This Week

The four Not-Laharya pieces have been ready for new homes for a couple of weeks but I've been so uncertain about them they have just sat waiting. And probably got wrinkled in the moist weather.  Either all four are going to The Suter, OR, I'll take out the last short one, (second from the bottom in the pic) and take three. All I need to do is to write the blurb on the swing tags but I so don't feel like doing that; I'd rather make a new warp or weave. 

Finding me so far down the rabbit hole of colors, Triona said, "Do mine, do mine," to which my first reaction was, "That's queue-jumping!" But the colors in her piece are pre-determined, i.e. the same as the fourth piece I submitted to Waiheke some years ago, so after a couple of moments, I knew she was right. So I made a short warp and started hers, but in the last Not-Laharya draft.
Except not identical to Waiheke #4; that had four colors in the warp, this one eight for interest.
I thought I remembered everything about that warp project because those colors were a big challenge, a dare, to myself, but no, I had in mind the wrong blue weft. Notorious as I am with not keeping weaving records, I have small notebooks by my looms recording how long I've woven of the current piece,and in the only loom notebook I kept for reasons forgotten, after I checked to see if I kept any loom notebooks, I found this!!
I must have been nervous about the colors in this warp, eh. So, weft is in Marine, not Delft.

I went back to Ronette's drawing class after missing two weeks of something called monoprint. Because it was the third session for everybody else, she introduced a lot of new techniques, but it being the first time ever for me, I stuck to one method, of rolling out ink and scraping/rubbing some off.
The top was the boldest and most interesting, I thought; I'm disappointed the scraped areas in the bottom one didn't come out clearer because as far as drawing goes, it wasn't bad, escept for the right breast being enormous from overzealous scraping. She was a new-to-me model with something of a Mattisse-esque rhythm to her poses.

There are two more monoprint sessions, which will be great fun and I don't know if I will stick to this technique or try something else. Ronette is just stunned drawing after drawing, (or print after print yesterday,) I manage to get the whole figure in. And these are smaller than A4. 

We have a couch and some chairs in the hallway because the used-furniture man said he'd come to pick it up on Wed but it rained and rained on Wed and Thurs and I was not home yesterday. So it's been an interesting weekend trying not to bump our limbs while rushing through that maze but I refuse to have them back in the living room. I had a chance to catch up with Maria, in between the furniture in the hallway, on Wed and it was lovely. Such an inspiring soul. If I'm not mistaken it's the first time I saw her since we took down the exhibition 13 months ago. So looking forward to the next time.

Mom has been great; she's out with her friends so often it's hard for me to pin her down at home. Last week she stayed home one day to weave only because she felt guilty going out so often and not weaving; dear, oh, dear. She is turning out to be exactly the kind of widow I thought she'd be, and finding out a few of her friends have been widowed/widowered while she was busy caring for Dad. Meanwhile, I put all the yarns meant for Dad's ruana in a box and brought them back up to the stash room.


Pressie, Blah, Sudden Unexplained Changes and W2W2

I got a wee present from Connie Rose - I've been following her book-binding and mail art adventures with interest, but this is the first time I got to hold one in my hand, and work in it! (Don't you just love the envelope as well?)
Ben's been home all week but both of us have been taking turns being very tired, so unfortunately, not a lot of house-cleaning or gardening taking place but reading and watching Star Trek the Original Series. It feels as though we're both trying to recover from "this year".

We did bring everything culled during the kitchen cleaning to the Hospice shop, (instead of splitting them between the antique shop and them,) and the ladies loved the delicate porcelain cups in particular, so it was worth it. Besides, one never knows when one needs the services of the Hospice. Afterwards we took a walk in three kitchen shops and I found some white dish sets (have wanted two place setting of a white set for years now,) and Ben some of those funny-saying mugs, all on sale, but we came home with one giant slotted spoon. Aren't we doing well?
I've been having sleepless nights. Last night it proved productive, though; I suddenly thought why struggle making "saturated" with the yellows & oranges warp, so I thought of trying to replicated something like these with cashmere. We'll see.

Weaver to Weaver 2 sign up is due this coming Sunday. It would lovely to have a few more of us, if possible, please?


Japan Debrief 3 of 3: That Cubism Thing - Long and No Weaving

One night I couldn't sleep worryied about this post; if I don't write this soon I'd forget everything.That was seven/eight weeks ago. But then sitting this long away from the madness of August, I can see something of the path I took. Keep in mind I am only reporting what happened, what I think I learned; nothing definitive about isms, let alone painting.Anything you can teach me, I'd greatly appreciate.

It all started with a flyer for a two-and-a-half hour course on collaging in the manner of Picasso and Matisse; innocent enough, right? I never forgot the time my brother was befuddled by my sister-in-law explaining the greatness of Picasso was in putting a 3D world on a 2D plane, so the class piqued my cutiousity.

But the session also turned out to be a taster for a fortnightly six-session course in which we could develop an idea into an actual painting. Mr Kanamori, ever so charming, asked me if I would be interested, and I was sure I was unsure about the painting part, but I was ever so intrigued after my first glimpse into Cubism. So I signed up, declaring to Mr K on Session 2 I only hoped to get an esquisse by the end of the term. I struggled and struggled but never came to any conclusion or closure, let alone an equisse! Still, it was an interesting experience and if I follow it up a bit more, I think this process can be a tool in my toolkit for, ummm... my drawing and all that stuff?

Apologies for the photo quality. Some of the pencil marks are so tentative, and it's a bit cloudy today. 

Session 1: The taster session: the goal was to look at a coffee grinder form all angles and capture shapes from all perspectives; assemble them on a page and somehow make the whole look like a 3D coffee grinder. 
My first attempt: Mr K was pleased with the coffee grinder itself, but I needed to put it on a table surface and do something with the background or parts other than the coffee grinder, which in this case was the back of an imaginary chair.
My second attempt: this time I paid attention the colors/values a bit more, and the fragmented table top, with which Mr K was pleased. At this point he made the mistake of thinking I had got it, and can complete a painting in the remaining five sessions.
My third attempt: I took a few photos of the grinder and worked on a third version. I can't remember if I showed it to him, but I think it's quirky and fun, a bit of rhythm going.

In Session 2, I was assigned to work on this still life.
I took gazillion photos over the weeks, from different angles and close-ups, and went back and forth observing, sketching, drawing shapes and collaging. I heard Mr K tell someone else the point of collaging early on was so we don't have as much control over the cutting as we do with drawing, which I found to be true but difficult. As well, in this instance, a "realistic" 3D sketching was no help to me but more a distraction.

Sessions 2-4: below are some representative pages from my sketch book to illustrate my passage. (And this is where this post becomes more a record for me than interesting for you.) This is my first feeble attempt; I was more interested in the box than the objects, as it was similar to the coffee grinder, and was racking my brains as to what I was going to do with the flowers. 
After some 3D sketches I started trying out ideas in proportionate thumbnails but ran out of steam.I felt I was only repeating myself.
For those taking the course for a while, Mr K often refereed to the works of Braque and Juan Gris, so I looked up their work and tried copying similar objects.
 Having regained some steam, I trudged on.
Discovering shading in the masters' works, I experimented with blocky, shapey shades, which turned out much too fussy and contrary to what Mr K wanted me to try, although he explained Cubism is very loose term and everybody within it tried their own thing so I may want to come back to it later.
Sessions 3 and 4, I attended the class resolutely, but I wasn't having much fun, eh. And I think Mr K was giving me too many kinds of hints.
Still, you could say persistence paid and I started to see recurring shapes and preferences amongst my mess. 
One of which was the smaller jug being inside the larger one making it the combination look like a profile of a cartoonish face.
 I still needed some variety of expressions, so I looked up Picasso and copied some of his objects.
And tried combining them with the recurring shapes and the "face jug." The right page shows samples of what I was going to do in collage on a bigger scale, and before Session 5, I made some templates so I don't have to recreate the shapes and positions all the time.
Templates and two collages I worked on during Session 5. Mr K didn't like my use of complementary colors and wanted more harmony, which I didn't mind. The problem was still the background; the blue example shows the table split in two and the objects sinking in the crack, as it were; the yellow example has the left and right halves of the table staggered, like to books piled up, so not as dramatic, but I wasn't happy with it. And then there was the problem of how I was to treat the wall, as I couldn't employ the usual perspective. I also realized I struggled with placements of multiple objects.

By this time I was able to pick out objects/elements I didn't like in my examples, and Mr K pointed out I don't like them because they are not simple color planes, i.e. I had made them 3D, but I didn't know how to fix them on my own. 
Although I extended my return flight so I could go the Session 6, I was too chicken to go back as I felt Mr K was somewhat exasperated by me, I was running out of steam, there was a typhoon coming, (I kid you not!) and I had to finish the photo-sorting for Mom. I emailed him, but never heard back, but I still consider this to have been a very lucky and beneficial encounter.

From the start I wanted to work on a face/portrait. I listened in on his conversation with another student working on one. When, not if, the spirit moves, I'm going to try deconstructing someone's face next.

The end.

Oh Heck...

I mended all the broken warp ends and fringed one and a half piece, (pieces?) yesterday while thinking about colors for the next project. I made the new warp specifically to tie onto the old, but the old warp was so fragile I took it off altogether. 
Pat came over on Friday and we talked about some of the things I've had on the living room floor. These are old Swedish yarns I've had forever, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about the two tealy greens and the sharp yellow since I came home. They're hard, so they are more suitable for hangy things rather than to wear, but one never knows... I have designs on the teals but so far only in my head.

(Yes, Ben and I have been walking in between the sets to get to/from the kitchen. The things I make him do!)
And then we actually sat on the floor in the basement and played some.
A and B are the kinds of combos I used to weave with, but I haven't done it for some time I'd "lost my touch," as it were and am finding it somewhat troubling. For the next warp, we tried to think of saturated combinations when Pat pointed out that I keep selecting complementary colors and I don't have to all the time. C is Pat's choice, D and E are what I had thought of.

In 2008 when Jill wrote to me with suggestions of how to make my weaving more edgy, an item on the list was to use complementary colors, and back then I felt they were uncomfortably discordant I tried my best. I guess I've become somewhat used to it I more or less reach for them naturally. Apparently. Jill's request is to weave "saturated" pieces, and subsequent discussion has got me confused about "saturated" and "complementary", but as far as colors are concerned mean "very", no? As in, very red, or (skip to the next paragraph if you're allergic to potty mouths,) don't be ha1f-@ssed about values/intensity? Anyway, so much more to learn. relearn, and try.

Then, "Dodo" from Kolkata asks me what's special about my colors, (to which all I can say is, not a lot except they are complex and bright for me,) and why don't I research Northeastern Indian textiles, which brings me to that puzzling and contentious issue of appropriation.

It's not a bad idea googling images of textiles from around the world, and I do that from time to time as you know, but in addition to finding colors difficult, I have a mental block about researching anything in too much depth. First there is the fear of copyrights infringement, and though I believe there's nothing much new in weaving and don't claim anything to be truly original, I am afraid of being influenced anything/anybody too much. And then there's the issue of cultural appropriation.

I don't know how it is where you live, but in New Zealand there exists a sometimes-severe vigilance surrounding cultural appropriation that I don't fully understand. Folks in art education are cautious and at one end of the spectrum, I've been advised not to claim to be influenced by anything other than this Japanese. I even hesitate to talk about this, (so much so I don't want to reread the linked post,) but of course it doesn't stop anyone from being inspired by anything. So my research into anything tends to stop at a very superficial level. Which suits my innate laziness just fine.

Just saying; it makes me nervous.


Hidden and Seeking

For some weeks I've been looking for something I'll know what when I've found it.

To the best of my understanding, it's a clue, an opening, a nudge to push me in a new direction, or further from where I am or was at one point, to enable me to... (I hate myself for thinking in these words but this is as accurate as I can make,) increase my visual and design vocabulary. Or, to weave things that look dramatically different to my usual without discontinuing my usual, so I can go back and forth.

Naturally, I Googled handwoven cloth/s images and saw a lot of lovely stuff, but nothing of what I need now. I looked up textile/fiber art, but nothing made my wandering eyes gaze for long, silent minutes. Last night I got bored of flipping through other people's fab artwork, so I decided to resume cleaning my hard drive, something on my To Do list for years.

I know that technically my weaving is probably on decline; I liked looking at details from the middle of last decade, like these. I feel as though I haven't challenged myself for some time; this is from April 2009. I particularly enjoyed shifting through the P2P2 folder and though there are nearly 500 pics after culling twice, I didn't have the heart to cull further.

I enjoyed P2P2 tremendously in retrospect, because I couldn't weave due to a tennis elbow, so I used pens, papers, glue and scissors to experiment much longer than I normally would. (At the time, I was embarrassed about not being able to "complete" the project, and every day I had to tell myself it's OK to just go as far as I can.) I enjoyed the physical involvement of making up tiny mock ups; learned a lot not in my head but with my hands and eyes about my theme; learned I can learn so much from doing without analyzing; and loved living with these scattered around my living room. 

You could say I looked within me to find something new, though it sounds so pompous I couldn't possibly voice it in person; nevertheless this would be part of following Randy's advice to be my own apprentice. It now appears I may only need one or two first clues, possibly somewhere around here, instead of in the ether.

But first, a fourth piece from the Not-Laharya warp.


"Weaver to Weaver", Or, Dare We Say, W2W2

Last year we had fun with this and I've been sitting on this idea since summer, so let's just do it.

1) Collect small items that inspire you as a weaver, that show something of your weaverly thinking/feeling, or something achingly lovely that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Put a few in a "normal sized" envelope; I'm thinking a medium Christmas card size, or "business" size roughly one-third of an A4 or Letter size sheet.

2) Email me, not comment here, how many envelopes you've got by the end of your day, Sunday, November 24, 2013 your time. Let's say, up to around three. Also your name and physical address and an URL for a blog, photoblog, website, somewhere we can find out more about you and your work. If you haven't got any, that's not a problem.

3) On Monday, November 25, I'll match you up with an/other weaver/s and send you their contact detail. Yes, if you have three envelopes to send, you'll hear from three weavers.

4) Send your envelope/s to your partner/s on or before Tuesday, December 31, 2013. That's any time between the time you hear from me and Dec 31. For overseas mail, please use Air Mail.

5) Sit, wait, and enjoy. When you receive your envelope, make yourself a hot/cold cup/glass of something and sit in your favorite chair. Tell us about it if you like.

You may prefer to do 2) first so you will hear from me about your partner/s, then collect/assemble.

Questions? Please ask away in the comment section.

You may want to write a short letter. Or not. You might include a tiny drawing, a photograph, a sample swatch, a bundle of thrums, or something else entirely. If mailing overseas, be careful of plant/animal matters as some countries are very strict about what comes into the country. Last year I got charged a bundle extra because I included "cotton threads"!!

It you're not a weaver, that's not a problem, but just keep in mind you're playing with a bunch of cloth aficionados and thread nuts.

Last year Alicja brought up the point of English possibly presenting problems to non-English speakers/writers. Participants need to understand how W2W2 works and in communicating with me, but it's not required in the actual exchange/contents of the envelope. In fact, weaverly love may become more intense without words. If you think English may become an obstacle, contact me somehow anyway and I'll try to find a translator, hopefully a person and not a software.  

Let's keep this low-cost and kind to ourselves as the assembling and the receiving are meant to give us a bit of reprieve in this busy season.

Again, if you're in, please email me, not comment on this post, with:
Number of envelopes
Your name and postal address
Your URL if you have one

Participants so far are: Margreth (2), Jane (2), Margery (3), Sampling (2), Alicja (2), Meg (3).

Posts relating to W2W2: Meg, Jane, Margery, Margreth, Meg, Margreth, Meg, Margery, Alicja


When "Inert" isn't So Bad

In the last few years I've come to see that not all Inert Days are bad; on a few occasion, sometimes days/months removed, I realize my head/eyes had been working without bothering to tell me so. Fingers crossed yesterday "they" were working on possible projects with the Japanese wool because I sure can't stop thinking about their texture.

Since I've been home, I've also been day-and-night-dreaming about the suspended friendship project. I think I did fine in choosing the red wool warp yarns, and the basic idea of highlighting your contributions against a plain background, but I haven't been shown how to incorporate my fussy patterns. I also prefer to weave it on the big loom so I can see the bigger picture while I weave, rather than on a smaller loom with flexible lifting; it's a matter of extremely careful draft-construction on the computer.
Even more than ever I'm desperate to use more of my stash, not because I've accumulated more yarns recently, (really not a whole lot this year; honest!) but because if I can use those table tops, I could collage/draw/play any time without having to put them away before I've finished a project. That was the whole point of having the tables as I recall. About time.
I washed the purple piece some time ago, but didn't press it nor have clipped the loose ends. It sat waiting draped on the back of the couch like a wet old dog who doesn't know he hasn't been a puppy for a decade. I was up at 4 this morning unable to sleep so I wrapped myself with it while I watched a couple of hours of Al Jazeera. Used/worn/wrapped in it, it didn't feel as heavy as I anticipated, just meaty, substantial and homy.

I love it. And you can't have it. Because for once it's mine.LOL.


Inert Day Book

I felt utterly inert today, mind and body. Ronette thinks I need a holiday but three return trips to Japan between the two of us and house/contents/cars insurance this week prevent a holiday getting on my cards anytime soon. Besides, ideally, I would be weaving and drawing and collaging right here every waking minute. And gardening, of course.

This afternoon, instead of reading, I made up a wee booklet I could work on the next time I have an inert day,   But please, not too soon.
It has ten pages of things to think about, one on each page, things I like brainstorming with other weavers and makers.The inside is black, white and gray so as not to influence my thinking about colors; the formatting and wording are student-teacher-handout-ish, but that's OK, it's just for me.

If you are curious, email me and I can send you a PDF file but you must let me know if you want it in A4 or Letter. And, you must show me at least one completed page, either by posting on your blog or by sending me a scanned/pic file. Please.

When One Has a Cushy Life but Can't Appreciate it Enough...

And by one, I mean this one. Me.

In spite of the cleaner kitchen I haven't cooked much because Ben's taste change a lot while I was away; it's more what mine used to be before my cooking aligned with his old taste. He now likes raw-er, plant-based, and simpler flavored food, which should be great news because it's easier/quicker. But I had such a hard time feeding him raw-er and simpler veggies early in our marriage I'm having a hard time reverting 24 years. Still, it's a good time of the year to do this.

I've been trying to improve my mostly-bread baking, too, and at the same time trying to reduce our flour intake. So there's a bit of alternative flours in the house, we eat fewer pasta meals, and I've "liked" several vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free pages on Facebook to learn about alternatives, like using egg plant slices instead of lasagna sheets. What I don't understand is why most of the recipes on the gluten-free pages are of sugar-laden sweets. I understand you need a few of these if you have gluten-free kids, but for Ben and me, the whole point of engaging in these styles of cooking is to live a healthier, fresher life, and so we pick up a fruit or two for snacks.

At the bottom of the page of one vegan blog were rows of thumbnails of things we should give up, and among them was wool clothing. What the... Seriously, do some people think sheering wool is cruel to sheep, or shall we kill them all off because we don't need them if we don't eat nor wear them? I mean the sheep, not the vegans. At this point...

Mind you, Ben will never give up his bacon, and I, my smoked salmon, so it's not like we can point our fingers any anyone... 

* * * * *

For various, (weather, allergy, work,) reasons, i.e. excuses, I haven't gardened in 22 days which is contributing to my lack of appreciation for the season and my location. Enough said.

* * * * *

I'm trying to revive my interest in photography, but when one is lacking in appreciation for one's life, is guilt-ridden for not making one's house beautiful, (not in anyone else's eyes but in one's own,) one ceases to see beauty in one's surrounds. One must try harder. Without feeling one needs a new camera.

I signed up for a Steve Sonheim Photo Silly class this morning. I went back to Carla's site for the first time since before I went home in Feb yesterday to discover there are lot of new classes that I would love to take, but a photo course felt most beneficial now. And not a lot of cleaning up afterwards.

After I paid with Paypal, this screen popped up. It's been that kind of a morning.


Performance Anxiety

Dad's been gone six months tonight. It appears pertinent to complete this post, started shortly after the Body Image post a couple of hours before the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. I sat on it because mine are trivial compared to peoples' real problems, and yet these are important to me in trying to live well.

The biggest job Mom had for me was to go through my parents' many photo albums and "copy" good photos of Dad on to digital frames for her to give to us three kids. Long story short, I created a master folder on Mom's laptop, copied the lot to mine, and gave my siblings copies on USB sticks so they can view in the manner of their choosing. I picked not just Dad's photos, but Mom's, both of them and the whole family, and some of Dad's with friends, former students' and colleagues'. Oh, and plenty of the grandkids'.

In sorting through the physical and digital albums, I came across so many of Dad MCing or giving speeches at conferences, work dos, and weddings. And in so many of them, he had a big smile looking straight at the camera, or was grossly engaged in a conversation, or was singing, and I only needed to look for the center of activity in group shots to spot him. I reckon about half his time as the Vice Chancellor during the last 15 years of his work life was spent in social/official functions.

After Dad retired, he didn't wish to work part time as is the norm with folks in his position, nor did he have a particularly active social life except with his younger brother, who passed away a couple of years ahead of him. Mom and I criticized him for this; Mom probably because she is such a social person and felt it was unnatural; me because depression runs in his side of the family and not being social is undesirable under the circumstances.  

I wished I knew then what Mom told me after Dad died, that he had enough of dealing with people in his life, and he only wanted quiet in his retirement. Had I known this, I would have been his best ally in keeping him cocooned. We shared a kind of performance anxiety that takes over us in "public"; at work, with friends, anywhere outside our house, or inside, any time we are not alone. It's a compulsion, or a duty, to be involved, engaged and interested at all times.

I probably learned this from how Dad lived, but Mom also warned us, (and for once I wasn't the primary target,) we shouldn't be in the living room if we weren't prepared to be pleasant. I also think this is why I, and my family in general, have difficulty sitting together in silence with loved ones. After I married Ben, I had to learn I didn't have to entertain him at all times, and make an effort to stop performing, to get off the clock.

I admire people who are natural. Part of me keeps an eye on myself from somewhere else in the room and observe my performance. It's not that I'm false, I'm not lying, but if I feel my interest waning, I force a certain expression or a composure to make my mind pay attention, to get back into the scene. In school, I was sometimes that kid that asked questions for the sake of asking. And then I used to get in trouble when I stopped performing and became myself; my family still feels uncomfortable when I start being myself.

I can't explain it any better, because I've been this way for a long time, Unless I am by myself. And not rehearsing. Mom notwithstanding, nuns teaching us at a young age about The Big Bearded Man's omnipresence had something to do it it; I used to feel spooked by my personal guardian angel as well; I perceived him to be, (not her, always him,) to be my parents' and nuns' agent spying and reporting on me. So, yes, life is usually tense. It's not a performance for other people's sake; it was more behaving the way I thought I was expected to. And though Dad grew up without the Catholic burden,  he also lived with a lot of self-imposed rules, obligations and expectations. A code of sorts. At times extra effort is needed to relax. What a life.

I haven't found a remedy yet; I am this kind of a person. And I guess I'm not convinced I''m a bad person for it. But I'm glad I live with Ben and get to go off the clock. I'm also glad I work for myself now.

But I wished I knew then what I know now, so I could have helped make Dad's last days less stressful. More natural, relaxed.
Dad is at far right, as a high school student during the war; I bet, never in a gazillion years, he imagined he'd be a Vice Chancellor at the university occupying a nice office in the building behind him.

EDIT: Just because we are on the clock doesn't mean we don't enjoy ourselves. Once I finally get to where I'm supposed to be, I enjoy most social occasions. It's just that speaking in front of 20 or 200 people, (and in Dad's case even 2000,) where our roles are defined is easier than going to parties or art openings and mingling. I use "I" and "we" interchangeably; observing Dad and listening to his comments, I conjecture he was operating under a similar mode, but I never really asked. 

* * * * *

Older friends laugh when I complain about my aging process and give me their "55 is nothing; wait until you're (insert-age)!!" speech. They are missing the point; this is not a competition, but the process of aging, at any stage, and coming to terms with one's own process and living to the best of one's ability within one's own ever-changing parameters.

I can easily empathize with any 30-something who discovers she can't pull all-nighters working/studying/drinking as she did just a few weeks before, because I lived through it. It was in my early 30's that I noticed that my body wasn't keeping up with my mind, and I had passed the apex of my physical fitness a few weeks previously. I remember speaking to several office mates and there appeared to be a distinct difference in those who had kids before 30 and those who hadn't and those with kids, (out of necessity?) had more energy. After several "Oh, ugh," moments over, oh, ten years, I learned that the rest of my life the focus was on maintenance, not improvement.

So I whinge fairly consistently but that's not my focus; I want to learn how to monitor myself and make the most of the well moments, and try to squeeze some productivity out of the unwell moments when I can. Because if I can do that, I can be like one of Doni's friends, weaving at 99!! Now that's something to aspire to, don't you think?


Clean Kitchen and Getting Auwwwwld

It's 7PM on a Saturday of a week Ben had a week off. He's been so busy again this year he couldn't take much time off, so he had to take this week off, goes back to work for two, has another off, then works for four, then has two off over Christmas and New Year. Yikes, I'd rather he had two consecutive weeks off, then worked until Christmas, but who am I to complain after being gone seven months this year, right?

I thought we'd clean the kitchen and do some gardening in addition to going to see films at the Cinema and having long lunches at cafes in town. After all, we had a whole week!! Came last Saturday morning, we got started amazingly promptly in the morning. This is the annual kitchen cleaning that used to take us one day, (alright it about thirteen hours, but everything minus the oven,) except we're doing it for the first time in four and a half years. So, two days - three tops? Ooops, it took us five days with three sick (of it) days in between, and I missed my drawing class on Friday because I was knackered. And we don't understand why it took so long because the oven and the kitchen vent were cleaner than other years because Ben did a bit when I was away in Feb/March!

For now I'm just disgusted with our mental and physical prowess, lack of patience, and how tired we get in the evenings. But Ben may be right; we are getting older and can't stick with things as long as we used to. Meaning, probably we need to rethink how we live, and continue to declutter severely, and instead of annual cleanings, go for semi- or quarterly so each job is not as onerous. That's goes for my work, too.

Every time I stay with my parents, I feel older when I come home as I identify too much with Mom and start to have the same physical complains when I come home and need a while to get back to my "youthful" self. But also true is the fact I can't tell when Mom/Dad/I are/were being lazy vs when we are/were tired. Aging, for me, means trying to trick myself to get as much done when I can, and not worrying about not doing things if/when I'm too tired or ineffective. Easier said than done, but this is how it's felt for the last several years.

The lovely thing about cleaning one's kitchen as opposed to any other room, I feel, is we renew our resolve to live healthily and cook better. Tonight we toyed with the idea of take away, but it's going to be a BIG salad, some rice, and leftover soup.

We didn't rediscover anything we forgot we owned this time; ummmm... well, I confirmed I still had three flower pots baking panetonne, the ingredients for which I bought soon after I came home.

Ben has three weeks off before next year. Do you think cleaning, rewiring and partially repainting the living room and cleaning out the garage and tiny basement storage, plus some gardening, is a bit much on the wish list??