Category Archives: William

In honor of all of you who have recently downsized

Perhaps it was the hiking in fresh air yesterday, but today’s the day! I’m sorting the bookshelves in the bedroom.

I so like the trendy style of sorting books by color (as they are at the backroom bar/library at Petworth Citizen) and that’s fine for browsing, but not for retrieving. At home I make my own categories:

‘read and liked it’
‘read it but can’t remember — might try again’
‘meant to read’
‘should have read’

and then the purely esthetic traits — beautiful spine and ‘just the right size for this shelf.’

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William’s helping, like this.

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Alas, there are more shelves on the first floor and in the basement.

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after the party

 

These are the white objects in the house the morning after a great party. Now I am sixty years old.

just take them

 

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Re: [freecycledc] OFFER: Drywall buckets with handles — Petworth

Taker: Great. Trying to work out when I could stop by. Where are you located?

Me: [My address]. How many do you want?

Taker: 5 and i could grab them tomorrow during the day if that works for you.

Me: That’s perfect.  I’ll put 6 or 7 on the porch in case you want more, or just take the ones you want.  I’m just curious what you will use them for.

Taker: I’m renovating my house and always have a need for these. Great storage, etc.

Me: Does your partner know you’re doing this?  My husband does renovation too, and I’m the one putting them on Freecycle.

Taker: Ha, yes, she barely tolerates it. Seems like you’re well on your way with all that joint compound.

 

 

music soothes beasts

2 January 2015 (off-line for a few days)

Haiku for today:

That music soothes beasts
Has never been disputed.
The Black Cat heals woes.

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It’s Friday night at the Black Cat School of Rock, blessedly just down the hill from our house. A group of mostly regular characters shows up for open-mic night in this one-room school. The playlist is mainly rock, but also some blues, bluegrass, and grocer Tim Newton’s beautiful, sad ballad “Timber and Coal,” lamenting the enduring loss that quick fortunes brought to a West Virginia town.

Someone (the owner?) has baked cookies and served potato chips on a platter on the piano, in proximity to the big tip jar, which is also passed around the room.

(William always marvels at how the performers fearlessly “put it all out there,” saying he could never do that. Maybe one day he will.)

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there used to be more stuff here

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I think that on the way to taking out the trash and recycling, someone is removing storage containers, piece by piece, thinking that I won’t notice. I do.

the white stool — thinking down, not around

white stool

My photo of the white stool, Berkeley Springs, 28 July 2014

Now that I’m not working at a proper day job, I’m spending more time doing manual work, time-consuming, sometimes smelly or otherwise untoward, usually in some way creative – baking bread, pulling weeds, sorting books; the mind has time to wander more deeply. I’m not looking around horizontally — not looking about to see who else is around, wondering why I’m doing the pointless thing at a desk in a cubicle, knowing that it doesn’t matter to me at all, nor much to anyone else either. Instead the thoughts go vertical.

I’m now in the wake of refinishing a piece of furniture, an old stool once owned by partner William’s grandparents, that has been somewhere for all these years, I think with his mother, Sally, who took it up to our Berkeley Springs house when she did some of the initial furnishing there.  It has been sitting in the kitchen or the bathroom there, or traveling between them. I’ve been painting other things here and in Berkeley Springs, and maybe it’s bewitching, because I tend to look around for the next project, so far two chairs on our DC porch (similarly vintage, never upgraded), a canvas ‘rug,’ the kitchen floor. There’s always a little paint left over — or I see where to get more.  I have invested in my own paint can, brushes, roller, so that I don’t have to share with William or suffer through his complaints about my improper cleaning. (I’ve improved at that.)

So I have this odd bench with a strange, u-shaped top shelf.  For sitting?  So that you can set a tall object on the second step, like the vase here?  Was it like a potty chair? It has clearly been painted a few times, so surely it needs to be painted again. First you strip the old paint layers.  For that, I bought that product I knew existed, helpfully called “paint stripper.”  The words on the can suggest that after applying the thick pasty stuff to the surface and waiting a few minutes to an hour, multiple layers of paint, applied even way back when the family had household servants, will just want to jump off the furniture and head out somewhere, job done, leaving bare wood, exposing the tree it once was.

It doesn’t happen that way.  The first application probably cleans the old paint a little, and scraping does little to remove it.  A second application and second scraping reveal that the white stool was once green.  A third application and scraping show some wood.

You see what I mean about the slowness of time and ability to think and ponder. Once you have made such a smelly mess, you cannot stop whenever you feel like it – not like just putting the book down or the knitting aside — because that would mean cleaning it all up and admitting defeat. So you start to observe and wonder, deeper, below the first layers, going vertical instead of horizontal. What is this thing now and what will it be? Who sat here? Who fell off?  Why green? Then why white? It’s not pretty, but sturdy; it wobbles not at all. Was this made by a true craftsperson? Do the screws tell its origin? Why do I care about it?

When will all this paint be gone, if ever?

sharing your cake and eating it too

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I am married to a person who has decided (on his own, but after ten years of subtle, loving nagging) that he might lose a little of that extra girth around the equator by limiting himself to just one slice of cake per sitting.  Although, because of an extremely generous nature probably picked up from his mother, he feels it is only right that he offer a serving to his invisible friend, who stops by frequently.