Sunday, July 31, 2011

My New Career

Well, the weather decided to give me that break I was hoping for yesterday. So out I went, ready to get this thing done!

I hauled out the shovel, a push broom, a rake and the wheelbarrow. Then I stood there looking at the labyrinth for a few minutes trying to decide where to begin. The centre seemed to be the best place and so I took the push broom and started pushing the water that had gathered in puddles on the lumber wrap out toward the edges. Once the puddles were reduced I started filling the wheel barrow with the large gravel to make the lines. Oh, dear! What is this?

The gravel was caked with mud. I got the hose out and started washing the muck off the rocks. It didn’t help much, but it was better than putting all that mud onto the clean lumber wrap. Then I looked down. I was standing in a mud puddle from the run-off from the washing and my shoes were caked. Not much I could do about it. Best just to keep going. There was going to be dirt in the gravel no matter what I did.

Okay! Things started to rock (pardon the pun) and soon the lines were being transformed from bright orange paint to dull, dirty-grey stone. I stood back and looked at the first looping line. It looked awful. I could feel a little catch in my heart. Was this going to work? Too late now! I was committed.

I continued adding rock to the lines until I had an area big enough to start filling in with the crush for the pathway. Before I started filling the wheel barrow, I washed down some more rock, thinking that the ground would have time to absorb some of the run-off before I had to stand there again. Then I started shovelling crush and dumping it in the labyrinth. A couple of loads of crush. A bit of raking. And voila! It didn’t look bad at all.

With my enthusiasm recharged, I returned to the rock pile and started filling the wheel barrow again with the relatively cleaner rocks. More lines went down. Then more crush, which I raked smooth. Yes! This was looking pretty good and I was feeling pretty good. It was time for a break.

I went into the house to pour myself a glass of water. When I looked at the clock it was 3:30. And that’s when my heart sank again. I had been out there for four hours. I went to the bedroom window to look at what I had done. Barely made a dent!

Four hours work!  I must be insane!

Suddenly I was tired. Suddenly my arms felt like lead and my legs felt like jelly. But I forced myself to get back out there. I decided to walk the labyrinth before I continued with the filling in. Just as I finished the walk, it started to rain. I took this as a sign and started to put away my tools. Just as I finished putting everything away, it started to pour. I took this as another sign and went back inside where I drowned my sorrow in a hot bath with a good book.

Today I am sore all over. It’s not raining, so I will tell my aches and pains to suck it up and get back outside. Not sure I will manage another four hours, but every little bit will get me closer to done. Not that getting the labyrinth finished will mean that I’ll be done shovelling gravel. There’s tons and tons more that will have to be cleared away after this. My yard is not just a project; it’s practically a career!

Oh, knitting! How I miss thee...

Saturday, July 30, 2011


It’s been a productive week for yard work! The labyrinth is finally laid out and ready for the gravel.

Half the lumber wrap is down.

The area for the labyrinth is cleared.
But it’s pouring rain and, unless the gravel decides to migrate onto the lumber wrap and arrange itself along the lines and pathways, further progress is not likely today. Instead I will be vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom and washing the floor. Might as well change the sheets and do up some laundry, too. Some baking may be in order – not sure yet. But I will do my best to avoid looking out my window at the unfinished labyrinth and longing to be out there filling it in.

The work it took to get it to this point took only a few hours – with a little help from my son-in-law, Paul, who kindly cleared the rest of the area and tacked down the lumber wrap; and from my daughter, Bizz, who did the math and measurements – in her head, no less! Bizz and Paul painted the lines and now, because of them, the labyrinth is weeks ahead of where it would have been if I had been left to my own devices. If only it would stop raining now!

Bizz and Paul measure and mark out
the labyrinth.

Paul uses 6" nails with washers to tack
down the lumber wrap.
I’m not sure how best to tackle the job of filling it in. Do I start at the centre and work my way out? Do I fill in a quarter at a time? Do I do all the lines and then the paths? Or do I work both at the same time? I guess I’ll have to wait for the rain to stop so I can get out there and just do it. I hadn’t really given the logistics of this next phase much thought.

The lumber wrap is down!  Now
the real fun can begin.

Now it's starting to look like something.

I’m not sure what to do at the entrance either. The way it worked out, the entrance is not where I originally planned it would be. The consensus among the children was that the entrance should face east, which appealed to me. It ended up a little too close to the apple tree and now there will have to be some creative blending of gravel types to make it look good. I think I have a plan, but plans have a way of taking on a life of their own. I’ll have to have a chat with the gravel and see if it has an opinion on how it wants to lie.

The labyrinth is ready for gravel.
First walk on the labyrinth!
I’m so excited, though. The labyrinth is taking shape. It’s even walkable as it is and I’ve taken a few strolls along it’s winding path. I don’t know how long it is, but it’s longer than it looks. One day I’ll figure it out. Right now I just want to start moving gravel! But I suppose, for the moment, house work is the priority. At least I can accomplish something and maybe the weather will give me a break later on.

Hakuna Matata

So Nolan goes up to his Mom, his Aunt and his big sister, who are sitting at my dining room table and says, “What are you guys doing at my work?” His Aunt answers, “We came for a visit.” Nolan says, “You guys go home and do the dishes.”

This is just one of the hilarious anecdotes I could share about my adorable grandson who came with his parents and sisters to visit this past weekend. At 3 years old, Nolan’s imagination is kicking in – in high gear! Last time he came to visit he suddenly announced that there was water in my basement. I had only been living in my house for a week and, trying not to panic, asked him to show me where the water was. He stood at the top of the stairs and pointed. “Down there,” he said. I cautiously descended the stairs and looked around. I could find no water anywhere.

I was, needless to say, as relieved as I was confused. On the ascent, all became clear, though. Nolan was calling down to me to hurry and get out of the water. He took me by the hand and led me to the walkway between the living room and dining room at the head of the stairwell. “This is the bridge,” he informed me. “Don’t go in the water.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve had little ones around. I had forgotten how real their imaginary games seem to them. Nolan was genuinely concerned for my safety in the water and adamant about the girls going home and doing the dishes. What were they thinking going to his work anyway?

The world of the preschooler is a fascinating one. Everything is so fresh and new and wondrous and exciting. Watching my grandchildren, I feel the loss of that freshness in my own life. How do we, as adults, maintain wonder and excitement amid obligation and duty?

I remember the first time I got a bill in my name in the mail. That was wondrous and exciting. It made me feel all grown up and responsible. It was a thrill to go to the bank and pay it. It was a rite of passage, but now the thrill of the rite has found some other passage.

Buying my own house was thrilling – and scary – but it was a process; a grown up process that held little in the way of wonder. Although, I did spend a bit of time wondering what the hell I was thinking! LOL And it all seemed so normal.

I’m reasonably sure that I would not want to be three years old again, if only because it would mean that I would eventually be a teenager again and there just isn’t enough money in the universe to make me want to do that again. Ick. Double ick!

Maybe winning the lottery would be good. For a while. But what the heck would I do with all that money? The thought of investments and… other money stuff just sounds baffling. Though it would be very cool to be able to help my kids out and pay cash for a brand new vehicle – just once.

I suppose that the privilege of being able to see Nolan and JoJo go through the wonder is good enough. Watching them discover and interpret life is amazing. And not just a little entertaining. They are hilarious. It’s the circle of life (cue Lion King theme song) and it’s all good.

Hakuna matata!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Geek-speak and Tummy Troubles

I left work early today. Really early. Like five hours early. Tummy was upset and I didn’t feel like doing anything – least of all attending the teleconference meeting for the Licensing Business Function Group (LBFG)of the BC Libraries Cooperative (BCLC).

Last year we only had one Business Function Group, or BFG, as it they are more commonly known, which always reminds me of the Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant, which is, in a library cooperative way, sort of what they are, Big Friendly Giants that govern complex kingdoms of Library Land. The Licensing Business Function Group was formed to oversee licenses for data bases, including BiblioCommons, on which I will not comment here because I’m not very happy with BiblioCommons at the moment. The other BFG is the Sitka Business Function Group (SBFG), dedicated to managing the growing, open-source, provincial Integrated Library System called Evergreen. Sitka is the group of computer geeks that keeps Evergreen going. The SBFG is comprised of the libraries that use it or may use it at some point in the future. The goal, I believe is to get every library in BC on Evergreen.

Twice a month the members of the BCLC meet in person and via teleconference to discuss issues relating to the LBFG and the SBFG. We are a cooperative after all and, thus, have the right and the opportunity to have our say as to how things go with Evergreen and the licensed data bases. In theory this is a good thing. In practice, it just gives me a headache.

I sort of, kind of welcomed the upset tummy and the sick time I took to go home and deal with it (by snuggling in a blanky on the couch while watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, followed by blogging). About six minutes into these meeting my eyes glaze over and my mind wanders to alternating thoughts of chocolate, knitting and geek-icide. I have no idea what is being talked about half the time as the tech-talk that gets bantered around is way, way over my head. And I used to take the minutes! It was hell, I tell you. Trying to create coherent and comprehensible minutes to present to the group when the discussions were incoherent and incomprehensible was exhausting. It took all my concentration and, because I was writing it all down, I was usually unable to ask questions, which may have been a good thing – no one knew how much I didn’t know!

I tried soliciting the sympathy of the LBFG chair person by confessing my ignorance and explaining the trying time I had doing the minutes in hopes of being quietly discharged from the task. But he just laughed at my wit and assured me that I was doing a great job. It was obvious that he had a sucker on the line and he wasn’t going to let it go easily. There are thousands of library employees in BC, but I was the only one dumb enough to volunteer for the job. Once everybody knew that I was the minute taker, they all forgot how to write and type. I got praised nearly to death at each meeting – it was embarrassing.

I finally had to submit my resignation and firmly informed the Chair that I could no longer record the minutes for the LBFG. I stepped down from the same post with the SBFG, too. And not without more than a little guilt. I feel terrible about leaving them in the lurch like this. So terrible that I keep entertaining the idea of re-volunteering in the fall. Mind you, someone is taking the minutes. They land in my in-box within days after the meetings.

I don’t know why I volunteered in the first place. I guess it is because I usually don’t mind taking minutes for meetings. A) it forces me to attend and pay attention; and B) it raises my value in a group due to the fact that no one else wants to do it. In other words, my ego trips me up every time!

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: (from an e-mail just received on my Blackberry in regard to the LBFG discussion that I missed today) “If you wish to build a dynamic book list you may create queries and make the link from the URL of each query’s result list.” What the heck does that mean? Sadly, I’m going to have to start attending these meeting again so I can find out. Sheesh!

Today, though, I am legitimately not feeling well. Whatever this is that has my tummy all gurgly and uncomfortable is not fun. I don’t often get sick. The flu, when it does come knocking at my door, usually runs screaming in the opposite direction when it sees me. All around me people can be up-chucking and pooping through the eye of a needle while I remain totally unaffected. About once every two or three years, I get a doozey of a cold, but even as doozeys go, they are mild compared to what other people go through. It’s possible that it is something I ate, I guess. I may have been pushing the envelope with the three-day old tuna casserole that I had for lunch, but I doubt that it would have affected me that quickly. I ate it at 11 o’clock and by 11:30 I was heading out the door. Who knows?

I’m at home, in my pj’s, debating whether or not to have some water to slake my growing thirst. I haven’t thrown up in nearly 30 years and I don’t intend to start again now. A little water shouldn’t hurt. But Tummy isn’t very thrilled about the prospect. I’ll wait a while longer, I think.

Maybe I’ll watch some TV. Or read my book. Or take a nap. Or some combination of those three. And hope this passes quickly – no meeting scheduled for the rest of the week!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

With Shower Head Akimbo

This whole independence thing certainly has its drawbacks. Where once it had the option of delegating boss-ship to someone else just long enough to deal with problems I didn’t feel like tackling myself, I now have to handle them on my own. I’m not complaining; just experiencing the fall-out of the old adage: you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone!

My problem is not a big one. It’s really very minor in the scheme of things. It’s nothing more than a worn out shower head. The solution is simple: replace it. Well, in theory, it’s simple.

I went to the hardware store and purchased a new shower head. I brought the shower head home and opened it. I read the instructions. I entered the bathroom and re-read the instructions. I set out all the parts and made sure that they were all there and accounted for. It seemed like it would be a quick and simple operation.

What was quick and simple was the acquired knowledge that has vexed women for aeons. Namely the reason that a) quick and simple jobs take men forever to complete; and b) men swear a lot in the process of carrying out these quick and simple jobs.

The first step was to unscrew the old shower head from the shower arm. This took a total of about thirty seconds. The next step was to wrap Teflon tape clockwise around the threads on the shower arm. Fifteen seconds. The next step called for screwing the new shower arm bracket onto the arm.

And this is where things started to go awry!

It didn’t fit. The threads on the bracket would not catch the threads on the arm. Hmmm....

I did what I have seen men do in a situation like this – I spent the next minute or so looking back and forth from the bracket to the arm. I don’t know what was supposed to happen. Nothing that I could discern did. The threads remained unchanged, but looked like they should be compatible. I adjusted my stance in the tub and tried again. Again it the threads did not catch. I repeated the procedure of looking back and forth between the bracket and the arm. It must be a man thing. So I did a woman thing and re-read the instructions. They lacked detail and there was no trouble shooting section to explain the anomaly.

Determined to figure this out, I re-adjusted my stance, stuck my tongue out slightly and tried again, first reviewing the basic rule: Righty, tighty; lefty, loosey. Yes, I was turning it the proper way. No, it would still not catch. A few mild oaths escaped my lips. This quick and simple job had, so far, taken ten minutes – about five times the required amount to do it if there are no glitches. The threads not catching was a definite glitch. I decided to eat a cupcake and give it some thought.

The cupcake was delicious. But it was not inspiring. My fourth attempt to attach the bracket to the arm ended the same way the previous three had. Fruitlessly. Back I went to looking back and forth between the bracket and the arm. The only thing I could see that could be the problem was that the arm had about an inch of threading whereas the bracket only had about a quarter inch of threading. It seemed to me that this shouldn’t be a problem. And yet it was...

There was nothing left to do but put the old shower head back. This was quick and easy. Sadly, though, when it was tight it was no longer sat straight. It now sits at a weird angle with the top of the shower head pointing down about 45 degrees to the right. I thought I could adjust it. It seems not.

My shower this morning was a bit of an adventure. The odd angle of the spray meant that I had to stand at an equally odd angle. Consequent to the odd angle of the shower head, the connecting hose hung down in front of me, reminding me, strangely, of a noose. Needless to say, I showered quickly and got out.

I don’t know if I will be able to exchange the shower head for one with proper threads. The nature of the packaging obliged me to nearly destroy it in order to get the parts out. I think it might be a ploy on the part of manufacturers conspiring to prevent returns and exchanges by those who, like me, don’t have the option of delegating boss-ship to anyone else and must, then, learn the hard way. In the meantime, I get to wash with a shower head akimbo.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Costly Free-bee

So, I went to a composting workshop today. It’s a good thing it was free!

While I learned a few things, I had to work really hard at paying attention so I could. The facilitator was not what one could call a motivational speaker by any means. She knew here stuff alright, but she didn’t present it in a way that made me want to rush home and start saving all my kitchen scraps. I didn’t leave with visions of producing vast quantities of high-quality humus. She more or less lost me at the poo part five minutes into the ten-minute late presentation. I just couldn’t see myself calling up farmers and asking to buy their spare poo for my compost.

The workshop was sponsored by Healthy Options for People and the Earth (HOPE), a recycling and conservation group that is doing its best to educate the local rednecks about recycling and conservation. Only a few of them drive large SUVs or pick-ups. Several drive mini-vans. One – my favourite HOPE-er – drives a beater ’88 Toyota.

But I digress...

HOPE is a sincere and well-meaning group of caring people with a genuine wish to do good things for people – and the Earth. They manage the farmer’s market, for instance. And they wear cool, tie-died t-shirts with batik sun flowers on them. I like HOPE in general and applaud their efforts to make this world a better place.

Thus the composting workshop! The idea was to learn about the process and then build a compost bin. While I now have a slightly better grasp on the process, I do not have a compost bin. The problem with the workshop was that it was not geared toward the urban – and I use that term lightly due to the fact that I live in Houston - composter with a neighbour-adjacent yard. It was particularly not geared toward the single urban composter who decidedly does not need (and could probably never fill) a 4’ x 4’ x 3’ chicken wire compost bin. Composting, for the urban composter (single or otherwise), requires a more discreet approach. I suppose it also requires a place to use the compost, such as, oh, say, a garden.

During the course of the workshop, the poo problem was nicely solved by my favourite HOPE-er, who knows someone with goats, who, apparently, has lots of poo and is willing to donate it to the cause. All we have to do is go and get it. The first of the dollar signs floated by as I realized that in order to get the poo, I must invest in something to put it in so I can transport it in the van. There will be no loose poo inside Gracie!

When I came to the conclusion that building a 4’ x 4’ x 3’ chicken wire bin was not going to work for me, more dollar signs floated by. Then, when I saw the cool compost mixer thingie, I wanted to issue birth control to the dollar signs as they were multiplying at an alarming rate. The free workshop was beginning to get expensive. So far I need a $15 bin for the poo, a $120 compost barrel and a $30 compost aerating tool. With taxes and shipping I am looking at $200 or so just so I can have free compost to put on my as-of-yet non-existent gardens. I haven’t even begun to add up what that is going to cost to create.

And the compost isn’t even really free. I have to get the poo, which will cost gas money to get and buy the food to generate the kitchen scraps. And while I’m going to buy the food anyway and using the scraps for compost is better than just throwing it away, I still have to pay for it. Sheesh! Saving the Earth is an pricey endeavour!

When I got home, I briefly entertained the idea of a passive compost pile. The notion was dismissed because passive compost piles are about as suited to my situation as the 4’ x 4’ x 3’ chicken wire bins are. And they tend to attract dogs and bears and other critters that one does not want to attract. I have enough to worry about with my apple tree! (Which is loaded with tiny, soon-to-be, bear-attracting apples, by the way!)

I suppose I shouldn’t worry about composting too much at this point. It seems to be a bit of luxury. Not to mention a lot of work. And I have enough work cut out for me at the moment. Work that isn’t getting done while I’m sitting in wasp and mosquito-infested workshops. Oh, well. It was a nice afternoon out with some very nice and very HOPE-ful people!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

WARNING! RHS Member on the Loose!

My back is killing me! I think I over did it with the shovelling and now I’m paying the price. A trip to the chiropractor would be nice, but at $50 a crack (pardon the pun), it’s just not in the budget. So I’m suffering.

To cheer myself up, I joined the Red Hat Society. That wasn’t, strictly speaking, in the budget either, but I had promised myself that when I turned 49 I would become a RHS member and now I have. Sometime within the next couple of weeks, I will receive my RHS membership welcome kit, which consists of: one membership card, one key chain, one RHS membership hand book, one getting started guide, one sheet of RHS logo stickers and one large, red, floppy-brimmed hat (though, technically, I can’t wear it until my 50th birthday.) I’m also entitled to 10% off at the RHS store where I’ve found several red and purple hats that I rather fancy and have added to my RHS wish list. (Can be viewed on

Plum Caribbean hat

The Red Hat Society was inspired by the poem Warning, by Jenny Joseph. In the late 90’s a few middle-aged women decided to form a social club with the idea of having fun in their middle-age and beyond. The RHS has mushroomed into the largest social networking club for women in the world with over 40,000 chapters world-wide.

Red Tophat

The poem takes a silly and whimsical poke at aging. It’s not very well written and I’m almost positive that Ms. Joseph never intended it to launch a society for women who, quite frankly, were fed up with the expectations of society to be proper and sedate and... Well, boring!

Plum Newsboy

As a newly single woman, looking for some adventure and excitement in her life, I think that the RHS is a good start to expressing myself. I’m not sure if I want to start a chapter in Houston yet, but I have a year to save up for some red and purple hats. Then we’ll see what being a card-carrying RHS member will bring. The way my back hurts, maybe one of those sticks to run along public railings...

Red Fedora


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired

And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

And run my stick along the public railings

And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick flowers in other people's gardens

And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go

Or only bread and pickle for a week

And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

And pay our rent and not swear in the street

And set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Expressing Myself

I’ve abandoned the shovel and taken up, instead, an old, plastic juice jug. The jug holds more than the shovel and does not require the balance and precision that a shovel does between scoop and dump. It also does not tear the plastic under the gravel, which is a huge improvement to the process. Except for the jug, my routine remains the same: lift, scoop, sweep, lift, scoop, sweep, lift, scoop, sweep, cut, pull, lift, scoop, sweep, etc., etc. The trips to the holding pile to empty the wheel barrow are becoming noticeably less frequent due to the fact that I can fill it with a larger load. Even in such a short time, my muscles have gotten stronger and my stamina has improved. I ache all over, but I’m thinking that this isn’t bad at all for an old woman.

The dream is getting closer to being manifest. With each scoop of gravel and cut of plastic I am inching ever-nearer to the goal. And I marvel at the fact that this is actually happening.

I tend to be an idea person. I’m full of them – ideas, that is. Some are rather clever and probably worthy of follow-through action, but that is not my typical MO. I don’t often have the desire to put in the effort to make them come alive. If I could sell my ideas, I’d be rich. Since buying this house, though, some latent oomph has stirred within me and, thus, I am outside grunting and heaving and slowly transforming a vexing space into... Well, into something else. I have an idea of what I want it to all look like in the end, but no real notion as to how to make it all come together. I’m relying entirely on instinct and intuition, listening to a little voice directing me to put this here and move that there.

This project is teaching me many things, not the least of which is patience. If I had my druthers, the yard would take two, maybe three days, max, to become what I want it to become. I may have watched too many episodes of Extreme Home Make-over in my time. What I couldn’t do with a crew of hundreds! But, for the most part, it’s just little old me out there. And I suspect that, for the most part, I am going to remain on my own. Oddly, I don’t mind. Once I’m out there, I slip into a meditative state of mind, somewhat oblivious to the rest of the world, yet keenly in tune with it, it seems.

I am also learning not to make assumptions about other people’s reactions. When the previous owner called and said she was coming to town, I wanted to hide. I assumed that she would be upset to see all her hard work being torn apart. Instead she was encouraging about it, saying that she understood that I had my own ideas and tastes. I felt simultaneous relief and foolishness – why do I always imagine great drama instead of great support?

And I’m figuring out that not everyone who says that they want to help, really wants to help. While a few people have come over and lent a hand, most who say they will, do not. I’m not sure why they waste the words in the first place only to end up stuttering through an obviously made-up excuse later. Why offer to help at all? It’s not like I’m calling them up and asking them to come over and work – they say things like, “Do you need any help?”, or, “I’ll stop by on Saturday and help you with that.” I guess I’m supposed to say something like, “Thank you, but I can manage,” and let them off the hook, instead of, “Great! I’ll see you about ten then.” Perhaps the colour draining from their faces is meant to be a clue. And here I am thinking that I’m being nice not expecting them at eight, being the weekend and all.

“There’s naught funnier than folk,” as Grandma Rigg used to say.

The truth is that I’m not harbouring any expectations. I don’t anticipate anyone showing up. It’s not like I’m in a position to offer them anything in exchange for their time and effort. I’m not looking for accolades. I’m doing this for me, for my pleasure, for the sense of accomplishment that I know it will one day bring. I’ve always wanted a unique and interesting and fun home. I love that I can now work toward creating that and if it takes years to do, then so be it. The point is that I now have the ability to decide for myself without having to justify anything to anyone else. No one can say that it’s dumb or a waste of time. Well, I suppose they can, but I don’t care. If they don’t like it, too bad. What matters is that I like it. And when I’m done, if others like it too, then I will be proud and happy to be able to share it with them.

I’m really starting to love life. It’s so different now than ever before. I feel good about myself and I don’t worry about what other people are thinking so much. My esteem has been emancipated from the restrictions of obligatory duty and compromise that have dominated my entire life. I get up in the morning with a smile on my face. I go to bed feeling content and happy. It’s weird, in an extraordinarily natural way. I simply cannot remember ever feeling like I truly belong and deserve before. I can express myself without worrying about consent or approval. I want a labyrinth and by golly I’m going to make one. I want a mural on my wall and gosh darn it, I’m going to paint one. It’s fun.

The other day someone asked me if I was ever lonely in this big, old house all by myself. I smiled and said, “No. I have my dreams to keep me company.” And there are many of them – dreams, that is. Some are simple and some are more complex. Some are easily obtainable and some will take more effort and planning. Some will be realized and some will remain dreams. But it’s all so grand and exciting just to be able to dream with the knowledge that I can make them come true if I want to. In my own way, in my own time.

And on that happy note, I’m off to soak my aching muscles in a hot bath.