IMPROVED CHAIRS

So, along the lines of my last post, I have this fantasy hobby in which I take old chairs and repair and improve them (read decorate and maybe cushion up) then give away or sell them. In my fantasy, I use photographs, maps, other documents, pieces of fabric, mosaic tiles and paints to Improve the chair- to bring out a theme and say something- poetry in furniture form.

Yes, that’s right, I have a thing for chairs. It is strange because in a house or out in restaurants or even in furniture shops, chairs are not something I immediately gravitate towards, but driving around town on errands, I am always drawn to the old chairs and sofas and to a lesser extent other furniture that is left by the side of the road on garbage day. I always want to stop and see what is wrong with them, see if they are still useful, see if they could be made more interesting.

I think that the reason that new or even in current use chairs don’t draw my attention is that they don’t have stories yet, but old chairs- old chairs have stories to tell, even if the only story you can really get from them is how they were worn out or broken. I want to take old chairs, learn their stories and then make the story more plain – a theme on their seat for anyone to read.

My dear husband dislikes this tendency in me to look at chairs and drool as we drive past. He always reminds me of how little spare space we have in our house and, of course, he is right. That doesn’t mean I can’t keep my fantasy hobby in my head, right?

On Approaching Change

In about two weeks, my daily life is going to change a bit. I’ve been home with my kids for the last eleven years, but last year my son went to all day kindergarten. For about three weeks, I tried to figure out what I ought to be doing with the six hours of solitude this brought me- then, my neighbor, for whom I’d done before/after school care for her older daughter, got a new job and she needed care for her four year old. My days were not solitary again, so I got a reprieve from having to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up. Now, that same four year old is starting kindergarten and my reprieve is over.

I have a large number of things I should do with that time, a larger number of things I could do with that time, and also a few things I actually want to do with that time. And, it’s not as if I need to have it all worked out by the first day of school, but knowing myself like I do (better than most people, but not as well as my husband, I think) I know I should make some plans so I don’t spiral into laziness and depression as soon as the kids are out the door.

So, I start with lists (at this point, this will get boring, so I don’t mind if you stop reading- really, it’s okay- go read some of my fiction, instead).

THINGS I SHOULD DO:

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Ruminations on Going Vegan

Currently, my family of four (Dear Hubby, Dear Daughter (10) and Dear Son (6) and little old me) are ovo-lacto vegetarians, however, recent events have got me thinking about going vegan- for myself at the very least and probably encouraging my family in that direction will come into play, as well. A few months ago, I began trying to have as high a percentage of our food as possible be organically grown/produced. I did this as a way of reducing the amount of chemicals my children were exposed to, as well as in order to try not to be part of the problem of factory farms. It made me much more aware of how the animals from which our eggs and dairy products were treated (cage-less/free roaming, grass-fed/vegetarian feed, no antibiotics/genetically modified anything).

I thought I was doing pretty well on the animal treatment front, then some recent events made me think about situations in which males might be considered inconvenient. I decided not to be part of something that effects the bulls and roosters born on the farms that produce my eggs and dairy products, because what do you think happens to most of them? They don’t get to live and lay eggs or make milk, they get slaughtered as poultry and beef. So, while I might not be buying meat, by buying eggs and dairy products, I am still supporting the meat industry anyway. This is my primary inspiration to go vegan. The next bit for me to think about is how…

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On My Extended Family’s Transitioning Diet

How great this looks together on a plate.

How great this looks together on a plate.

I come from a large family and we were raised pretty traditionally when it comes to diet- that is to say, we all ate meat and sea food and wheat and nuts and dairy and- the thing is, we were the standard American Omnivores. Over my thirty-seven years many of us have made changes from the old square meal/food pyramid to more untraditional diets. Some of us had to make these changes for health reasons- my mother developed a nut allergy, one sister eliminated wheat and some other grains to reduce her eczema, another sister became diabetic, had gall bladder surgery and found that she had a persistent problem with yeast (she also chose to become a vegetarian)- her diet is very far from the American standard diet. Others of us made changes to prevent problems- my cousin, who was raised like a sister to me, her family gave up beef after the Bovine Encephalitis scares, diabetes runs in my husband’s family (as well as high cholesterol) and those things did figure in with our decision to become vegetarians (though there were so many reasons). We also include in many family celebrations some close family friends who keep kosher. Still others of us remained in the mainstream and continued to eat meat and wheat and nuts and dairy and eggs and don’t much seem likely to budge from that diet. The point is, we are all over the map.

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The thing about having a daily word count goal…

is that you have to keep pushing yourself to work at putting something down on paper/computer screen, even if you don’t feel like writing, even if you’ve had a crap-filled day, even if your head is a jumbled up mess because the kids are screaming and the dishwasher is running and you’d gotten the sunburn that wouldn’t say die last week and you have a headache and you are starting to feel really guilty for not doing the laundry and not returning people’s calls or responding to your emails or making comments on other blogger’s posts that you really should have read by now, wanted to read last week, if only your head had been in the place for it, but you’d learned a couple of years ago that you can’t seem to be a reader and a writer at the same time and therefore spending a large amount of your free time reading means you will have writer’s block or spending a large amount of your free time writing means you will have a strange sort of reader’s block in which you hate everything you read, unless you have read it before, regardless of how good or bad it really is.

The other thing about it is that when you do push yourself you come up with some really bad stuff that you will never let others read and you also come up with some really good stuff that you maybe didn’t know you had in you, but you can’t always tell which is which until you get pretty far into it or even to the end, so even though it seems like a piece is a worthless dead-end, you learn to see it through just to make sure that there won’t be a sudden ninety degree turn that makes the thing not just passable, but irrationally fantastic, because the last thing you ought to do is give up on what might have been the best thing you ever wrote.

There is more to learn about it, I’m sure, but that’s what I’ve learned so far.