Working Wednesday: Practice Shots

When I write a book, I think the scenes first.  I stare into space and watch the scene form, telling myself the story.  I’ve been doing that for twenty years, but it wasn’t until this week that I realized that I do the same thing with house projects.  

I’ve been looking at the windows in my bedroom for months, having decided to put shelves up there.  I put the shelves up in my head dozens of times, working out how to give the curtains room to move while keeping the shelves solid, figuring out how long they have to be–the bottom one has to be long enough to go across the whole room (which is under eight feet wide), the top one has to be shorter because there’s a lamp on the bottom one–how much room I need to leave at the ends for my giant daisies and power cords, how to line them up with the window framing.   It’s the same thing with my kitchen: I’d used two different storage units on the counters toward the front of the house and they bothered me, a lot.  I’ve now figured out how to replace them and get the look I want while still keeping them sturdy enough to hold bowls and canisters because I kept staring at that wall and putting up new shelves in my head.

Which reminded me of something I read about basketball once: that players who practiced foul shots mentally did as well or better on making actual foul shots as the players who practiced by actually throwing the ball at the net.   So I figure that’s what I’m doing, taking practice shots.

Or procrastinating.  It’s hard to tell the difference.

How did your work week go?


All About You (Krissie)

I’m finally ready to move ahead on the book after absolutely months of rewriting. It would have been faster to write a whole new book, but I’ve loved this unusual (for me) process. I was so excited I almost forgot refab.

I’m excited about Working Wednesdays, but I’m doing so many interesting things I’m probably going to throw them up (not literally) at other times as well. I just passed day 201 of studying Danish (I’m using Duolingo as well as a number of other programs and Duolingo keeps track). Been working on my sewing room, attempting some order in the bedroom (you can barely walk through it) plus writing. I’m getting a little discouraged about the weather here – I’d just like it to reach 80, fer gawd’s sake! I want to float in my pool but it’s too effing cold! My floatie died and I got a new one from Amazon. Looks great, doesn’t it? And I’ve got one of those blow up pools, about 4 feet deep, with a ladder. Now I knew getting on that sucker was going to be difficult, so I climbed two steps up the ladder and tried to fling my leg over. Next thing I knew I was under water with the floatie on top of me. Mama don’t like going under water. I had my iPhone in a water-proof bag that wasn’t completely waterproof (I was listening to an old Georgette Heyer). Undaunted (though with water up my nose), I climbed up on the ladder again, flung my leg over and … you guessed it. I’m looking forward to watching Richie try to get on it but it was too cold for him yesterday. I think we’ll break 80 today.

Anyone who’s got extra energy could send out some healing light or prayer or whatever you do for my cousin Helen who’s going under the knife at 1 today. It’s not looking so good but I’m optimistic, or at least trying to be.

And I’ve been writing the loveliest book in my head about Tom Hiddleston. That man is just adorable, as far removed from my heroes as a human could be (though I use the actor part of him as hero material). The real man seems to be the kindest, sweetest man, and I’m doing this book in my head that would never work because all the tension is in the heroine, but damn, it’s fun! Also, a great way to fall asleep.

What’s on your agenda? I get to write!!!! I’m going to meditate for an hour at one (for my cousin) and float in the pool in the afternoon, and then write like mad the rest of the time. And that’s my plan for the week. At night I do a little work on my revamped sewing room, then I play the guitar and sing, study my Danish, listen to an audiobook, and then move on to  Hiddleston. My, it’s a good life (both kids are stable and content – no crises).

So what’s on your agenda? Who would you most like to f .. er, who would you be most likely to have sexual fantasies about if you didn’t have to be embarrassed or married or old or fat or skinny or whatever? If you could be anyone you want, and the love of your life wasn’t around, who would you choose?

I want answers! Surely I can’t be the only one who does this. Come on, don’t be shy. (And the person doesn’t have to be alive or old in your fantasies. I’d take James Dean in a flash). Or hey, if you’re feeling shy – who would you model your perfect hero on?

And now, for your delectation:

Working Wednesday: An Idea

So Krissie and I were talking about how much we need to get done (she’s making progress, I’m not) and I thought that maybe what I needed was a little public accountability. I need to get shelves up in the kitchen and my bedroom and the workroom, for example, which involves cutting wood and painting it and screwing things is, and I’ve need to do that for months, the wood has been leaning against the wall in my kitchen for weeks, and yet I keep walking over it. I need to get my lavender in before it dies in its pots. And my raised beds built. And the TV cabinet built. And there’s this book I need to finish . . .

So what I was thinking was that maybe on Wednesdays, I (and you if you want) could post here what what needed to be done in the next week, and then check in the following week in shame or triumph. Mollie’s looking into whether we can photo-posting in the comments, which would be fun and helpful, too.

I’m still in the hmmmm stage on this, so I’ll open it to you ReFabbers: Good idea or not interested?

Jane’s idea to focus on one thing each week is excellent. Let’s do that.

The Great Yarn Beat Down, or Life at Jenny’s

So I’m here in NJ where we’ve been having a Gathering of the Goddesses, including Lani and her two amazing daughters, Sweetness and Light. I hadn’t seen the girls for years, and I still thought of them as around 11 and 13, which was way off – they’re now 15 and just-turned 18 and they are admirably fierce. Sweetness got her nose pierced for her birthday, the fearless creature, and Light kicks butt (in a thoroughly charming way). Lani, of course, is the goddess she is, with a great streak of pinkish-purple in her hair. She’s got a fabulous job, a fabulously empty bed no longer filled with a faux-Scots wanker, and life is good.

I got here on Wednesday, drove Jenny to the eye doctor on Thursday and on Friday we played. Saturday Lani & Co. arrived and we went out to breakfast, where Jenny terrorized me. Of course, I’d been jabbering in Danish at her for two days so it’s no wonder she was looking a little glassy-eyed and and thinking wistfully about “Saw II: The Reckoning.”

We ate too much at breakfast, then Crusie crashed, Sweetness and Light crashed and Lani and I went shopping. (When the going gets tough the tough go shopping).

And we returned for the Great Yarn Beatdown, similar to this summer’s Great Fabric Beatdown.

First of all, Jenny’s got a stash that she’d never get through if she lives until 100, and the sheer amounts are crushing her. So she’s doing slash and burn – she’ll still need to go through things again, but right now she’s made a huge difference, and Lani went home with a bag of yarn, a half finished sock (her knitting is phenomenal) plus a new Crusie purse that I reluctantly passed over (happily Crusie showers me with treasures, so I was willing to give it up since I already have the Disney Villains on my usual purse.) So we came back from brunch at Kathy’s and Jenny attacked the pile.
It’s been a massive undertaking. The girls played outside with the dogs (Jenny’s house is basically a tiny house full of treasures and magic) while Lani knitted and I crocheted.

So I’ve got a dozen trash bags full of yarn (plus a car loaded with other goodies). Which means I can crochet madly while listening to audiobooks, which I need to do because I need many ways to wallow in story. I’ll be showing you my creations and the books that I read – hey, maybe I’ll even do that on Facebook.

Anyway, Lani and the girls left (sob) and we were all set to watch “Moana” when we had an epic brown-out and we both toddled off to bed. Today, more yarn, then (heehaw) clothes. Tomorrow I head back home.

Anyway, peaceful goddess time in NJ (we weren’t in the mood for wild right now) and we have to do it again. Maybe next time with tattoos.

So, with all this excitement I gotta ask – what’s on your agenda?

All About You (Krissie)

Photo on 1-16-17 at 9.56 AM #2 Ah, me! (Which, incidentally, is what Juliet says at the beginning of the balcony scene). I’m full of quotes today. I looked at my image on Photo Booth and I looked soooooooooo old! But then the line from “Gigi” popped into my mind – “Am I getting old?” “Oh, no, not you!”
And now that song will be in my head all day.
I’m working on hauling out my office, but it’s a huge job. I need to figure out how to break it down-it gets too overwhelming. I keep grabbing boxes full of stuff and finding twenty differents places for things to go. I probably need to find ways to break it down, and yet, storing, tossing and giving away is a no brainer, but a lot of the stuff simply needs to go somewhere. Probably because my office is downstairs, I toss everything in there if I have to do a sudden cleaning (it’s always wrapping and present center during Christmas). I need to figure out how many receptacles I need and where to find ’em. I have one for giveaways, one for “to-file”, one for memorabilia (my mother’s writing, etc), trash, of course, one for office supplies …
Okay, bird by bird. I managed to write three days last week – I’m hoping for five this week but four will do. Things are always pulling at me. I’ve decided I can’t start swimming again – it’s too expensive and takes too long (25 miles away). (However, I’m seeing more surgeon tomorrow since it’s been a year since my shoulder replacement and it might be a good idea for the shoulder, in which case I’ll figure it out). So it’s gonna be writing in the morning, working on the house in the afternoon and sewing when I get the chance.

My pal Mort (Maggie Shayne) has a system where she breaks her days into segments – I think they’re two-hour ones. She puts them in spiritual terms, but I’m just trying to be as simple as possible. If I could implement that it would be perfect – one segment for writing every day (always with the option for keeping going), one segment for the house, one segment for fun. I’ve got to put some thought into it – how much downtime in between, etc. I’ll work on this and let you know how it goes.

Tomorrow the rest of the pets! I found a cat video on Amazon (as in, video for cats, with squirrels and birds) and our babies when crazy. Thunderpaws kept looking behind the flat screen, trying to find the squirrel, Lulubelle sat on the rug, transfixed. It was a hoot!

What’s on your agenda? (And no, I’m not getting old, right? Older, sure. I like that. I just wish it could go both ways).

All About You (Krissie)

Photo on 11-28-16 at 10.35 AM

So shall we do a tap dance and tell you everything is fine? Not my style, but then, there are times you gotta pull up your socks and move on. (Bad Tim stuff).

I’ll go with our first holiday tradition – Stoop Soup. A treasured recipes from the 1970’s made by yours truly when I was a cute young wife living in an old farmhouse in the tiny town of Stannard, VT (where Bernie used to live). First, you cook a huge, fabulous Thanksgiving turkey. Then you strip the leftovers off the bones and put the carcass in a huge pot. You throw in an onion, carrots, celery, any leftover veggies plus peppercorns and a bay leaf and you put it on the back burner of the stove and you turn it on. You let it cook – well, it’s supposed to take 4 hours but I usually forget about it and get back to it in 6, 8, or 12 hours. And you can’t cheat and use a crockpot – it gives it a mushy flavor. When it’s time to go to bed and you can’t cook it any more, nor can you put it in the refrigerator because there’s no room with all the leftovers from Thanksgiving, you put it out on the door stoop, where, because it’s Vermont, snow is covering the ground and the temperature is, at the very best, in the low thirties. You put the lid on and go to bed.
For the next three months you pass it every day and think “God, I have to dump that mess in the woods” but you don’t touch it, and by the time Spring rolls around you make your husband trudge out past the fields into the woods and dump the incredibly horrible smelling mess of bones and mold and rot. Bring the pan back, scrub the hell out of it and start all over again next Thanksgiving.

On rare occasions you can vary the recipe by bringing the stock pot back in the next day, draining it over a colander, toss in some turkey, more veggies, a splash of sherry, a splash of soy sauce, and maybe some leftover rice (though if you don’t eat it all the the rice will swell up even more and become slightly weird). But then you miss the winter decoration of the stockpot on the door stoop, and this time of year it’s all about tradition, isn’t it?

This week I’m meeting Miranda Neville for lunch, going into Burlington to drop off stuff for Goodwill, going to NAMI meetings (tonight and Thursday), start decorating the house, write, sew, and keep my fucking sanity. Also, not cry more than twice a day.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

So what’s on your agenda, my darlings?

The Great Fabric Beatdown (Krissie)

My BFF Sally was here at the end of summer (after the plays were over) and we talked about an Asian shirt she’d made, one i wanted to do too (it had originally been my pattern).  I had Richie go down to the basement and bring up my two tubs of Asian Fabrics, and Sally was incensed that I took such bad care of them.  We were still looking for another one, so I told her to go down into the basement and look.  She came back up with a mission – I had so much fabric simple maundering on the shelves that it was criminal.  She suggested Richie load it all up, carry it over to her barn (which is actually a remodeled living area).  There we could go through with it, I could give stuff away or have a massive yard sale, and then turn on my kids’ rooms into a sewing room that wasn’t dark and dank.
And so we did.
Richie has a full size pickup, with a full-size bed (for people who don’t know pickups, a lot of them are short-beds, making them easier to park, etc).  Richie filled the truck three times with my fabric, worse than even I had thought, and then Sally and I got to work.  We went through tub after tub, sorting the stuff first by what I was willing to give Sally (A lot) and stuff for the supposed craft yard sale).  Once we did that, we started going through all the quilting fabrics, dividing them by color/motif/etc.  I have Asian, Asian Blues, Christmas panels, Christmas reds, Christmas Greens, Christmas blues (I have way too much Christmas fabric, and I gave away a ton, plus made four Christmas quilts already).  Baby fabrics, animal fabrics, geometrics, homespuns, northwoods, batiks, flannels, Asian panels, magic, Laurel Burch, 30s fabric … and of course every color under the sun.  And that was just the quilting fabric.  I gave Sally almost all my flannels, almost all my Batiks (I’m one of the few quilters who isn’t batik-mad.  I like them, of course, but I tend to me seduced by Asian and novelty fabrics).
But I had two huge tubs of fleece (I’ve making a ruin from a vogue pattern pretty soon- dead simple and really warm).  I large tub of knits.  A container of fabrics I bought t G Street Fabrics twenty years ago with Kathy Seidel (I have fabrics that are more than 40 years old).  I have wools, and heavy weight cottons and denim.  And then there are the doll clothes fabric, and my head reels.  Not to mention three large tubs full of UFOs and Brainstorms (bunches of coordinating fabrics that I haven’t figured out what to do with).
We brought my stuff back in one truck load, so that was real progress.
So – I have Asian fabrics and colors against the back wall, UFOs and colors on the side wall, Christmas and novelties on one front wall, apparel and doll clothes on the other shelf (I’m reusing the plastic shelves from the basement to hold all this stuff.)
I’m out of space.  I really gave away at least half my stuff, and I’ve still got too much.  The thing is, I was very self-indulgent when it came to fabric.  If I liked it I bought it – there were prices on stuff I gave to Sally that horrified me, and I’m guessing it was at least $2k worth, possibly more.
Now I’ve got container after container of notions, threads, laces, elastic, etc.  I figure I’ll consolidate the tubs into two or three, plop myself on the bed upstairs, stream something on the tv (nothing with subtitles) and sort through them.  Obviously I’ve got more than enough containers – I’m going to have lots left over.
And in all this stuff I still have tons that I could give away, that I’m holding on to for no particular reason.  Gotta make myself do that too.
The problem with drowning in fabric is that the chaos pretty much smothers your creativity.  If everywhere you look there are bursts of disorganized color you look at it and sigh. Breaking all of it down, culling through it, suddenly makes creativity possible again.
As for the yard sale, we gave that up fairly early as Sally couldn’t resist more and more of the fabric I was giving up.  At that point I was going to figure out some kind of craft swap, but the pile kept dwindling.  I gave seven tubs of stuff to my theater organization for costumes, plus two grocery bags of costume partners, and then someone working for Sally took the rest: a young woman who cleans houses and works like crazy just to make it, who had lots of friends in a similar situation, and that’s just where I wanted the stuff to go.  So I was saved the trouble of a yard sale or a swap and got the stuff to the right kind of place.
Next, I thought I’d give all my scrapbooking to the elementary school.
I’m keeping track of all the UFOs (three quilt tops, at least, to baste and quilt, and soooooo many others projects.  Maybe I should learn to do spreadsheets.
But it’s been quite wonderful, to finally remember what I’ve got.
I did lose stuff that I really loved.  I gave Sally almost everything she wanted (it’s possible that she ended up with more than me) but there were a couple of projects that I wasn’t ready to let go of.  I let her take them with the proviso that I would take them back if she didn’t use them, but when she got all the stuff back to Ann Arbor everything got separated and integrated into color piles, and I feel a little mournful about them.  But I had too much, and even if I lost stuff I really wanted (did you ever notice I have trouble NOT sharing?  A lot of people can’t share – I’m the other way.  I have a hard time holding on to things I love).    Anyway, even if I lost stuff I have enough to keep me busy even if I live to 120.  So it’s all good.
At this point, once I finish up the stragglers (the notions and thread and catologuing the rest of the UFOS) I can face the sewing room with joy once more.  I’m a Taurus – I adore fabric (and China, and silver, and linens, and …at least my Scorpio rising keeps me under control).  And I went to a quilt show last week and barely glanced at the vendors, which is often the main reason I go.  I haven’t bought much fabric in years – now I can stop living in the past with my quilting and start moving forward.