Jawbone: That’s slang for chit-chat. Catching up. It’s been a couple of months, obviously, and not many changes. Just resting and refiguring where I am and where I’m going. Nice to have the time, and very necessary for straight thinking.
I spent some of today soaking up the sun’s rays in a chair on the back patio, since I feel oppressed by too much cloudy or rainy weather. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, the poet might have said, but he meant sunshine, surely. Today was a lazy Saturday, not many chores done, although they are legion and endless. Resting from a sleepless night, mostly. But there’s a ham and bean soup that I made yesterday for dinner, and homemade focaccia that I baked yesterday as well. It was a cloudy day, and perfect for soup-making and bread-baking. Leftovers good. Very good.
In today’s mail came a sewing pattern, “vintage and retro,” from the 1980s, I believe, for lingerie: all the underthings a gal could want, and her husband would like them, too. This falls under the category of being self-sufficient and Buy-Nothing-New, a tenet of the Compact group to which I belong. I spent an enjoyable morning perusing the layouts and how-tos, and I believe a trial set of drawers from this pattern might be in order. Before I try silk and lace, anyway. Entertaining, if nothing else. And hey — I could post pictures! Of homemade underdrawers! Won’t that be a shocker?
In my restful state, I reread all the Little House books, and then that wasn’t enough Laura Ingalls Wilder for me. I spent considerable time online and found a number of books (second-hand and not costly) that delve more deeply into two areas of interest — one is pioneer history, more about the Ingalls and Wilder families and how they survived, and the other about the mother-daughter collaboration in writing the LH books. Fascinating reading on how Laura became a writer and how much or how little adult Rose helped — and resented helping, since her own work/fame suffered and was eclipsed. You never see that in the Little House stories. The book I’m currently reading, Constructing the Little House: Gender, Culture and Laura Ingalls Wilder, is not for the faint of heart. Written in gyno-critical-speak, it will freak you out if you haven’t read much lit-crit — especially assertations about the suppressed incestuous love-gaze between Laura and Pa, and Ma’s submerged hatred, etc. But — I’m absorbing a lot about what life was like, for example, choices between freedom and control, or the balance between them. Good reading for me, in my suspended state between past and future. Such as it is.
Projects in the works or on the to-do list, besides general house-drudgery (as opposed to skulldudgery):
- The Iron and Mend Challenge, with one day to go to complete the basket of ironing and mending — or everything therein goes bye-bye. The (self-imposed) challenge ends Sunday. ACK!
- Plum and apple green/aqua scrap quilt, in kind of a simplified Courthouse Steps pattern (thanks, Aunt Barbara, for the right name). I have 2 blocks left to piece and press, then the sashing and backing. Ongoing, but the end is in sight. This is made from rescued fabrics, btw — totally green and free.
- Scrappy yarn cardigan. I have a lot of gold, beige, off-white and cream yarns that I’m playing with to make a handknit sweater. The ribbing is in the honey-gold color, then into cream colors. At some point I will have to get clever with my colors to make it work. Also a rescued yarn project. To be continued…
- Purple ombre socks, thich and warm. Half of one knitted so far. This was a lost and found project. I started it 2 years ago and found it recently. I hope I still have enough ombre yarn. (insert scary doom music here)
- Something about new towels for this house. Towels. Hmm. I’ll come back to that. Want new towels, don’t buy new, gotta find alternatives. Hmm.
That’s it for now — I’m glad to be back on the blogging pony and using my hands, brain and creativity again. Be well, buckaroos.
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.