Category Archives: learning

Ironing the Driveway & Other Skills You Never Knew You’d Need…

The result of the traumas related to knitting etc. caused me to lose much of my enthusiasm about making things. I’m not all that good at knitting or crocheting anyway, but I have a few pieces I’m proud of. I had crotched a hat of Malabrigo wool, and have two scarves, one for DH one for me, of Eco Yarn which I knitted.

malabrigo wool

(Malabrigo wool, image via images.google.com, NOT mine!)

The hat disappeared about a week ago. Last weekend I gave up and bought a hat, which is far too big for me, but it was better than having a cold head.

I got home yesterday from the storage where I’d worked on the transfer from one unit to a smaller one. I went back outside, opened the tailgate to get the first box of books I intended to deal with and there was my hat, on the ground  — frozen solid on the dirt driveway. So, we tried various ideas to get it unstuck: heated bottles of water and put on top of the hat, a hair dryer, chipping around the edges with a screwdriver, and finally? A travel iron, which created much steam, but I got the hat thawed enough to pull it from the driveway.

I put a shovel or two of snow where I’d been heating the drive, just in case. I wasn’t very worried, it was 23 degrees outside!

Kneeling in the driveway, running an iron on something which couldn’t be seen from the road? I was just waiting for someone to ask WTF I was doing?

But that didn’t happen. It’s not a skill I’d list in a resume, but it certainly is something new to me, and one I never knew I’d need!

I’ll probably take it apart and make a new hat, after I wash the wool.

frozen driveway.jpeg

(Image via images.google.com, it is NOT mine!)

Advertisements

No More!

For seven years, well, more than that, I’ve been writing about culling things, getting rid of things, and learning to cope with the panic attacks, PTSD and other related dramas.

I’m totally sick of this! So, I have a NEW life goal, well sort of. It’s to get past all the stuff and see what else there is to do?

To that end, I have:

  • Told the antique store I’ll be leaving mid-February.
  • Talked to another antique shop about buying a few pieces.
  • Decided that whatever I keep for the spring flea market I will price before I box it up, so all I have to do in March or April is load it into a car and take it to the market.
  • Decided what things here need to be wholesaled?
  • Decided to have a sale at the antique store, running from 1/1 – 2/15. Half off the big pieces and heavily discounted “get organized” pieces: bins, baskets, etc.

Hopefully, by the end of April I’m done, or if I’m not done, that the pieces still here are designated to go to that consignment shop, this auction, or whatever.

No more!

house with bookcase.jpeg

(via images.google.com . I picked this because of the bookcase. The images with 2 items on a shelf are NOT realistic for us, both collectors and readers!)

Benchmarks along the way:

  1. Completing the move into the smaller storage unit.
  2. Closing that unit.
  3. Removing the bedroom boxes. (in process 12/27/18)
  4. Removing the kitchen boxes.
  5. Clearing enough from the attic that the bays can be built.
  6. Clearing enough from the porch so that we can walk from the corner to the door the long way instead of the way it is now, along the drip edge of the roof.
  7. The shed is culled.
  8. The wood shed is culled.
  9. There’s no misc. stuff stored in the crawlspace.
  10. Nothing queued in the living room to go out.

That’s a lot to do in four months, but like I said, I’ve had it! Two things will limit this:

  • If the PTSD/panic starts up so badly I can’t cope.
  • If physically I am causing myself pain from the work.

 

Baby It’s Cold, Culture, and Change

I first heard the idea that “Baby It’s Cold Outside” as a rape rant a while back and thought it a bit far fetched.

I listened to it again and although I could see the point, it still seemed a bit “off?”

Then I read Shatner’s comments, and something there seemed wrong, although I couldn’t articulate exactly what it was.

A short response to Shatner’s comments changed that. The comment, which I cannot find to quote, was something like, “You’ve missed the point. It’s not up to the guy.”

And the sun burst through the clouds for me.

Okay. I realized my cultural take was that rape is an act of violence. Anything up to violence wasn’t rape. But I am the same generation as Shatner, where, when I was young, women were ornaments, expected to be the “moral guardians” of their families, live for their families, and put up and shut up with whatever men wanted of their bodies. The penultimate Barbie doll outfit when it was new, when I was little, was a bridal dress.

I am a rape survivor, no matter how you parse it, I was raped. It was a violent act. I probably as a young woman put up and shut up 50 or more times with men going farther and using my body more than I wanted them to. I wasn’t discrete, careful or picky enough for a long time (rape survivor and PTSD both contributed there).

But I also described that rape, for years, to men, and even male psychologists said to me, dismissively, “Oh, you were date raped.” as if that made it less of a rape?

I was culturally programmed to “put up and shut up” because of when I was raised. All those June Cleaver, Betty Crocker and Barbie stereotypes contributed. And the sexual revolution changed a lot, but all that stuff still lurks under there, because that’s what being a woman was when I first saw myself as a girl.

This isn’t a bludgeon to beat men with Mr. Shatner, it’s a major cultural shift. I saw the song for years as a seduction song, not rape. And, although there’s no violence in it, I can understand now why someone could see it as rape, because the male character is ignoring what the female says, and that’s not acceptable any more.

sheet music

For years, I thought I’d processed the rape, I could talk about it right? Then about 20 years afterwards, I heard a show on NPR about date rape and this teen-aged guy said something like, “You can’t pay attention to what they say! They think they can’t act like they want it, because they wouldn’t be the right kind of girl if they did. So you can’t listen to them.”

I told DH about this later. When I relayed the comment by the kid, I started crying and cried for days. (Hit a chord, ya ‘think?)

And yet, despite all that, my first reaction was still if there was no violence, there was no rape in “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

I’m culturally programmed; we all are. But the programming has changed.

Hallelujah — It’s about time!

 

Christmas Bread and Dear Bosch

Every year on Christmas Eve we bake bread for the neighbors. It gets involved. We all but sterilize the kitchen first, for one thing.

Last night we self-cleaned the oven. Today I’ve cleaned all the counters around the stove and sink, sterilized them and the sink. DH, as I write this is scrubbing oven racks, the dishwasher is going, as is the washing machine with a large wadge of dishwashing flannel (I gave up on sponges this year.), dish towels and counter rags (I use washcloths).

This year we’re baking 12 loaves, we’ve done up to 16. We give 2 to families with kids and 1 to those without.

We started this years ago when DH was out of work. We just couldn’t come up with the $ to bake cookies or do more elaborate gifts. It’s a single-rise bread, which is the only way we can start this production on Christmas Eve morning and be done before dinner!

After 25+ years now, it’s a tradition, and so we’ve continued it.

But we’re using a lot of our appliances, of course, and that reminded me I keep wanting to write a letter to Bosch.

Dear Bosch,

We love your products. We have various Bosch bits in our cars, a water heater, tools, a dishwasher, range, etc. As I said, we love your products. They’re made with the usual German precision, except when they aren’t, and then they’re a PITA!

  • Why wouldn’t you make oven racks which actually fit in the oven without fussing?
  • The manual for the range says you offer dehydration racks. When we asked Bosch USA about them, quoting the manual? They said there never were such things. (?)
  • Why didn’t you make your “buttonless” controls easier to actually start the machines they’re on?

 

Bosch, obviously, we don’t mind waiting while we save for products we think are well made and will last. I like what you make, and have for decades now, but sometimes….

Wimp

I wimped out. I was supposed to have a colonoscopy and endoscopy this week. I cancelled it.

Why? Because my PTSD brain had decided that I would die under the anesthesia. Crazy, right? But it wouldn’t go away. Every time I did anything about the procedure, it would show up, again and again.

Don’t tell me it’s irrational. Thanks I know that already.

I got tired of crying about it.

Also, different than in years past? I didn’t grit my teeth and just do whatever, so that others wouldn’t know I was scared or think less of me. I was scared and yeah, you can think less of me if you want; I have no control over that anyway.

For one of the few times in my life about something pretty big, I let myself wimp out.

Different? Yes. I kept telling myself it was no big. I kept telling myself it was my crazy PTSD, anxiety-ridden brain going off the deep end.

It wouldn’t go away.

Finally? I was supposed to watch this 40 minute thing for the hospital this morning, and that put me over the edge.

So I wimped out.

On the one hand, it’s nice because I’m actually being honest. (Unlike all the times from dissecting a frog in high school, to almost anything else, up to and including submitting the memoir to a publisher, because I thought others would think less of me if I didn’t.)

And, the pay off? I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t dead, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. But if I was? Well, it’s hard to write and live this life then ‘eh?

And I want a chance to do that living. I owe DH a clean house. I owe myself the chance to see what, if any, impact the memoir can have. I want that. I want to see what kind of other life I can have!

panic

But there’s a large part of me that’s saying “I’m done.” The work which started when I was born 3 months premature, fighting for my life, is complete. And, if I’m really, truly going to be honest here? That’s what really scared me. I wasn’t sure if they put me under I’d  want to come back. So, I blamed the medical profession, but it was just me.

You know? I have no idea who I am if I’m not fighting. And I’m not, not really any more.

Maybe I’ll get a chance to grow up/grow past the stupid childhood before I’m 70? You think?

The Primal Shift

Yesterday was pepper day! I made salsa, put peppers on a ristra, made stuffed peppers for dinner and the freezer, and roasted red peppers for future batches of my version of “tomato” soup.


This morning I’ve been dealing with dried herbs. The farm has PYO herbs and they bunch them occasionally. I use a LOT of parsley, thyme, mixed basils, and rosemary. I make a winter tea from spearmint/lemon balm. Today I went through all the herbs/spices:

  • I have enough/too much thyme. I’ll offer some to friends.
  • I need more parsley.
  • I need more lemon balm/spearmint for tea.

The rest of it I left alone.

If I don’t do this at this time of year, what happens is that around Feb.  I run out of parsley and tea. I object to paying retail for parsley, (Remember this?) so….


This reminded me that I also need a “cube” of pine shavings for the root cellar crates. I’ve tried sand (too heavy) and newspaper (too messy) so this year I’ll try wood shavings. I need to sterilize the crates. They’ve been empty all summer, but weren’t sterilized, as I knew it’d be months before they were put back to use.


There’s also the annual replacing older foods to make room. The last 3C or so of my 2017 winter tea mix is in the compost bucket, for example. The current bottle of thyme will join it soon.

Part of this is having enough parsley, winter tea, thyme, tarragon, etc. Where previously I would have kept all of anything, whether it was likely I’d ever use it, or not? These days I send a email to friends & neighbors asking if they want the extras. If I get no takers, the compost heap gets another donation.

pantry storage

It’s also time to beef up the canned goods. I’m pleased to say that we used all the canned and dried meats I had set aside and the canned veggie shelf has 2 cans of butter beans (used for bean soup), a can of garbonzos (hummus) and 3 cans of chopped chilis. That’s it! Getting to where the flow of pantry items made sense was one goal I had a couple of years ago. We had things we’d stored for years and hadn’t used. We had stuff neither of us liked, because it had been cheap. After three years of work, I’m pleased to say that my pantry at the end of summer has very little in it! More pasta than anything else, and not a huge amount of that. Previously, I had so much food that it was in the attic, under the sink, etc. and wasted mostly!

Still, there is something about the process of getting ready for winter I love. Much of it I hate because I loathe the idea of winter itself. But when I know I have a little food set aside to use midwinter it’s pleasing. It appeals to the frugalista in me, but it also hits a much deeper level.

 

Integrity Counts More Than Noise

There’s an article about the office here for state employees, which handles harassment charges. Most of them go nowhere, but it’s a place for people to complain and get action before things get out of hand in the workplace.

Having been pulled into people’s laps, taken on what were non-existent conference trips, etc. by my employers, I know that harassment can be real. In the case of the guy who put me in a trash barrel, he was “kidding.” The business trip that was for a non-existent conference? I didn’t have a clue, I was a gullible 18 year-old, and naive as hell. Came back without realizing wtf had happened — because nothing happened.

I have in my lifetime also been put into lockers and tossed into a fish pond, more than once. There are also the less dramatic things, people using my head as an arm rest. Patting me on the top of my head. Calling me “honey” dismissively or just dismissing me because I’m short and/or female.

Because of my background, I was happy to see the article about the office and its apparently fair reporting of what happened in x quantity of cases, good and bad, dismissed and dealt with, however.

Two of the 3 comments on this post said, “Most claims are bogus.” And that infuriates me!

I now have a new rule.

The minute someone claims something is either “bogus” or “fake” without supporting evidence, I will dismiss everything they say on the subject.

It’s too easy to just cry BULLSHIT! and cause damage. If you want me to believe what you have to say, you’ll have to supply facts and data to back up your claim.

Integrity counts more than noise.