not without sacrificing open walls and floor space, anyway. I had envisioned more bookcases space on the 2nd floor when it finally gets paneled..fingers are still crossed for that.

Today I finally mounted a couple of pieces of pegboard on the side of the house on the porch..I will still keep my most used tools in their bucket for portability,  but it gives me a place to put the lesser used items..like the giant pipe wrench….and the really big rubber convincer….I have moved all the ‘fixit’ stuff out there too…all the adhesives, sandpaper and steelwool and screws and nails… and paint.. a seasonal chore will be to move all the things that would not enjoy the deep freeze into the cellar stairwell..wait a minute..i think that’s where i was supposed to put the smaller piece of pegboard…oh damn…

tools3

To be honest the porch is where I make all my messes….where I sloshed paint around and make big piles of saw dust, the cats make their messes out there too.   If the porch is going to be a work area than its insulation just moved from the bottom of the to do list to the middle. It gets a little COLD out there, last winter I measured it below zero…basically it is the same temperature as whatever it is outside.   Adding more insulation to the second floor is higher up on the list that the porch since the porch isn’t a heated area, unlike the house itself..i also need to insulation to the places in the basement where the snow ACTUALLY comes inside.

I decided priority of tasks depends on how much money it costs to delay doing it. While fucking around organizing all the tools on the porch was important… fixing the loose grout in the shower is the thing at the top. When there’s something on the top of my list that I dread doing, I suddenly find myself organizing tools and washing window sills, trying to avoid tackling it. The makework i have ahead of the grout right now are organizing the attic, and reorganizing all the crap in the living room because the cat door to the porch is blocked by the new tall hutch and i need to move it. If it wasn’t such a pressing issue, i could find a hundred things to do to avoid anyone ONE thing on my list..i am a champion rationalizer..and procrastinator…i’m good at that too.

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