I light candles to cheer myself up. I like them. They smell good, they are cozy. They smack of hygge. One day last winter, I had so many scented candles going at one time that they set off the smoke detector. Later, I chanced to wipe a noseprint off the inside of a window and the cloth came away black. It was time to wash everything and then paint, and you know how when you paint one room, the room next door looks like a boxcar inhabited by hoboes? A few months of frenzied candle-burning had turned every surface in the house into the ceiling of a medieval monastery, with ten centuries worth of soot and ash making the place atmospheric, and also dingy. Tidying and cleaning and clearing out more clutter and re-styling the house has been one of the ways I'm coping with this year's extra-bad case of the winter blues, and there's been so much of that, so it's a good thing I enjoy it. I am a collector by nature, but I had amassed such an enormous heap of stuff that I suddenly felt it smothering me, so filling the car with things to donate made me surprisingly happy. I have got rid of a lot of stuff. I am cutting back on candles now, too, and fastidiously trimming wicks, and I'm even looking at burning one tealight at a time with some trepidation, and my beloved Doc has (almost) repainted the entire interior of our house. There is one room left, and he will do that one next weekend. He fills my heart to bursting with unicorns and rainbows in a thousand different ways, and that is one of them. What a good and wonderful man he is.
Another one is that painting up there. I love this: years ago, casting about for a way to fill his time, he decided to take a Spanish language class at the local community college, and painting that reproduction of one of Frida Kahlo's famous self-portraits (with monkey) was in some way his homework assignment. He turned it in for an A, and then later had to go and pry it free from the instructor's reluctant grip, because she was really hoping to keep it. I can't say I blame her, but I had my eye on it too. It has moved from here to there in the rotating gallery of lovely artwork I've collected, and has lately come to roost on that bookcase. [And the catdog has come to roost in that chair, despite the many comforters and pillowy dog beds around here.]
I'm working on a gallery wall, too, trying to be thoughtful of where I put the next nail hole (I am so bad at changing my mind, and the walls are more spackle than plaster at this point) and will probably keep adding to it. The centerpiece is my beautiful daugher's oil portrait of her friend Lara; the shadowed, sleepy eyes in that painting, how I love them. It's so good. Next to it is my mama's watercolor painting of Central Park in New York, and below that is a romantic-style oil portrait by my gifted grandmother. There is so much good art in my collection, so much more than you can see here. There will be a lot more nail holes, I think.
I have had to put this on the calendar: SPIN THE FLEECE. It isn't going to spin itself. I'm setting aside at least one day a week for turning these imperfect little batts into yarn, because you guys. There is so much of it, and I feel a little overwhelmed. Even if I can make one skein a week, it still might take months. I know, there's a lesson in that for me. This will take awhile. It's okay if things take awhile. But I have to actually do it, at least a little bit here and there, because I can't knit with batts. I want yarn.
That's looking a little rugged. It'll block out, right? Ha. Embracing imperfection.
So I sit in my little room, spinning and thinking about curtains and whether we really need this chair or that table, and listen to records. I have to get up every half-hour, then, and flip the record, so it makes me take a break. I sing along, so loud. "If I can't have you, I don't want nobody, baby" which reminds me of singing that song, also loud, on the playground in 1979. The batts slowly, slowly become yarn.
Did you think I didn't knit a sweater? I started this simple pullover last fall and it went into hibernation sometime after the holidays with little more than a sleeve left, and I don't know why. Little sleeves like that only take a couple hours, and then it was finished. It is my own pattern, worked top-down to fit me, in the extremely beautiful Woolen Boon DK, colorway "Truffle Shuffle". It looks, as I've mentioned over and over again, like birchbark. The complexity of it, though, I can't even describe.
There are little flecks of gold and rose and burnt orange and lilac and a thousand assorted and varied grays. This yarn is a work of art.