Saturday, January 20, 2018

anxious days and sleepless nights

I've been sleepless for two nights. Or mostly sleepless. Probably around four hours or less a night, if someone was paying attention which this someone is not. I only know that I wake up at some point and then am mostly awake until dawn when, sometimes, I can grab a couple more hours. I've been pretty good lately about getting myself back to sleep after I wake up but not so the last two nights if I managed to sleep at all. My body has been on alert, mind whirling, adrenaline coursing amid fight or flight.

Sounds like something serious is going on, right? Nope, just faced with putting my money where my mouth is.

Last late October I got an email from a friend about spending the month of May in Portugal with another friend and some assorted strangers and did I want to join in, to which I replied with an enthusiastic yes, I could do two weeks in Portugal, which grew to three weeks in my mind as time progressed. Three weeks away from home on the other side of half the country and the Atlantic Ocean with friends. Well, two days ago I got the information, two weeks in Porto and two weeks in Lisbon, and it was time to fully commit to days I will be there and buy my tickets. You'd think that would be easy, right?, especially since I had every intention of going; that I wouldn't suffer two days of anxiety before I could commit to dates and buy the fucking tickets. But I did, and I did, finally, and I will leave on May 1st and return on May 23th. Fourteen nights in Porto and 7 nights in Lisbon.

I know where some of the anxiety stemmed from but now I think a lot of it was the thought of being gone for three weeks, away from my nest where everything is comfy and reliable and I speak the language. I could barely choke down half a hamburger for lunch yesterday so I finally sat down and selected dates and found the flights and bought the tickets. Within 30 minutes I was already more relaxed. It helped that as luck would have it I will be taking the same flight out of Toronto as my friend and we will be arriving together.

And now committed, I slept well last night.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

still fucking winter

I wish I had something to talk about besides how fucking cold it's been but because it's been so cold and icy life has come pretty much to a standstill around here. 

The dog waits till she can't wait another second before going outside and taking care of her business. Well, last night was the last night of below freezing temperatures for the foreseeable future, in this case, a week. We're on a warming trend now with a predicted high of 72˚ for Sunday. Like I said before, a yoyo.

I could talk about Game Of Thrones. We started the 6th season yesterday. We are now beyond the published books (which the series does not follow exactly...they've cut out the resurrection of Caitlan and the continued activities of the Brotherhood and so far no mention of the unknown Targaryen male heir that was being secretly taken from Dorne to Easteros) but unless you have read the books or watched the series it would be meaningless.

Out of sheer boredom I finally vacuumed the house yesterday and started cleaning the stuff on the long altar in front of the windows behind the sink. Got about a third of that done.

We don't usually start watching the show till about mid-afternoon so I have half a day to kill. Guess I'll go back to cleaning the things on the shelf above the sink.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I've had just about enough of this

We woke up to sleet and 27˚. That's the warmest it's been all day. At least the sleet stopped. 

It's 25˚ now with a predicted low of 18˚ tonight. On my few quick forays out, the ground is crunchy and the dog has refused to do anything outside except run back to the door. Everything is encased in ice. 

I put up blankets across the big bay window in the living room. On the TV it's non-stop weather reporting, all regular broadcasting cast aside. 

When I get up to move around the dog follows dragging the blanket like a cloak.

I'm over winter now. It can go away.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

cold and unmotivated

Damn damn and damn. Yesterday was the Fort Bend County Master Gardeners' fruit tree sale. My sister and I talked on Wednesday about going. We planned to go. I wanted a ruby red grapefruit tree and a peach tree and I completely forgot! And I guess she forgot because I didn't get a call yesterday morning asking where was I, we need to get on the road. It's not like I did anything yesterday besides get some of my hooks on the wall 

and watch Game Of Thrones. Well, had we gone we would have been standing outside in line for 45 minutes in 30˚ weather. 30˚ windy weather. I'm feeling better about it already since I can still get my trees from one of the more or less local nurseries later in the spring.

I'm finding myself to be singularly unmotivated these days, unable to make any decisions or even get out my model making stuff. I blame it on the cold weather. The days end and I'm wondering what the hell I did all day besides watch the cardinals, chickadees, titmice, and yellow warblers come and go from the tea cup. Mid-January and the cardinals are engaging in mating behavior, the males taking little tidbits to feed the females. On our warmest day last week Big Mama emerged and sunned herself for a few hours. I'd been keeping watch for her, locating her as she hunkered down in different parts of her pond. I was a little worried when it iced over during the last freezing spell.

The dog has dragged me outside and now that the wind has died down it's really nice out, sun shining in the winter blue sky. I was standing out there thinking about all the things I could and should be doing outside on this pretty day. Eh. Well, I did go out front and pulled another large handful clover from amongst the bluebonnets, an annual task since the clover, left alone, will quickly overwhelm the bluebonnets.

Feeling guilty about being a lazy slug, I got the Dresden china chandelier outside and hosed off all the dust from the remodeling of my studio room. You might remember it from a year or so (or longer) ago. It hung in the city house and has been hanging from a ladder since we sold that house. It was really dirty and I set about to clean it and got about 3/4 of the way done and then abandoned it. So close! So, hosed down, I identified where I had left off and cleaned one more arm. Two more arms to go and then the cluster underneath. 

I haven't felt compelled to finish cleaning it because I didn't know what I was going to do with it when I did finish. It's too long, 3', to hang in a house with 8' ceilings, so I'm going to hang it from the hook in the ceiling in one of the corners of my studio after I check with Rocky to make sure it will support the weight.

Guilt assuaged, I'm ready to plant myself on the couch and dive back into Game Of Thrones. After I walk the dog.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Don the clueless and boring remodeling and weather stuff

Every time I think Trump in the White House can't get any more pathetic or despicable he dumbfounds me anew though I read today or maybe it was yesterday that we should stop calling him by his last name, stop giving his brand vocalization. So he's Donny from now on, or some version of Donald, or maybe Don the Con. In his latest round of bigotry and racism, he's decided that the 200,000 Salvadorans we gave sanctuary to have to leave, complained about protections for immigrants, and complained about immigrants from shithole nations referring to Haiti and Africa completely ignorant of the fact that this country was populated and built by the shithole dregs of society from every nation because who else except those that had nothing left to lose (or those kidnapped and sold into slavery) would try and make that journey. And to top it all off, he bragged about the delivery of F-52 fighter planes to Norway, planes that do not exist and are, in fact, a fictional part of a video game. And in case you haven't heard, there was no collusion.

Back to my more immediate concerns, another visit to look at tile on Tuesday, taking back the samples I had previously brought home. 

just one of several sections

Another session with the very helpful Julie. I showed her the elevations and floor plan for the bathroom and in a discussion of possible combinations of tile for the shower she made some comment about when I use it. I had a burst of ironic laughter when I told her I will probably never use that shower, and, I'm agonizing over a shower I will probably never use. So that was sort of a big wake up. Of course, there is a possibility of using it if for some reason the shower in the main bathroom becomes disabled or if I'm so feeble in the future I can't step into the tub to use it.

With use in mind, I'm scaling back the degree of fancy for the little bathroom, using bead board wainscoting on the walls, continuing the look from my studio room especially since I was planning on doing wainscoting in the back bedroom as well, tile floor, and tile shower. I'll use the hex tile on the floor of the shower for sure. The rest I'm still contemplating and will require at least one more trip to look at tile for the shower.

And I drew up the elevation for the windows in the end wall of the back bedroom so Rocky will know where and how big to cut the holes in the wall when he finishes up with the house at the other end of the street. 

We had been on a warming trend since our week of really cold weather but another cold front blew in yesterday which entailed covering the sensitive plants once again and bringing in all the small pots I had taken back outside. I waited a little late in the day, until the front started blowing in, and trying to wrap and cover the little satsuma was a comedy of errors. I'd get it secured in one spot and the tarp would flap up and blow around on another, got it wrapped, so I thought, and one big gust blew it all apart. I finally went and got some straps and cinched it all together. It was really howling out there last night but sunny today and for the next few with cold nights.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

planning the bathroom

It's supposed to get up to 71˚ today. Four days ago our low was in the 20˚s. Today I have the doors open. The weather here this winter has been like a yoyo, up down up down.

Of the six monarch caterpillars I collected before the deep freeze, one died, four made chrysalises though one of those stupidly attached itself to a thread of the cheesecloth instead of the stick I so helpfully provided and the thread pulled loose and it fell to the bottom of the jar. I tried tying a piece of thread around the little stump but it slipped off so I guess this one dies from stupidity as there is no way to hang it. The last caterpillar has attached itself to its stick and is hanging in its 'J' shape so if it makes the transition I will have 4 chrysalises to keep an eye on. When they turn transparent in about two weeks, I'll take the sticks outside to hatch.

I finally went Friday to look at tile starting from ground zero with no idea what I wanted or how much I wanted besides white or off white. They were very helpful though, walking me through some ideas. They have a huge display of all kinds of tile. I took pictures of some of the ones I like and came home with several sets of samples. I wish I had taken pictures of the whole display. I'm not kidding when I tell you they had at least a thousand choices. It was pretty overwhelming.

Yesterday I drew up elevations of both the bathroom and the shower so I can work out some ideas. This bathroom is tiny, basically 5' x 5'

Right away I discarded all but two of the samples I brought home and have switched from white in my thinking to a sort of pale warm gray. I love these hex tiles, 1.75" x 1.5". 

Have I mentioned how crazy this house is built? The detached garage was not built at right angles to the house so when the little bathroom was added against my studio room and the back bedroom against the back wall of the garage it created a triangle of dead space between the opposite bathroom wall and the bedroom wall in order for both rooms to have square corners. The original shower extended into this space somewhat. 

My plan is to extend the back corner of the shower all the way making it a trapezoid instead of the square it was originally. In this way I can enlarge the shower somewhat without tearing up the slab and moving plumbing. Here's the new floor plan.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

feeble attempt to actually do something

We've had our last night below freezing, for now anyway. I uncovered everything. Some things went ahead and froze but will come back, I'm sure, in the spring and some things look good with only minor damage. My sister is back and the extra dog has gone home. I should be driving out to Bay City to return the flooring sample I borrowed before christmas (in my defense, they have been closed most of this time) and look at tile but I'm not. I'm easing into this new year so I'll do that tomorrow. That way I can truthfully say that I wasn't a complete slug the first week of the new year. Instead I think I'll work on the elevations for the back bedroom since the plan is to take out the wall at the end that makes the closet (there is another smaller closet across from the little bathroom) 

and put the etched glass from the entry of our old shop in the city in that end wall as windows. 

Right now there is only one window in that room at the other end of the long wall 

(on the other side of the other long wall is the garage). I had also thought about adding a door from that room to the little backyard on the long side wall but I'm not sure about that.

I did get over to the shop and sort through that last bag of about 50 full size drawings, looking for the ones I would need for one of these jobs I had put off, which turned out to be all very old and all contemporary or traditional and not the florals I was hoping. Well, I thought, at least I still have the scale drawing I did for that customer so I looked through my design book and guess what, it's not in there. I remember the job (unlike many of the drawings in that bag), I can visualize the scale drawing but I looked through that book twice and it's not there. The full size drawings could still be in one of the 32 tubes in which 40+ years of etched and carved glass are stored but I have poured over the listings in each tube and there is nothing by name or description that is close enough for me to want to dig through any of them. I suppose they must have been in the bag of drawings that got wet that I disposed of without even looking through it so the only proof I ever did this job is three photographs (they want the transom design on another window for a new house) 

and because I don't really want to try and recreate the drawing from a not so great picture I've decided to ignore it and wait and see if they contact me again. Same with the other little job.

An update on the monarchs...this morning 4 of the 6 caterpillars had attached themselves to the stick at the top of the jars. I checked just now and I have one chrysalis, two still in the 'J' shape and one hanging loosely so I assume it died.