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helwen: (Due Consideration)
New Year's Eve we actually considered going to visit some friends across the valley (in the afternoon), but other things we really had to do left us with not enough energy. We didn't even go to Elmer's for their NYE party (which ends at 9pm so we can all go home and be comfy, lol). Nope, just watched a movie and took it easy.

Saw Hunger Games, enjoyed it. Yes, we've seen Star Wars: A Force Awakens. Twice. No, it isn't the best movie ever made, and yes, the heroic journey is not a new story. But they told it fairly well and we liked it. I paid more attention to the fight sequences the second time around after reading a few people's complaints, and I think it was all reasonable, if you're really paying attention to _everything_ that's happened. Of course, you also have to realize that in the end, nobody actually won.

Twenty-one years together for L and I; hopefully more down the road, if we take care of ourselves.

Financial paperwork for my mom's estate is ongoing -- my brother Kent is really doing a great job. Fortunately cleaning her place was the hardest part of putting her place up for sale, so I'm glad L and I could help with that...after he finished get the rest of the stuff out we didn't have time for, he got in a professional cleaning crew, who did a great job washing surfaces, rug-cleaning, etc. The place got offers the week it went on the market. Things should go all right from here, but there still needs to be final inspection, etc.

Trying to figure out the best use for the funds I'm getting from her various savings. I'll put some into the mortgage -- won't change things much in the immediate future, but will reduce the amount of interest that can accrue as I think I'll cut a few years off the end of the mortgage. I might put more into it later, but we have some things to do with renovations, etc. first.

I've started small, with a couple of flatpack cabinets for the upstairs bathroom, to replace the plastic shelving. I'm trying to enclose some stuff so I can reduce cleaning time. I'm terrible about cleaning, so if I can make the time I do spend on it go further, it's all good. We were already planning on built-in cabinetry in the dining room, but of course it's nice to have a cushion for all of this -- and plans haven't changed for how we're going to do that, either. On the other hand, when I buy new faucets and shower head for the upstairs bathroom, we'll get a professional to put them in -- one of our nephews does plumbing, so it'll be nice to send some of those dollars his way.

We took my mom's bedroom furniture for L's side of the room, so now he has working drawers and we should be able to fit all his clothing into them. I was really tired of fighting with the old drawers, which didn't have guides.

Fitting in the other bits of furniture has been a challenge, but slowly figuring things out. Getting rid of things too, of course. The old dresser is in the barn still, but I think it's going into his mother's church's summer sale or something...really, between the new stuff and the planned construction projects, it's like moving into the house all over again.

The greenhouse project should be happening this year, as well as the solar panels (yay for gov't incentives and stuff, as well as for three small hilltowns banding together to get the best contractor prices). In retrospect, it's a good thing these two projects didn't happen last year, even though it means the dining room is currently full of plants and stuff. If they'd gone forward last fall, L might have had to stay in MA instead of joining me in CA, and he was instrumental in getting some things done there.

Yes, emotional stuff is happening. I don't write about it much because thinking about things enough to put it into words for other people is hard. The fact that my mother and I had a complicated relationship doesn't help. I am glad that I went out in October, the month before she died; it was the best visit we'd ever had. Just about perfect, for both of us.

More to say, but this is already pretty long.
helwen: (jug)
Book sent to printer
After one final consult
No turning back now
Some seven or so boxes
Are soon California-bound.

Yes, for better or worse, I sent in final approval on my mom's book to the printer today.
helwen: (jug)
Interesting conversation with my mom yesterday.

She lives in a semi-assisted living community, and more folks there are getting active in living more sustainably, be it technological approaches, insulating, recycling, etc. She already has a couple of those solar pipe things -- you put a tube through the ceiling up to the roof and then there's a mirror and a curved part on top that guides sunlight into the room so that you don't need to use electricity.

They have a retired apiarist living there who somehow managed to find some bees, and transported the hive to the main community flower garden. In California, bees are a rare treasure indeed.!

And apparently the giant pile of trash in the middle of the Pacific was covered on Oprah this week (she watches this, not me). Philippe Cousteau, Jacques Cousteau's grandson, has really been going great guns on behalf of the oceans, both on tv and in classrooms :) His sister's involved as well I believe, but he's the face for that particular oceanic group. It truly is hard to imagine a pile of trash (and there's enough there that it sits on top of the ocean, not just floating in the water) -- the size of Texas. No idea how that's going to be dealt with, but we can all work to reduce trash, so that there's less that can escape and get washed into our rivers and oceans. So she's looking at what more she can do to reduce the amount of trash she produces.

Packaging of course is a big offender, and the "green" producers are often no better than anyone else -- like the organic eggs that come in plastic containers, or the recycled paper TP, each roll individually wrapped in plastic.

Cheap goods that don't last are another problem. If you're going to buy something and it has to be new, get something durable. And maintain things so they last longer! We've had our current tv (yes, we watch tv and movies) for about 4 years so far and it's still doing quite well. We got it when the previous television set itself on fire...

The car will be going in for some body work this year as it has a few rusty spots and one has gone through a bit more than we'd like. Firestone is opening some new stores in the Northeast -- apparently business is good, as more people repair their current vehicles instead of buying new ones. We got ours used of course -- I haven't had a new car since the one time I bought one in the early 90s. I had it for less than a year because of the idiot who crashed into me and my friends on the way home from an event. Lovely car, and it did its job well, including saving my life.

I do think I need to remove a few t-shirts finally from L's wardrobe though... granted he only wears them around the farm but... ragged collars and holes here and there, and 10+ years is a pretty good run for a t-shirt. If I didn't already have polishing rags... hm. Oh hey, there is that punching bag we've been talking about making, maybe we could use them for some of the stuffing!

And of course, it's been a year since I last tried riding my bike, so it's time to get the bikes out and try again. I think this year my shoulder can handle it. My mom doesn't bike, but she does walk a bit, and goes with other folks to go shopping, or takes the bus. There are definite advantages to living in a city in that regard!
helwen: (Default)
Early Saturday morning I did a bit of dancing, then later was helping with cleaning at the farm, and a bit of yardwork. The afternoon was spent over at House M&M working on making new tabards for the Bergental part of the Snowberg fighting unit. I forget what we did when we got home. The dancing was perhaps not a wise thing to do, Friday night's kungfu class having been as intense as it was.... sigh. Perhaps if I'd had on something slower than Hossam Ramzy's Sabla Tolo - Journeys into pure Egyptian Percussion. Yes, I know I don't have to go as fast as the beat, but even at 1/2 that... I seem to have pinched or strained something in the front of my right hip.

Leaving Chicopee Saturday evening, there was sound and vibration of an unfortunate nature from the car, leading to part of Sunday: Adventures with Brakes

Choir practice in the evening was attained and went pretty well. We can now get all the way through Il est bel et bon and even sound good. We also have Pase el agoa and Dindirin, Dindirin and Ecco la Primavera down reasonably well. We've created a variant on the first of those three because it felt too short, and I think it sounds pretty nice.

Monday was typing and proofing a chapter for my mom's book. Generally speaking I haven't been doing as much of the proofing/editing in the past year, but this chapter was a bit rough so I gave it some extra time, and hopefully am saving the regular readers some time and effort (Chapter 8).

My Godfather David and I have been having some chats and exchanges of letters this year. He's been trying to get in touch with more people, and I was able to chase down a couple of addresses for him. He lives in Switzerland, so the calls are generally short but energetic. Funny guy :)

Kungfu again in the evening, which went pretty well. Right hip behaved during class, right knee was a little cranky.

Tuesday morning -- went out and planted potatoes. It's a little early, but they're all sprouting. On frost nights we can throw some hay on them for now. 11 of the LaRatte fingerlings and 11 of red potatoes. I forget what exact type for the latter, but they're good potatoes, winter well, and I got them from folks who grow their veggies chemical-free.

If anyone local wants some sprouted fingerlings or red skin potatoes, let me know ASAP. Otherwise, the spares are going over the wall into the compost.

The Laundry Lines Are Up!!!!!! Whoot!!


Oct. 14th, 2008 06:28 pm
helwen: (Xena)
Well, I had intended to get off the computer earlier, but I had an email from one of the people involved with the Greener Living column in the local paper, so I had to once again work over my article -- and yes, that's the correct terminology -- they wanted it down to a single article of 500 words. So it's been hacked down to tiny bits, with some information just plain left out.

I managed to finish cutting out the pattern pieces for the riding skirt after that. Then I was trying to do some I Ching readings and my mother called, all worried about trying to coordinate things with my brother Kirk -- we might be using some online document-sharing software by a company called Think Free. Knowing my mother, I turned the PC back on and started things up so I could check this site out (been a little too busy to do it before now). Sure enough, she called a second time to say she'd left a message with Kirk to call her about trying to arrange for us to talk while he's at her place. Mind you, they arranged for him to come this Saturday, which day I'd already told her I'd be in NY. *sigh*

So I've managed to create an account, theoretically download some software -- which I am theoretically downloading _again_. Can read a doc my brother put up, can download it as read-only. Not a friendly or informative site. Would probably help to not be tired still from the weekend. So far, no love for this new idea.
helwen: (Default)
Well, got an email update from my mom Saturday, which I read today followed up with a call. She was having pressure on her chest (she learned that this is one possible symptom of shortness of breath), and went to the hospital Thursday night. Ended up getting checked in for tests and stuff. Lungs and heart are fine and she's back home again (hence the email on Saturday). Like as not the 90-95F weather they've been having contributed to her not feeling/doing well. Also she's having trouble regaining the weight she lost. My mom's a tiny person anyway, so her proper weight's around 94-95 lbs. Currently is at 82.5 lbs. I suggested she get some Ensure to add in some extra calories without too much strain, as she's been having trouble eating a lot still, since the surgery. She also got some more useful information this time around, including the medical types are supposed to get her info on course for people adjusting to changes in how they live and what they can do.

On the accomplishments side, she had a lady from the Library of Congress visit with her this past Tuesday, and take some of her research materials back with her -- the beginning of the Elizabeth Lee Abbott Collection (Asian American Studies/Research). The rest will follow once she's done using the materials for the book. Another person in the field of Asian American Studies had urged her to do this after reading a chapter from book and realizing that many of the primary sources my mother had found weren't commonly available or known about, even by other people in the same or overlapping fields of interest.

I think she's finally getting the idea of how much she needs to pace herself, especially during the summer. Hope so, anyway. Will probably have to keep talking through some things with her, to help her keep to the new habits she needs to develop if she wants to finish writing her book this year...

Mom Update

Jun. 16th, 2008 03:21 pm
helwen: (Default)
Sorry, with all that's been going on I forgot to post last week that my mom is now home again. She seems to be doing all right and getting plenty of rest. Her friend Jay took her out for lunch last Friday -- decent restaurant gives a free lunch to the birthday person in a dining party. My brothers and niece visited her Saturday, and she now has some more colorful flowering plants to put in the garden.
helwen: (me1)
Cold but sunny out, today. Been enjoying reading about the signs of spring in other folks' posts. No buds here, but the sap was running this week (and once the Maples bud, sugaring season is definitely over!). Various little birds create quite the racket in the morning, and in the evening on Wednesday, L heard a great horned owl. Sometime earlier this week we went up on the hill to take some photos for the sugarhouse website (which I still have to tweak and send), and heard one of the local hawks too. Chipmunks are coming out of hibernation, and a couple of days ago I saw a bird with nesting material -- he'd landed briefly on the roof outside the east-facing kitchen window.

Over 100 gallons of syrup, so far. We are still producing Light. Marian is happy, as that's what she needs for making candy, cream, and powdered sugar. We'll need around 40 gallons of that just for Ashfield Fall Festival! Some of the fresh syrup has been getting shipped out too -- it's that time of year :)

Today is more cleaning, more moving stuff, just like all week. We took a big pile of ours and the parents' stuff to the transfer point for re-using/recycling/trash yesterday. I cut out a green tabard this week, which I still have to hem -- hopefully today. Need to check supplies/materials for Sunday too. This evening we'll be delivering some eggs, mailing stuff to Canada, and returning some things to friends at Needleworkers.

Got email from my brother Kent this morning (he'd lost my phone #), that our mom is in ICU. She went in last night, complaining of chest pains. She'll be under observation at least until Saturday. He's going to call her again sometime today to see how she's doing. I expect they're running some tests too, to see what's up, and what treatment may be needed. I was going to work on scheduling for the end-of-May trip, buying tickets, but will wait until after Saturday now.

Saturday is more cleaning and prep. Some friends will be coming over at some point in the day to help with moving a few things, and helping with cleaning. Yay!

Sunday is Alban Eiler/Eostre/Easter/Vernal Equinox. We'll be celebrating down at the Sunwheel in Amherst, MA, at 10 a.m. Visitors are welcome!

We were so busy yesterday we didn't sacrifice a peep, so that will happen today. Must not forget to do the peep sacrifice.... yes, it's silly, but the one year we didn't....
helwen: (MacGyver)
Things were a little unexpected in the morning. Good thing we worked on the text last night -- Scott the Renoferret showed up not only to pick up the last of his stuff but also to finish up the last of the work on the outside. So we now have the second ext. light fixture up, the weathervane, last bit of gutter, gutter covers, and he also fixed a down pipe on the uphill side of the house that's been giving us trouble.

The 'house' warming went well. Eight people, including the Renoferret and his lady Laura F and our two uphill neighbors JJ and Heidi. Looks like some folks might come back to try things out and/or just hang out and chat - it's all good.

Everyone who wanted to go to try their hand at printing on the proof press got to, and got to bring home a print of their own. And they learned something about weaving, esp. as [personal profile] fitzw had a bit more warping to do first thing, and then the startup process for making a rug. Renoferret helped me wind rags onto a couple of the better shuttles so we could all see how things work. SCAdians got to meet non-SCAdians, which I think is also good -- whether or not the non-SCAdians are interested in joining the SCA, we're all one community.

After Yule I'm hoping to start work on warping up the table loom. I haven't warped up a loom in twenty years, so I'd like to start off small. [personal profile] fitzw will probably have to help me, at least at first, since I don't always get what the books are saying. Magnus is kind of interested in learning, but wants to wait until after NS/BB. So if I can get through some weaving on a small loom first, I'll be up to speed for beginner lessons by then. That way either [personal profile] fitzw or I can get him started. M's quite taken with the idea of weaving napkins for the Runnymede 2008 dinner, with baronial devices embroidered on them -- I suggested we should probably get help with the embroidery, which he's open to, there being so many groups :P

Concentus practice was both intense and silly. If laughter truly is the best medicine, we are all healthier after last night. We dropped a number of songs for Yule that weren't gelling, but will try to have one of them ready for EK 12th Night. Because of issues with the house we didn't start up choir practice as early as we usually do, so we simply didn't have enough time to learn everything. We did replace those songs with a couple of old rounds that we already know, and will be doing one of them with a silly twist (and then probably running away).

Talked to my mom on the phone as usual on Sundays. She's having yet another bout of vertigo. The meds are only helping so much, and they make her sleepy so she can't get anything done. Going to the doctor today, I think -- hopefully they have something useful for her. She's been doing some research and will be bringing some of it with her to the appt. Among other things, the emergency doctor, who knew my mom was on meclezine, also prescribed valium. My mom found out online that the two should not be taken together. grr. So, she's just on the mec now, since we're not even sure why the doctor prescribed the valium. _My_ doctor always checks his book on meds to see if they will all go together in a good way. Other than the vertigo she sounded pretty good on the phone - tired, but no stuttering or struggling to find the right words. One of the things she found online was that for certain type(s) of vertigo there are exercises that can help. She's hoping she has one of those types, and so do I.

[personal profile] ellid had forgotten her music book at home, so as "punishment" I was going to have her take on hemming the last of the servers' napkins I working on for Yule. But this morning I found that not only do I still have that one, but I have her 5th, partially finished one here :D Found them on top of the shelves that are temporarily next to the fridge...
helwen: (Default)
Did some cleaning of the print shop side of the garage today, moving a lot of things out that belong somewhere else, throwing stuff out, and rearranging some things. Still needs more work, but at least now there's enough room to do further work. Finished stapling up a piece of insulation I'd started on earlier in the week. Place is looking nice and shiny :)

Roselynde is back home today. She continued eating at the vets this morning, and went on to perform other normal activities, so she was allowed to come home. Fitzw picked her up, as I was at work. And tonight, she not only had a first supper, but she asked for a second supper! Yay!!

Work went pretty well this week, if a bit oddly (another cancellation today, and a walk-in urgent care today). Everybody got taken care of, yay!

Called my mom a second time, as Sunday call was somewhat brief. She was having vertigo problems this past weekend, and they've been continuing into the week. She went to emergency services yesterday (someone at the community was able to take her there, and also called my brother Kent to let him know what was up -- my other brother, Kirk, doesn't have a vehicle). End result of tests was that she had Not had another mini-stroke, but that the vertigo was simply lingering for some reason. They thought she might be a little dehydrated and told her to be mindful of that. Also, since she's been sleeping a lot this week, she may not have been eating enough. Kent drove out from Palo Alto to pick her up and take her home, and make sure she had everything she needed, etc. Plus he's decided that they'll take care of all of the fixings for Thanksgiving this year, turkey and all, so she doesn't have to exert herself. They've all be sharing in making the food before this, but it's really probably best if they do it all, at least this year. She's been trying to get her book finished up and that takes a lot of energy. I was helping her out with a lot of it last year, but it was affecting our relationship in a negative way, so I ended it and have just been one of the encouraging voices. Although I did get her a replacement reader, ellid, who is generally more prompt in returning her work than I was. She sent me part of some of her latest writing though, which I'll take a look at -- just the section on North Adams. Anyway, we chatted about fluid intake levels and the importance of calcium in the diet, etc. and she seemed a bit more alert by the end of the phone call.

All in all, not a bad week.


helwen: (Default)

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