Tag Archives: housecleaning

Quilts and Mustaches and Books and Grandmother-hood…

Little mustaches on my tile...

Little mustaches on my tile…

The Brother-In-Law Quilt seems to be taking forever, although a baby shower did interrupt a few days’ worth of work.  My youngest daughter’s best friend is due in November, and that young woman is like a daughter to the hubby and myself.  So, in becoming de facto grandparents this autumn, we hosted her shower, with mustaches as the theme (the couple is expecting a boy).  Today, errant mustaches litter my floors, even though last night I scooped the bulk off tables and the buffet, and even swept the floors.  I feel like we’ll be finding ‘staches for ages to come.

While I don’t *quite* feel that way about this quilt, it does carry a lingering presence.  I’m halfway done with the back binding, but it seems like this particular project doesn’t wish to leave this house.  Oi!  Get on your way quilt, and if you sneak some ‘staches with you, I won’t be sad.

A pile of quilt.

A pile of quilt.

Maybe impending grandmother-hood is hampering my progress.  Cleaning my house for the shower certainly was an impediment; I’m the sort who keeps a relatively tidy home, but the big cleaning only happens when events are slated.  I’m not bothered with a layer of dust, neither (thank the Lord) is my husband.  But it is nice to sit in the cleanliness that now permeates the whole place.  We have a small house, and needed every inch to accommodate guests.  Even my grotto closet got a clear-out, and fabric still sits in bags in the garage.  No need to bring it inside until I finish this quilt!

Ahem.  So, today and tomorrow I’ll be hand-sewing, but also sneaking in a little reading of…The Hawk.  No, not Heaven Lies East of the Mississippi; that manuscript’s necessary sequel is once again being shoved to the back burner, not sure why, other than I took a little peek at a few Hawk chapters and felt drawn to read a few more.  And that led to some ideas for how the continuation could resume and…  And the next thing I knew I was getting excited to write!

(While still binding that BIL Quilt, but no longer using Lysol Wipes like they’re going out of business, whew…)

My husband is taking off next week for a ten-day business sojourn.  Without him around, my days will be long and a little lonely, especially when our son is away on his jaunts.  That’s the perfect time to buckle down with some literary work, not to mention sewing.  (Hopefully) I will write in the mornings, leaving the afternoons, and evenings, free to piece together a plethora of quilts, which sit in stacks here in the grotto.  Those have been returned, while the bulk remains out of sight.

If I can’t see all those fabrics, I might be more inclined to consider plots.

The stacks on the left are for a mother and her toddler.  The one on the right is mine, hehehe...

Even these stacks are out of my view, waiting on the other side of my monitor. Those on the left are for a mother and her toddler. The one on the right is mine, hehehe…

This has happened before, when the husband goes to his August conference, well, the writing-part.  The sewing will be new, but that’s good, because one thing I’ve found as a grandmother-to-be is that I can’t write like I used to, and I don’t mean a writer’s block-sort-of-hindrance.  I mean I’m forty-eight years old and my energy simply isn’t what it used to be.  Cleaning house wasn’t a three-day whirlwind; it was a two-week project of its own after my dad’s party.  Granted, there was a lot to clean, but no longer can I just bust out two or three rooms a day.  Plus there was sewing to do and…  Well, no writing, but some reading.  And reading is an integral part of writing, if one has a manuscript that they haven’t looked at in say, oh, six months.

About the time I set aside The Hawk, my de facto daughter was just starting her forty-week journey on the path to motherhood.

On the mats between where my husband and I sit, he at his PC, me at my Janome.

On the mats between where my husband and I sit, he at his PC, me at my Janome.

And now here we are, mustaches catching my eye in the living room and computer area.  She’s going to have a son, and I’d love to give birth to a completed manuscript, not to mention that BIL quilt.  But my tasks require less physical energy, far less physical pain too, thank goodness.  I’ll leave the pregnancy gig to the younger generation; I’d be happy to wrap my head around a novel and some fabrics (which do include those for the little man in utero), all the while enjoying my clean house.  And making potato salad and deviled eggs.  I got on the egg kick for Dad’s party, then came home with Mom’s potato salad recipe, and gave that a go.  I think I’m into making those traditional dishes because they are the sorts of foods grandmothers make.  Or at least this grandmother; comfort is a good thing, whether it stems from babies, quilts, books, or home cooking.  And sometimes it even comes from cleaning.

Or it does after the cleaning is all done…

Follow your bliss

What seems like several months ago, I made the decision to not work so hard.  With the writing, of course, not that I bust my butt with housework.  (Note I never share any snaps of my shower.)  The house is clean; I’m the type that pulls out the big tidying guns when guests are coming.  But with writing, editing, formatting…  I’m a bit of an overachiever, or I just don’t like being bored.  (I wonder why I’m not that motivated when it comes to dusting, hmmm…)  Either way, I work, a lot.  When my husband leaves for the day, I sit down, cuppa in hand, and get right to whichever novel is waiting.

When my daughter got married last summer, I took off three weeks for the pre and post wedding festivities.  And other than dreaming about her wedding for what felt like weeks on end after it was done, I also noted how nice it was not to, ahem, write, edit, format.  That scared me at first; what the heck?  Then once I slipped back into the routine, which took no time at all, I started pondering why I was doing this, what it meant to me.  At the time I was switching to WordPress after years on Blogger, grappling with addressing mail to my daughter’s new last name, all sorts of changes.  But with the Alvin’s Farm series winding down, the end of summer and autumn went ahead at full speed.  Slowing down seemed ages away.

I took some time off for Christmas, but not until Christmas Eve, releasing The Timeless Nature of Patience that morning.  And by Boxing Day (26 December), well, I squeezed in a chapter on the novel I did finish on New Year’s Eve.  Then I hurt my back, maybe that was a warning; slow down woman!  I felt better the next morning, was completely back to normal on the second of January, prepping the latest project.  Penny Angel started with sixteen lengthy chapters, now has twenty-eight ranging from 2-4 K.  I began the actual edits yesterday, after listening to a plethora of tunes by The B-52s.  Today’s title is one of those songs, a whimsical instrumental with some lovely vocal effects by Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson.  I used that song, and others, to get into the editing mood.  And by around two that afternoon, with a long break for lunch (had to feed the hummingbirds), I was done for the day.

Often I talk about songs; music is the other half of my creative lifeblood.  I spent the afternoon folding towels (laundry doesn’t fall under the dreaded housework title, probably because I don’t own an iron) and listening to more from Kate and Cindy, Fred Schneider and Keith Strickland, and the late Ricky Wilson.  Ricky died in 1985 from AIDS-related illnesses, and the band didn’t learn he was sick until nearly the end of his life.  Not even his sister Cindy was aware; Kate Pierson said it was that he didn’t want them fussing over him.  I considered that as I stacked hand towels and washcloths; “Follow Your Bliss” is from Cosmic Thing, the first album made after Ricky died.

Cosmic Thing was released in 1989, four years after Bouncing off the Satellites, the last B-52s record Ricky Wilson contributed to.  He was thirty-two at his death, which now seems very young to me.   At the time, I was not even twenty, and by the time Cosmic Thing came out in 1989, I was a mother.   My eldest probably doesn’t know that album very well, not only because she was a baby, but that by the time she was cognizant of the music we listened to, I wasn’t playing much from The B-52s.  It was just a whim yesterday, picking that band, that one song.  But it stuck with me all day long.

Writing, blogging too, is my joy.  But it needs balance, maybe because I’m not as young as I used to be, or maybe I’m adopting my housework sucks mantra to other parts of my life.  Not that writing and editing are a drag, not at all, but time is precious, and precarious; the hummingbird outside my window flits, parks his tiny behind, slurps a little, then swoops off, all in seconds.  Just seconds but I watch as often as he dives in, for his minute presence is one of those little gifts.  Writing is a bigger treasure, but it’s not here and gone.  It’s not a hummingbird.

I knew 2013 was going to be a transforming year; no more Alvin, for which I am still a bit sad.  (Been reading Timeless Nature the last few days, finding a typo, man, they are impossible to fully remove!)  Penny Angel is also a great tale; once I finish this post, I’ll swoop in for a few chapters.  But my husband is off  work today, and once he sorts the budget, well, the day is ours.  Before, I would have kept my nose to the grindstone, or pressed against the monitor, but life is made up of so many pieces.  When he’s at work, or on one of his marathon walks, I have all the hours available to read over documents.  But my feet are plenty wet with indie publishing, goodness knows I have enough manuscripts in the hard drive to keep me busy for a decade or more.  Those are blessings too, they are.  Still, who can argue with the presence of a loved one, or the momentary gift of a rather aggressive, thinks he’s actually a Klingon hummingbird.

Today I’m going to follow my bliss, wherever it might lead.  And if by God’s grace, and sense of humour, I find myself cleaning the shower, so be it.  Stranger things have happened; I am an indie novelist, you know.

(And now that I’ve mastered adding music to a post, expect further tunes down the road, heh heh heh…)