I remember, back sometime in November––or maybe even October––looking forward to this pastweekend, it being the only one free of obligations and events in sight. I tried to keep it that way, only leaving home to shuffle M from one friend's house to another's and a trip to borrow my friend Edna's washing machine (more on that below). I spent much of the weekend on the sofa, with this as my view––the clean, blissfully Christmas-free living room:
I was joined much of the time by Z, who was laid low by one of those mysterious fevers he gets about once every year and E, who spent hours reading Calvin and Hobbes, despite the many big, hard words and my own dubiousness about his ability to understand the comics.
I feel like I've passed some sort of milestone in my ability to work amid the chaos of house and home. I remember typing with one hand with either baby E or Z in the other arm and M standing next to me saying, "Can I type? When can I type?" But I lost that ability to concentrate with their distractions somewhere along the way (probably when E and Z where in the destructive toddler years) and have only recently made a concerted effort to work in their midst on a regular basis. I'm not sure I could crank out fiction under such circumstances, but my current project is of a different nature and, for now, it's working and I'm thrilled.
I did, however, throw everyone outside at least once a day, and even got out there myself a couple of times. We walked down the river, to the place where it's wide and winding, with grassy hummocks and big old willow trees and fir trees shaped like Colorado blue spruce. I find it terrifying to walk on the river the first time each winter, but C went ahead with a big stick, testing the ice, and we didn't go through.
I took a break from both words and wilds and finished piecing the squares for M's quilt (that I started two years ago). After many months of not-very-visible progress and many more of nothing at all, it's nice to reach a milestone and see that it's going to be something. I have many more steps to go, including making three more squares, because I planned wrong, and putting little stars over all the corners where the squares meet. Then I need to decide if I'll piece borders of just give up and use plain fabric so that it's done before M goes off to college.
And, I finished up the mittens I had started for my (ex-step-)mother-in-law for Christmas, just in time for a lunch date tomorrow. They took longer than necessary because I kept knitting the left mitten as a right mitten, and had to rip it out three times. I still don't think I got the thumbs right, but they'll have to do. I had to take them to my friend Edna's house for felting, because we have a front-loading washer, and Edna has a top-loader plus an unlimited supply of extremely hot wood-heated water to boot.
Like all weekends, especially three-day ones, it felt just too short. When I got to the end, I couldn't help thinking of all the things I should have done with the kids––play games, do art projects, acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the inauguration in some way. I guess that'll have to go on next weekend's list...
What have you been up to?