There’s something wrong with this moving concept

moving 022008 019
I mean, you spend weeks packing up everything you own, a few hours schlepping it to a new space and then weeks unpacking it all. There should be some better way of doing things, but I can’t quite figure it out right now. In fact, I’m so devoid of any desire to do anything that I’ve had to bribe myself to pack. For each room I finish I get to buy one thing off my wish lists over at This is significant in light of the fact that last night I spent a few hours adding about fifty items to various lists. Much for the home (a wok, some interior design books, a new litter box) some music (complete works of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart) and a whole lot of books about stuff like amigurumi, quilting, crochet.

I still haven’t done much of anything but when I do, there’s a lot of treats to choose from!

moving 022008 005 I’m reduced to standing up to eat unless I take my plate into another room. And I’ve reinstalled the microwave because I want to box up my pots and pans soon. I’m not supposed to move until the end of March, but what I really want is to get a lot of stuff into the new place so that the move itself doesn’t cost me a small fortune. I have so much crafting stuff, so much framed art (which is hard to pack) and a bunch of small appliances that I hate the idea of packing. I’m thinking about trying to get much of that over to my new flat before the move date. Leave the books and furniture for the husky lads from Golan’s.

My goal is to have both bathroom and kitchen fairly well set up by the time of the actual move. That way the most critical stuff is in place, and the night of the move won’t be hideous.

moving 022008 009 One of the gals from my live journal friends’ list volunteered to come pack in exchange for a couple of the small appliances I’m giving away. I told her it wasn’t necessary, but she seems to want to and boy I could use the help with the delicate stuff. Since she says she’s a whiz-bang packer of delicate things, I told her she is more than welcome and I’d feed her, too!

And this coming weekend, Dawn, Taylor and I are going up to the Home Decorator’s Collection store to check out some items we’ve been eying in their catalog. Dawn is looking for a sofa and I’m considering a banquette group for my sun porch. And of course we’ll be making our traditional stop at Ikea for ideas and measurements.

What I really want to be doing is making stuff. This is all happening too fast and too slow at the same time. But it’s a Good Thing. Completely.


Awake at four-thirty. Again.


However I refuse to lie in bed and do nothing so I’m up scouting for sources for hemp yarn. I’m wanting to make washcloths and net market bags with it as an alternative to conventionally raised cotton. So I’m poking around at Yarn Market and one of the brands that comes up is Vickie Howell. For those who don’t know, Vickie is the host of “Knitty Gritty” and one of the “Stylicious” gals. She’s a lot of fun, and her show is interesting and informative.

So anyway, I got curious and looked at a couple of other yarns in her line. “Love” is a silk-bamboo combo, and each colorway is named after a couple. Some I didn’t recognize at all, but then I saw “Mulder and Scully,” “Harold and Maude,” “Buttercup and Wesley.” I have to admit that it put a smile on my face. But what really made me happy was to see a beautiful periwinkle blue colorway named “Jack and Ennis.” Vickie, you rock.

If I still can’t sleep when I finish this post, I’m going to go and sit down with today’s magazine haul. Not only did I get the newest Somerset Studio, but my first issue of Marie-Claire Idees arrived. I know that if I stay subbed for long enough, my French is going to improve dramatically since I’ve already spent quite a lot of time peering at directions for various projects and trying to suss them out. (“That can’t possibly mean ‘cabbage’ can it? Oh… maybe it does.”) Between those two and a garden catalog I’d never seen before, but which has a huge array of bird feeders and houses, I could read well past dawn if I have to. I just don’t want to have to.

Finally, my crocheted, felted laptop cozy. It wants some closures and it’ll be finished.

Laptop cozy

Enormous changes make me sleepy

I find I can’t sit down for five minutes in front of the TV without dropping off to sleep for an hour or two. It’s nuts. I have so much packing to do and yet today I sat down to have lunch and watch a bit of the Firefly marathon, and woke up at six when Charles called to see if I was okay. Apparently his brother told him I looked under the weather yesterday. I reassured him, we chatted about the closings for a bit (Bless him, he wants to take me to both of them.) and when we hung up I looked at the clock and couldn’t believe that it was evening already and I’d not packed a single box.

I made up for that a bit tonight, packing several boxes of fragile things which take a lot longer than tossing books into boxes. I also did a CoA with the post office, though a friend said she wouldn’t have done it this early because she doesn’t trust them not to just start forwarding stuff now. So now I’m fretting about that. I also made a reservation with the moving company for the 28th. And it turns out that Glinda is moving in on the same day, so it’s going to be a hugely busy house that Friday. Eh, it’ll give us both the weekend to put our places together.

We both wanted to go to the Home Decorator’s store up in the NW ‘burbs today, but it didn’t work out. There’s a banquette group I’m looking at for my sun porch, and she wants a new couch, but won’t buy it unless she can sit on it first.

I also contacted a local antiques place about restoring my grandmother’s cedar chest, and the woman I spoke to was so cheerful and enthusiastic that I feel very good about the decision. She’s coming by on Friday to look at the chest, and I may ask her about the sofa, too. It’s terribly comfortable but needs reupholstering.

Dept. of Coolness: Google’s street view has extended as far as the new place. I did a virtual walk-through of my new neighborhood the other day. Looks good. Lots of family stuff. A couple of schools and churches. Nice area to live in. I think I’ve been very lucky.

Shopin kat spenz munny

Long ago my friend, Karen, said to me: “Everyone has a right price in their head for everything.” By which she meant that you and I could look at the same item, let’s say… a coat, and I might look at it and think “Well made, good material, nice color, but I don’t think it’s worth $300.” because for that kind of money, I’d expect something very special. You might look and say “Well made, etc” and happily pay $300 for it because it fits within your definition of a properly priced coat. And neither of us would be wrong because it’s an individual call.

Today I got an email from Horchow. You know, Horchow-of-the-Horrifying-Prices? Anyway, they were offering an extra 20% off everything on the site today. (Promotional code: LOVELY Just in case there are others out there who hear the siren song.) Anyway, I bopped on over there to see what was up, and it turns out there were a lot of things on sale, so with the extra 20%, I actually found some items I wanted — and yes, even needed — that seemed reasonable to me.

I, apparently, have a very strict right price on tableware. I would pay $40 for a teapot I liked, but not $40 for a dinner plate I loved. Though perhaps that’s not an apt example since I have a weakness for vessels of all sorts. Teapots, pitchers, vases, and to a lesser extent, cups and bowls; they all delight me. Rather say that I would pay — had I the money — $300 for an Alençon or Battenburg lace tablecloth, but ask me $300 for a set of lace-trimmed sheets and I’d say “Tcha, sure. When monkeys fly out my butt.” Or words to that effect. It’s not that I don’t love beautiful bedding. Pretty bedding is a weakness of mine. But for some reason, the right price in my head does not allow that sort of expense.

On websites, I automatically go to the “clearance” or “sale” section first to see what’s available. And I can’t help but wonder what Horchow’s definition of “clearance” is when table runners are going for upwards of $350, or sheet sets for $1000+.

In any event, I got some things I needed, and I feel I got them at a reasonable price. Shopin kat iz happy nao.

Sometimes life just gets a bit overwhelming

To be honest, I should never have signed up for a class this term. I really should have known that things wouldn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped with the move and all. The weather this winter hasn’t made it that much better, and by last night I’d pretty much decided that I wasn’t going to go to the last felting class today.

I had a fairly bad night last night, too. I’m not sure what provoked it, or if anything really did since I do have them. You know, when you’re alone inside your head with your thoughts and memories, when guilt and grief mix themselves into a frothy cocktail of misery, and it’s dark and lonely? When you cry so hard and get so congested you can’t even swallow without your ears aching? Yeah, it’s kind of funny later, but at the time you think “Oh yeah, of course. Something else going wrong!”

Just about then, some poor idiot on another blog picked a fight with me, and I didn’t even try to be polite about it.

But when I woke up this morning I was clear-headed and thought that I might still make it to class, until the phone started ringing. My contractor called, needing to discuss some of the work that has to be done in the new place. And a friend wanted some help figuring out how to get home from Michigan after a near-fatal car wreck this weekend. (She’s fine. Car is not. Survival was, apparently, something of a miracle.) By then I was in no mood, and it was late anyway.

In spite of my best intentions I napped for much of the afternoon. You don’t sit up until five-thirty in the morning, blowing your nose and trying to find something interesting to read on the computer, and then feel good the whole of the next day. Which means I got nothing done. And getting things done was more or less the original intention of skipping the last class.

There are just some days that should be skipped.

Our money’s worth

Mother Nature seems determined to give us our money’s worth this winter. Considering that it’s been a long time since we’ve had a proper Chicago winter, there’s not much to complain about really, but we do it anyway. Just to keep in practice. The glut of snow in the last two weeks has raised a lovely crop of kitchen chairs and other barriers on our side streets. This is a city where the concept of “dibs” is still pretty much respected. You shoveled it out, it’s yours for the rest of the winter, and those old kitchen chairs prove it.

This morning was sunny and melty. I took the opportunity to get out and run some errands, and soak up a bit of that sunshine. Unfortunately there was so much packed snow in some places that walking was pretty treacherous, so I went with another local tradition: Walk in the street. This only works on main streets, really, since the side streets are frequently as packed with snow as the sidewalks. Chicago drivers don’t seem to mind much since they know the inevitable answer to a complaint will be “Oh yeah? You go walk on that sidewalk and I’ll take your car home, k?”

I got to one bus stop and nearly fell about half a dozen times, though fortunately there was a chainlink fence to hang on to. I had one hand on the fence and the other reaching for the bus sign pole, and I kind of slid from one to the other. When I got hold of the pole I just held on. The bus pulled up, I said to the woman getting off: “Be really careful here, it’s wicked slippery.” and she replied “Yeah, and hang on once you board.” I found out pretty quick what she meant. Kamikazee bus driver. He wasn’t angry or frustrated, just wild, and maybe a bit behind schedule, though I doubt it.

As I was getting ready to get off the bus, he said “Isn’t it a beautiful day?” I agreed, and then said not to get too used to it since we’re supposed to get socked with some arctic weather tomorrow with wind chills in the -30 degree area. He said he didn’t believe that would happen and I said “I hope you’re right.” You know, the way you do with strangers who clearly don’t read newspapers, watch TV or have much of a grip on what’s going on in the larger world.

Then he said to me: “If you have faith in God, He’ll make spring come.” “Well eventually,” I countered. “No, today,” he said as if it made total sense that we could suddenly see the snow disappear and the whole city blooming in the next twelve hours. “Ah, I said,” and got off the bus. I suppose he had to have a lot of faith in God to drive the way he did.

Later it occurred to me that my faith or lack thereof wasn’t really the point. It seemed like hubris to me that he thought he could speak for anyone else let alone God. As if he could just phone Him up and say “Enough of this winter. We need spring and we need it today, understand?” Maybe even add “You know… things can get broken.” With poor God on the other end going “I have schedules to adhere to!”

People are so funny. Maybe if we didn’t assume so much about what our deities want, and just attended to our own actions, the world might be a bit easier to live in.

And the weather? Yeah, it’s getting colder. Poor God.

What to do when your city gets buried by snow

Chicago seems to have disappeared. But I’m snugged up with my cat and a lot of tea, so I’m good for a while. The only thing I’m kind of worried about is whether I’ll be able to get to class on Monday or not. I’ve already missed two, but if this snow keeps up public trans will be a nightmare. Eh, best not to worry this early.

So I spent the day working on a pair of felted slippers. Not ones I’d knitted, but ones I’d bought from a dollar store down the block. $1.49 and butt-ugly, but with just the right texture to the upper that I figured I could probably felt it pretty easily. I did manage to stab myself a number of times and thank goodness I’m using red wool! I did learn that the rubbery matting you use under rugs to make them stay put is an excellent felting pad. It’s got more give than foam and it doesn’t stick to the wool quite as badly, so doesn’t form an underside that looks like Einstein’s hair. I wish I’d taken a photo of them before I began, but of course I will when I finish. I still have to line them, though the black and white polka-dot pattern on the sole is kind of growing on me.

Earlier this evening I went to the Tinsel Trading website and found wonderful little velvet pansies that I’m going to use to edge the tops, and a pretty grosgrain ribbon that I’m going to ruche, and apply around the edges of the sole to hide the ugly white rubber bottoms as well as the gaps where the felting needle just doesn’t do the job. The color scheme is red and purple (and black-and-white polka dots) so they’re kind of, uh, bright. I’m thinking of going totally over the top and embellishing them with rhinestones, too. We’ll see how ambitious and crazed I feel when I get to that point.

I can’t really wear them around a lot since there’s no support in them at all, but to run from the bedroom to the bathroom, I think they’ll do. And they’ll look adorable beside my bed.

Speaking of shoes, I finally got to see “Kinky Boots” tonight and just loved it. Chiwetal Ejiofor knocked me out, as usual. What an amazing actor. Especially in thigh-high red leather stiletto-heeled boots.

Ow, ow, ow…

I got slammed with a migrane this afternoon, and have done virtually nothing all day except lie around and hope for oblivion. I found a vicoprofin in a drawer, but it’s barely taken the edge off.

Consequently, all I have to offer is this, photos of my new garden in summer.


Obviously they’re not mine. I think the agent took them. I swiped them when we were over at the new place yesterday doing measurements. Pretty, huh?

Curious, these feelings

I just found out that one of my best friends has cancer.

What’s curious is that I have not been thrown into a massive tizzy by the news. The old me would have been. I’d have had a knot in my stomach and a sense of impending doom that I couldn’t shake. I’d have become so keyed up that I’d have screamed at everyone. Every little thing would have been a huge issue for me. In short, I’d have become unbearable because I couldn’t bear the anxiety.

Why the change? Well partly I think it’s the Effexor. And partly because her cancer is a relatively slow type which is still in very early stages. There’s every chance that she’ll be fine.

Perhaps it’s something darker. Perhaps it is, as I have long suspected, that once you actively wish for your own death, or experience the death of someone who meant everything to you, it’s never far from you. It becomes a kind of silent companion, always sitting off to the side, waiting for you to make your decisions. It’s not scary anymore, just… there.

Or maybe I’ve just learned that fear accomplishes nothing. Or that there’s nothing I can do for her. One lesson I’ve finally learned is that you can’t ever save anyone else. Ask Orpheus.

I wrote the above yesterday on my Live Journal. All night, I thought about what I’d written, and the idea kept coming back to me: Death makes a lousy boyfriend. This morning I wrote this poem, and felt like sharing it:

Death is a lousy boyfriend.
Oh, they told you not to get involved with him, but did you listen?
They said “He’ll take everything, leave you with nothing.”

But you were sure they didn’t see him the way you did,

The kindness in his eyes,

The soft forgetting of his kiss.

So now it’s over, and you want to get on with your life, but he won’t move out.

He sits at the table, picking food off your plate

And reads the newspaper over your shoulder,

Commenting on everything.

“Shut up,” you say. “Get out of my life.”

But he just smiles and calls you “Suicide Girl” in that soft voice of his.

“I never lied to you. You knew what I was.”

He tells you “You’ll want me again someday.”

Then he sits down in a corner, or a dark closet,

Or goes to live under your stairs where you never look.

And the craziest thing is that you’re kind of glad to have him around.

He makes you feel safe.

Today is the first anniversary of my mother’s death. Much as I miss her and my father, my shadowy boyfriend seems to have effectively hidden himself away so that I’m no longer even aware of him. I can’t help but think that this is a Good Thing.