Navigation to Doodle-head.com

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Time

Christine asked how I find time for everything. It's funny, because I sometimes feel like I don't have enough time for everything I want to do.

C would say (in the nicest way possible, really!) that I'm a freak. I can't just "do nothing," and I'm constantly doing something, usually craft-y. Yes, I do work a full-time job. But my children are kitties, and they are much easier to take care of than human children. What amazes me are the people who have children (and those who have children and jobs outside the home) and can still stitch.

But really, I tend to be a couch potato. We watch a lot of tv - series, movies, C playing video games (which is why I have to make myself go work out at least 3 times a week - we have a pretty sedentery lifestyle). I would say that I make dinner a couple of times per week, max. C cooks some, and we go out some, and we eat a lot of easy-to-fix food, so I'm not spending a lot of time in the kitchen preparing, cooking, and cleaning up afterwards. I've learned how to make a few things in the slow cooker, and you'd be amazed how that helps.

I believe I'm also very fortunate that we have a very laid-back lifestyle. We don't entertain often, but the guys come over and hang out for game night, or occasionally I'll host a Scrabble day with girlfriends. My housekeeping skills are moderate at best (but I'm working on it a little at a time, thank you Flylady - my sink is shiny!), and C does help out with it too.

And C is my #1 cheerleader and fan. If he wasn't so enthusiastic about everything I do (okay, so he wasn't quite so enthusiastic about the furry scarf the other night, but he will be ), I probably wouldn't be as proliferate. I have found that when I am very content, I tend to enjoy my quilting, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching immensely, and that when I am disconsolate, perturbed, or just out-of-sorts, I don't do anything nearly as much.

So, basically, my "free time" is really FREE time for me to work on whatever I want to do. I generally have a couple of hours after work before bedtime to indulge in my crafts, and sometimes I have most of the weekend too - lots of hours there...
I now have Scott's quilt sandwiched and ready to go - I just have to figure out how I'm going to quilt it.

Oh, and I finished square #32 - this is the aligned cobble stitch:


And here is a little update on the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt I have started to piece - it is a REALLY long-term project, so I'm just working on it when I feel like it. I don't quite have one flower finished yet, but I think what I do have done is kinda pretty. I should take a picture of some of the fabrics I plan to include. It's going to be a 1930's-fabric quilt, for me.

Monday, November 29, 2004

A yarn-y kind of day

Well, here is the second knitted dishcloth - I probably should have added several more rows to it, but I'd already made so many mistakes and frogged and re-knitted, that I just decided enough was enough.


Once I finished the dishcloth, I permitted myself to start a new knit project - one of those fuzzy scarves I've been watching everyone else knit up. I bought some new larger-but-shorter knitting needles and got some Lion Brand fun fur prints yarn (Sandstone), and cast on 15 stitches. It is probably about 14 inches long here. It feels so much softer than it looks, according to C (who thought it looked like something he might see on a bag-lady).


I also finished one crochet square for my 63-squares CAL and started a second one. Will I make my goal of finishing 3 in November??? We shall see - I have tonight and tomorrow night to try! In the meantime, here is #31, check stitch:

Square 31 - check stitch

Sunday, November 28, 2004

A quilt top is complete, too!


I've been slowly working towards getting Scott's quilt top assembled over the past couple of weeks, and I'm proud to report, I've finished that this morning!

Now I've got to wash the backing fabric and assemble it before I can sandwich it and start quilting.

I've also finished my little knitted dishcloth #2. It was not without frogging, and it is not without errors, despite the frogging, but it is finished. :) I should have a pic of it tomorrow, once it's been washed and dried.

We had a surprise yesterday afternoon - our friend Dave (who moved to Arkansas) had been in Chicago for the holidays, and he made a slight detour on his way home. We had a great visit, and now he's on his way back home.

Right now I'm watching a little football, doing some laundry, crocheting a couple of blocks on my 63 squares afghan, and I'm about to pull out Smokey (yes, I can get back to my rotation again!!!). Thanks for the wonderful comments - yes, I took a photo of Lucien instead of a scan, and the sparklies show up better, even though the quality isn't anywhere near as clear. Compromises, eh? Oh, and I think I'd better grab some leftovers for lunch, yum!

We have to return to work so soon?!?!? ;)

Saturday, November 27, 2004

And now, may I present...

Lucien, finished just this afternoon:

Lucien, finished

K.C. & the Sunshine Band: "Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight!"

Happy Saturday after Thanksgiving!

Just a quick note to say I'm still alive! :)

Lucien is SO close to being finished - I might just be able to do it today. I am working the last bits of blending filament overlay, and then he's done!

I've also worked just a teeny bit more on my brother's quilt, and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at Mom's.

Now I'm about to head out to see if I can find some more Hand-eze gloves (I love wearing one on each hand when I cross stitch, crochet, knit or quilt) - they're supposed to be on sale (whole notions wall at Joann's this weekend 50% off), and I thought I'd try to get a second pair.

I'll update with a photo when I finish Luc! :)

Edited to add: here's a little about Handeze gloves at Herrschner's. Apparently they do sell them in pairs now. But I couldn't find any at Joann's - that's 2 now that apparently don't carry them any more, so it may be chain-wide. :(

However, I stopped in at Hobby Lobby and picked up a pair of very similar gloves called Hand Aids support gloves. They seem to feel the same, just a different color, and were just a tad cheaper. We'll see how they do - but I love the idea - great support for your wrists and hands, helps with cramping, stress, and strain.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Hopefully winding down

Today was a little busier to start off at work, but wound down by the afternoon. I'm hoping it will be pretty slow tomorrow, as there will only be two of us in the office (down from the normal seven). I'm not taking any extra days off this Thanksgiving holiday, but I'm really looking forward to the 4-in-a-row off that we get. We're doing the big dinner thing at Mom's on Friday instead of Thursday, so we might actually put the tree up Thursday. I'm hoping to get some more quilt-top-piecing time in at some point this weekend also. I'd love to have it ready to sandwich soon.

Maybe I can get my butt in gear and put a few things away in my Craft Room so I can actually take a decent update photo of Scott's quilt. I've also finally gotten (did I mention this in the last post? I can't remember...) the last crochet doily I did washed and blocked, so I can take a photo of it all pretty too.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Oh, and one other thing

Any respect I previously might have had for Suze Orman has gone straight down the toilet.

Her sellout to GM's latest advertising campaign is just plain offensive.

Great weekend

And productive, even!

So close...!

I figure that with the blending filament overlay that still has to be done, and the remaining stitches, I am about 94% done with Lucien now. I didn't count anything - it just doesn't quite look 95% done yet. :) I did stitch together two scans, and for some reason the color is off between the two - that's why the bottom half looks lighter than the top.

With a little over a week, and barring any unforeseen complications or obstacles, I do believe that I can finish it this month (which was one of my goals anyway, but it's nice to see it actually seems do-able).

We went to see National Treasure this weekend, and it was awesome. Just awesome - great story, great actors, great action, funny moments, good ending. I highly recommend it. If you liked Pirates of the Caribbean, you should like National Treasure (of course, it doesn't have Johnny Depp, but not every movie can, so there you go).

Yesterday was spent in a flurry of activity for me. Of course, there was the normal laundry to do (plus towels and pillows this time). I made mini-meatloaves and mashed potatoes for Sunday dinner. We watched the race and tried to keep up with football (go Steelers! - the last time we were 9-1 was 1978, and Jerome Bettis is now #5 on the all-time rushing list!). I must say I'm disappointed that Kurt Busch won - to say I'm not a fan of his is putting it mildly.

And I finally got into my craft room and worked on Scott's quilt! I now have all of the blocks pieced with their sashing strips and squares, and I've started putting them all together. I'm anxious to get this top completely sewn together so I can start quilting on it. I know it's going to take time to quilt, but hopefully I'll be able to do it by Christmas of next year.

On a totally unrelated note, I know that public transportation would probably be better for the environment than my regular commute in Spice. But I love driving her all by myself because I can sing along with any music I want, as loudly as I want, to my heart's content, and no one else has to be subjected to it.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Happy Friday!!!

I'm sorry I missed the performance that Melanie saw/heard yesterday at the Main Library. Carol of the Bells is one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time. We sang it in our Christmas program (yes, I was in Chorus) in high school, and I used to have a tape of the performance. The tape is long gone now, and I wish there was a way to retrieve it (or get another copy).

I got to see Taneya and Kaleya last night at Sit n Stitch for about 20 minutes before I had to leave (I'm on call this week, and wouldn't you know...). Kaleya is just too precious for words - she had just gotten her to sleep by the time I arrived. And Taneya is just incredible - she has Kaleya asleep on one shoulder, and is stitching with the other arm! She mentioned a Stitch Day maybe in January, and I am SO there - haven't had one of those in AGES!!!

I found a picture of me helping my dad build the gazebo on the first piece of land he and Mom had bought back in the 80's.

Left, me, and right, Dad, working on building the gazebo

Dad built the gazebo before the house so that we would be able to go out and enjoy the property, eat dinners, etc., until they were ready to actually build their first house. I don't have a picture of the house (or the gazebo finished) - I'll see if I can get a scan from them when we have Thanksgiving dinner. I'd imagine we'll eventually add a section for that house on the web site we're building together for Dad's stuff, Backyard DIY Guy. As soon as I get the chance, I'll scan it in and post it.

I did finish Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban last night on the way home (just in time for the DVD release Tuesday, eh?), and popped in tape 1 of Goblet of Fire.

As much as I dislike the colder weather we've been having, it helps get me in the Christmas mood. The other day I brought my Charlie Brown Christmas CD to work. This morning I brought Andy Williams and Bing Crosby. And I think I want to get one set of chasing lights for my cubicle. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Various and sundry...

I don't think I mentioned, but now that all of the car / insurance stuff is over, I am back to listening to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on my way to and from work (and other places). As I drove into the parking lot this morning, I was getting to the very end of the tape (side B, tape 7 of 7), and SO wanted to just sit there and listen. Alas, I was running behind and was not 10 minutes early as usual, so I'll have to listen to the end on my way to the chiropractor today. I have tape 1 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in the car also - just in case I do finish the other story.

I haven't downloaded many songs since I signed up for ITunes - actually only 2 more since the Nickelback song download. C and I were talking about Luther Vandross as we were driving around the other day, and I decided to go ahead and pick up a couple of my favorites of his - Power of Love/Love Power and Stop To Love. I'm sure he has quite a few more that I'd recognize (and enjoy), but these were the top 2 in my head at the time. One disappointment was that I couldn't find the Robert Palmer cover of Mercy Mercy Me/I Want You. Maybe I wasn't searching well enough, but I hope they add it one day. I do have it on tape, but it's probably from the radio when it was out, with the DJ talking over the beginning and end of the song, and I'd like a clean digital copy.

I managed to get a little bit of knitting in while sitting in waiting rooms yesterday. I also stitched on Lucien last night while we watched dvds and tv. We watched last night's episode of Lost, and recognized the new female character immediately - Mira Furlan - she played Delenn on Babylon 5. Cool! Of course, she looks a little different without the bone-head.

Speaking of recognizing actors from other series - we watched the first disc of Sliders the other night, and recognized several people from other sci-fi shows.

  1. Of course, I had to tell C straight off that one of the main actors, John Rhys-Davies, was Gimli in Lord of the Rings (he was like 'No WAY!').
  2. The first and second episodes had Gary Jones (a Stargate Tech (now Sergeant) in Stargate SG-1).
  3. Episode 3 had a couple of people: Allison Hossack (she's been in both SG-1 and Atlantis) and Garwin Sanford (Narim, one of the Tollan, in SG-1 and Simon in Atlantis).
  4. Episode 4 had Jennifer Hetrick (Vash from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine).

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Some more knitting progress

Tension continues to be one of my issues, and obviously I have to pay more attention to the pattern as I go. I definitely need to concentrate a bit more for now, as I easily spot two places where I knitted when I should have purled. But I am learning, and this is probably the longest I have actually knitted a piece (it's bigger than the first knitted dishcloth), and those are definitely important things for me to keep in mind. If anyone has any advice or tips, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Tension, ah, tension, and pattern... things to concentrate on...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A little more Lucien


There's a little more progress. I'm still hoping to finish him this month, but already we're half-way through November!!!

Speaking of which - I just realized I missed my 1-year blogging anniversary. Who knew I'd actually keep this up?! :)

Perhaps an update on the knitted dishcloth tomorrow - gotta run for now!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Do you know how difficult it is...

to find straight-legged (not tapered), flat-front (not pleated), petite (for us short folk) pants that are of decent quality and don't cost a fortune? Pretty darn difficult. I did manage to find one pair this weekend (that also fit), and I found another pair that almost met the straight-legged criteria (and fit), although they are just a tiny bit tapered. Everything else I looked at was tapered or pleated or regular length. I'll have to keep looking. I did find a couple of shirts that I really liked, but all of the sweaters I saw were either too bulky or too thin - not really any in-between.

We watched some of the American Music Awards last night. I usually enjoy watching those (when I can remember that they're on), but last night's show was just average, IMO. We didn't start watching until an hour into the show, so we missed the performances by Maroon 5, Gwen Stefani, and John Mayer..., and the rest of the performances just seemed blah. Oh, and a few of the outfits were... nearly there. Poor Nicolette Sheridan - I used to think she was a bit classier than she was last night.

We've finished season 3 of Alias, and now we're impatiently awaiting January for the start of season 4. I'm so impressed with that show, I look forward to whatever twist that comes up next. Next up in the Netflix queue is Sliders, seasons 1 and 2. C has never seen the show, and it has been a while since I watched it (and I didn't watch all of the episodes either). I remember liking the concept (more wormholes - wormholes everywhere!) of different earth realities. I know the cast changed after a bit, and I'm not sure how that affected it (because I stopped watching it before that time for some unknown reason).

I had a blast at the Moonlight Stitch Saturday night, and gave away most of the cross stitch magazines and books that I had culled from my collection and decided I no longer needed or wanted (my old For Sale/Trade list). I worked on Lucien most of the evening, and was so proud that I didn't purchase a single thing. I didn't even look. I just enjoyed the company of stitching friends that I don't get to see very often.

A little more knitting too, although I'm starting to think I need to pay a little more attention when I'm working on it (the dishcloth) - either that or get some pattern markers - because I noticed where I forgot to purl in a couple of places. Fortunately, this IS a practice piece, just for me, and I'm NOT ripping it back to there just for a couple of stitches. At least I haven't dropped any - YET. :) Maybe a new pic of the dishcloth or L

Friday, November 12, 2004

Holy cow and good grief!!

Was it really over a YEAR ago that I took that knitting class? Well, here is my latest attempt at knitting a second dishcloth - this time with a knit 3 purl 1 pattern. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong with purling! Okay, so I've had a bit of trouble with tension and I had to unknit and re-knit about half a row, but it's not so bad, in my humble opinion. ;)

Beginnings of second knit dishcloth

I want to thank all of the commenters on my last post. I've talked with my dad just a little on the subject. Of course, as I knew - it doesn't pay much and it is hard labor, but that's not my motivation for wanting to learn. Because I know that I can't just quit my job at this moment (all of those things mentioned before), I'm going to take baby steps. Dad still wants to finish the upstairs of their current home, so there is a lot which I can learn from helping him with that (in addition to when he builds his next house).

I'm so excited about the prospects! I don't know when we'll begin working on it, but I'm really looking forward to it.

I have fun plans for this weekend, starting with a shopping trip to Kohl's for a few new clothes (hopefully - if I can find what I want). Mom and Dad specifically said that was what my birthday gift was for, since I'd lost some weight and my pants don't fit well now. Saturday evening is the Moonlight Stitching event at my LNS. I've got to gather my magazines and leaflets together that I no longer want so that I can share them with anyone at our gathering who wants them. Sunday is, as always, racing and football! Of course, there is always the laundry to do, but that doesn't take a lot of time or effort. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Ever get a wild hair?

This has probably been brought up because of a co-worker. He's leaving us in a few weeks to go work with his dad and learn the family business. It's something completely different from web site design and development. He's a lot younger than me, and I'm actually quite envious of his choice. Now is definitely a good time for him to be making a career change - before he gets many years into the current one.

I wish I had the chance to apprentice with my dad. I have this urge to learn remodeling and building from him. I used to go help him occasionally on job sites, picking up trash mostly, when I was a teenager. Now I'm wishing I had paid more attention and actually helped him out and learned "the business" from him.

Alas, I think I'm stuck. It's a product of being in a decent-paying job, that isn't too stressful, for nearly 15 years. I've slowly worked my way up the ladder, and I have great benefits - health insurance (absolutely necessary in my case - I tend to get sick a lot), paid holidays, 4 weeks of paid vacation a year, and paid sick leave. I'm also vested in both the disability and pension plans. I would be absolutely crazy to give all of that up.

And yet, the idea still intrigues me.

I'm pretty certain my dad will build another house for Mom and him. I don't know when he wants to start, but I think I'm going to ask him if I can help him build it. Granted, I don't know the first thing about building a house. But even a thirty-something can learn new skills, can't she?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

An update and blending filament

Current
Previous

Sorry for the delay, but I just didn't get to my scanner yesterday. So here is my latest progress - I've been filling in mostly on the left side, with just a few beads done on the right. I am slowly making my way downward, and realized that I really do need to be stitching the 095 blending filament over the fire as I go, because I love the way it looks, but I hate the way that I feel like I'm making no forward progress as I work on that task.

Basically, I wanted the fire to be really, really sparkly. So instead of blending the blending filament with the floss as I go, I decided to stitch it over the top of the finished stitches. It really does make for a great effect, but it is more time-consuming this way.

This shows part of the fire with blending filament and part of it without (as of yet) More detail of fire with blending filament


When it's blended with the floss, it is a much more subtle effect, because the blending filament tends to slip behind the floss, and it only occasionally peeks out. (I don't have a photo of this to compare right now, but trust me, the difference is quite noticeable).

Thanks to everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes. I had a wonderful day off yesterday, just stitching away, making some chili, watching some Alias and Shrek (the first one - I'd never seen it!).

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Just the way I like it

Today has been a wonderful birthday - very low key, a few conversations on the phone with friends, watching my Steelers win against the unbeaten Eagles, and watching Ken Schrader's in-car camera (only the 2nd time he's had one this season) on Nascar InDemand. I had a pancakes breakfast treat, and tonight we're going to Mikado for dinner. I've been stitching on Lucien in between the sports on tv and a couple of loads of laundry. We even have Shrek to watch tonight or tomorrow.

I DO love Nickelback - I take it that The Long Road is a good CD? I'll have to listen to the rest of it sometime - I've only heard the singles they have out, but I love Chad Kroeger's voice. I just love music. In fact, if there's no one around the house but me, I'll often turn on the digital music channels rather than a tv show.

If I had to guess, I probably stitch anywhere between 10 and 20 hours per week, depending on how much other stuff I've got going on. I no longer keep track of my time, but I do have one advantage over several friends - I have no children (other than my kitties). I also don't have to work very much overtime - mostly just a 40 hour work-week for me. So even when I go exercise after work, do running around, or whatever, I still usually have at least an hour a night that I can devote to stitching, especially when we watch our tv shows or dvds.

I'll try to have another progress pic of Lucien tomorrow - I've been working my way down the left side of the design this time. I wish the sparklies showed up better in photos, because they really enhance the design. I've gotten quite a bit accomplished, and because I have tomorrow off, I'll hopefully get quite a bit more done this week!

Friday, November 05, 2004

On a brighter note

Today is Friday and payday again (this will become the norm next year when our payroll department changes to a bi-weekly instead of semi-monthly system). I am so looking forward to this weekend. I don't have any set-in-stone plans except for dinner at Mikado Sunday. We'll just wing everything else. I hope to get plenty of stitching in, especially since I'm taking Monday off.

I downloaded and installed iTunes last night. The program itself is free (of course, it's something like 21MB). The songs are 99 cents each. I haven't had much time to play with it yet, but since I don't plan on buying an MP3 player for a while (6 regular CDs do a pretty good job in my changer in the car), I decided to go ahead and give it a test. One of the things that "sold" me was their catalog of over a million songs (and growing). I'm looking forward to really giving it a good test drive. Their licensing scheme doesn't seem too unreasonable, and I remember the last price I paid for a 45 RPM record - 99 cents. The one song I chose to buy last night (Nickelback's Feelin Way Too Damn Good) downloaded in just a few seconds, and the quality sounded really good.

I'm still stitching on Lucien. In fact, I've made finishing him this month one of my goals. I've decided to pare down the goals this month - I've given myself 5 (in the crafting arena):

November goals:
  •  Crochet 3 more squares on the 63 squares afghan
  •  Work on Scott's Ships quilt
  •  Finish Lucien
  •  Stitch one Christmas ornament
  •  End the month with 27 WIPs left

I think that's a little more do-able than last month's goals. I didn't even work on Scott's ships quilt last month. I didn't make it through another round in the rotation because I got stalled out by Lucien. With the colder weather here recently, I thought I would try again this month for a Christmas ornament. That is, if Lucien gets finished. We'll see. I have a lot rolling around in my head. :)

Oh, and I pulled back out Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (book-on-tape), and am listening to it again. It's really cool weather at the point where I am in the book, and it just seemed appropriate this morning as I drove to work. I'll probably be bringing the Charlie Brown Christmas CD in to work pretty soon - yes, I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but I love listening to Christmas music, especially the older classics - Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Perry Como, etc. It's what we listened to when I was a kid, and just brings back good memories and nice, warm, fuzzy feelings.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

What I've been reading...

I haven't been reading much fiction lately. I'm not sure why, but maybe I just haven't been able to concentrate. Which is really weird when I think about what I have been reading (in addition to the Home Comforts book I mentioned a couple of posts ago). It's a book that was recommended on some financial advice site (and I can't remember which one now, sorry!). The Coming Generational Storm: What You Need To Know About America's Economic Future by Laurence Kotlikoff.

What I've read in this book scares me, and I don't scare easily.

I found a sort of capsule article at USAToday.com covering some of what is covered in the book. The looming national benefit crisis.

Perhaps this is also influencing my thoughts about home, housekeeping, and trying to get things in order, especially now financially. We are all going to be affected by this, in one way or another. I just hope our leaders choose to address it sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, I don't think that will happen. Neither candidate wanted to address it for this election, and they will probably continue to sweep this problem under the rug until there is a major crisis. And by that time, there will be no fixing it.

On top of that, I'm feeling very uncertain about the future of our country in the wake of our elections. I think Wil Wheaton's post pretty much summed it up for me: the voice of America

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

More thoughts

I went through the new cross stitch book listings for November on Hoffman Distributing's site and didn't really see anything that jumped out at me and said, "Put me on your wish list, you know you want to stitch me!" I wonder if this is because of the styles and designs being put out lately (and my not being interested in them), or if it is partly influenced by my feeling of having "too much stuff." I know, as stitchers, we say things like you can never have too much stash, but I wonder if there really is a saturation point. And if there is, am I there?

Of course, I don't believe that I'll never buy another new design, but I find myself thinking about all of the designs I already have. I've been stitching for over 20 years now. I've also been collecting designs for nearly that long. I have a really (in my humble opinion) nice collection of designs waiting to be stitched.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Under a wizard's spell

Spice's decal for passing inspection

Yes, indeed, I have been working on Lucien, and here is the latest. Click the photo for a larger version. I absolutely, positively LOVE working on him.

It's funny, I'll be driving around town or doing my walking, and something will pop into my head that I'll think, "Hey, there's something for me to blog about." And then I forget what it was, or it just doesn't seem as important or timely. But I do have one thing which has been rolling around in my brain lately that I just want to get some thoughts down "on paper."

I'm reading a book recommended by a dear friend who knows about my struggles with clutter and housekeeping in general. It's Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. I haven't gotten very far in it yet, but it looks like it might be a worthwhile purchase (I borrowed it from my local public library). The very first sentence in the preface is, "When you keep house, you use your head, your heart, and your hands together to create a home -- the place where you live the most important parts of your private life."

As I go through what I'm hoping is a caterpillar-butterfly transformation, I'm realizing that "housework" should not be thought of as drudgery (as my opinion has been since my teenage years and even earlier). Even now, as I have responsibility for 3 kitty-children, one of whom has special needs, I take a lot of pride in taking care of them, and I do not mind the every day ritual of scooping their litter boxes. I hear people complain about having to do this and it makes no sense to me. Call me weird, but I feel privileged to do it for them.

Ever since I shined my sink a couple of weeks ago, I've been thinking about this whole concept of keeping house. I've been keeping my kitchen sink shiny. Even that one step has really made a difference in the way I feel about being in my kitchen. I explained to C a little about what I was trying to do. At first he rolled his eyes, as he does sometimes when I start a new "project." But I've been sticking with it, and I've been leaving out a fresh towel and dishcloth nearly every day (I need to buy a couple more) to wipe my sink dry after use, and C even told me the other day that he can really see the difference it makes.

So I'm thinking about this concept of keeping house and making a home. We've lived here for over 5 years now. I look back at photos of when we first moved in, when we didn't have as much "stuff," and while some of the stuff we've acquired over the five years has enhanced our home, that is not the case with all of it. I've been working a bit on removing the things which we do not love, or which do not give us comfort, but it has to be done in baby steps, changing my attitude a little at a time.

It helps to keep the lines of communication open during this process. That way C doesn't see me just pitching things out for no reason, and he understands the benefits we both reap as a result. He has contributed to the process, and I think we are on our way to an even better appreciation of each other and our "refuge."