Thursday, November 16, 2017

Blue alpaca and peach jam

Hello again and welcome the wonderful world of peach jam, on which I rely when things get overwhelming.

I mean stress is a constant, right?  Even when things are good we can stress about stuff like, WHY do I CONSTANTLY forget the handtowel is to the left of the sink, and swing my dripping hands over to the wall behind me and to my right, getting water all over the floor?  But when you have lots of stress - excess handwashing because you're trying so hard not to get sick so you'll be allowed into the hospital to visit a much-loved aunt who's had a stroke even though that will mean not finishing off the cleanup of your other property that needs to get listed for rent, and even though your throat is already killing you and you're pretty sure that ship has sailed, and you're dripping on the floor and trying to remember where the towel  is hanging with just that much added pressure because the phone is ringing for the third time in the last twenty minutes and you absolutely know you are not going to enjoy said call but must take it anyway, etc etc...

Well my friends, that is peach jam time.

The condo is almost done now, I think.  There were marks on the walls I couldn't get off with soap and water, so I despaired, and decided to repaint everything, which took about ten minutes less than forever.  I ran out of audiobooks to listen to, that's how long it took.  I mean, I still have Angela's Ashes waiting for me to press Play, and the end of the book about the Irish potato famines that propelled my ancestors to Canada, but frankly when your palms are callused from a paint roller and you have been on your feet for nine hours and your legs are starting to look disturbingly blotchy like the circulation is going, you want something a little perky.

I highly recommend Juliet Stevenson reading Elizabeth Gaskell's "North and South", for this purpose.  I tried some memoirs by comedians and actors I like but ugh.  Not escapist enough by a long shot.

News flash: when soap and water doesn't take off a mark on a wall, a bit of rubbing alcohol probably will and it won't necessarily rip off the finish either.  The new paint looks nice but I wish I had learned this little tidbit before I gave away two weeks of my life to a roller and an angle-tipped brush.

Because it's hard to type when your hands are stiff with fatigue and you only have twenty leisure minutes before you have to go out and do a whole new round of painting/cleaning/unpacking/work, I haven't even turned on my computer much the last few weeks.  This is super hugely unlike me - even the recent me when I pretty much stopped writing more than one Hug every week or two, the better to finish our home renovation (which of course, is still ongoing, but you knew that I'm sure.)

Probably I am not turning on my computer because it's not 'my' computer currently.  Brace yourself: my actual computer died!  I have never had this happen bofore - the motherboard failed and the only clue I had was this tiny depressing series of beeps that sounded whenever I tried to turn it on again.  It was like an airplane's black box emitting a coded message that amounts to, "Things have gone horribly wrong," except of course without any loss of life.  And the company that made it did not have a replacement part so I am pretty sure that's the end of my beautiful computer.

I had a backup.  I had backed up everything except:

1/ all my passwords to every website I rely on except the two I've memorized
2/ my full trip itinerary with as yet unbooked train times and top tour guides for our trip to England next spring
3/ the access codes to load files to my websites

I loaded the backup onto the hard drive of my sort-of-new computer and now I keep getting messages that I have less than 1 GB of storage left, which is just weird because my old hard drive was about a third the size of this computer's hard drive.  And it's a new-to-me Windows platform too so I have no idea how to figure out what is taking up all the space and/or what to do about it, though I'm sure I could do so if I had any time whatsoever.

Or rather, if I spent the time I am using to write this Hug on that job instead.  Which obviously, I am NOT going to do, because I miss the Hugs!!  And sometimes a Hug is another form of peach jam.

The thing about peach jam is that is a sort of Safe Place.  When everything around you is a shambles you really, really need one of those.

It's so important to be able to take a break, elevate your splotchy legs, and let your mind go to someplace unrelated to what's going on around you.  It's so important to regroup and recharge so you can go back out there and think, "I am completely helpless here or as good as, and I will definitely find a way to live with that if I just keep standing here."  It's so important to be able to brew a pot of tea or equivalent, and sit down with fresh toast and butter and peach jam or equivalent, and feel like somebody is there nurturing you even if it's just a tiny slice of you yourself, absently patting your back while the rest of you tries to figure out how to play even the smallest part in making everybody else's life less awful.

But sometimes even peach jam isn't enough, which is why I pushed aside the Christmas-present socks I cast on to serve as Emergency Knitting because I went four days without any Emergency Knitting on hand (having finished the current pair of socks) and then got notice of my aunt's stroke, which is exactly what Emergency Knitting is for, and started a pair of blue alpaca socks for myself.  Even though that was totally impractical.

Or maybe not impractical, because alpaca is very healing.  If you sit down knitting a pair of hand-dyed alpaca socks, you can handle being utterly powerless, AND you get to touch something soft and comforting at the same time.  But blue alpaca?  And socks?  That is a marriage made in heaven.  And I would totally show you the pretty stripes I'm knitting into this pair if it didn't mean I would probably not get this Hug online at all.

Other newsy updates:

I bought my first artificial Christmas tree.  Online, sight unseen.  Call me daring.

We received the last of our custom drapery and it is SO BEAUTIFUL!   I was torn between two fabrics and we totally picked the right one.  You walk into the rooms where they are hanging and immediately relax, that's how perfect this print looks.  And I would show you pictures right here but it would mean getting off the sofa to find my cell phone and email them to myself and then save to the overly full hard drive and load them into this post.  Another day soon, I promise.

I treated myself to a new winter hat from the Royal Winter Fair.  A toque, knit on a machine from undyed alpaca yarn with grey and black stripes because I love stripes.  It drains the colour from my face and completely flattens my hair but it is so, so warm and soft and I just don't care about anything but that at the moment.

Henny, my kitchen chicken, has chicks now.  They are called Chicklet, Chickee, and Royce.  The Royal Winter Fair is evidently not a place to go if you are trying not to buy stuff.

I bought undyed alpaca yarn too.  Please stop me before I go back to The Royal Winter Fair.

I have seen my first peppers on a pepper plant, also at the Fair, and they were full size peppers too.  I felt illogically excited by this and engaged the staff at the display in conversation just so I could tell them how excited I was to see peppers growing live and in person.

Probably I don't get out enough.

And now I really do have to go!  Hope all is well with you and thanks for your patience as I try to sort myself out and get a normal posting schedule going again.

(do you think I'll need to buy a new computer to do that?)