Corybantic

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Word of the day – corybantic – frenzied; agitated; unrestrained.

My littlest grandson Corey has his agitated unrestrained moments, but underneath that he’s considerate and very loving.  A funny mix.

But the Y in this word is pronounced “uh”, not “ee”, and corybantic rhymes with “romantic”.  So don’t say you didn’t learn anything today.  Or that you wouldn’t love Corey if you met him.

My corybantic days of this long redecorating summer are drawing to an end.  The main floor is done except for a couple of light fixtures and some serious dusting.  There have been times when I would flop myself down, utterly exhausted, wondering why my shoulders ached, then think well you just moved sixteen pieces of furniture, you idiot.  I’m not always polite when I talk to myself.

The wall colour in bedroom one is called Swiss coffee.  It is not yellow, even though that’s how it appears in the photo.  More of a creamy white.  Bedroom two paint colour is called plantation tan and also not as lovely in the photo as in real life.  Since we are not familiar with plantations or what the sun on one might do to ones skin colour, we decided to rename this colour maple walnut ice cream, more in keeping with my edible colour theme.  Not sure if you would want to eat a pelican, but pelican is the name of bedroom three and the ensuite bath colour.  Nothing hung on the walls yet of the bedroom three/art area space because I can’t decide what “splash of colour” goes with pelican and cream.  Maybe blueberry?  Or raspberry?  Or some other fruit?

And that’s it!  No more painting of ceilings and walls!  I even cleaned out and reorganized my junk drawer, sorting things like screws into pointy and non-pointy ends, because nails and not nails wasn’t sufficiently specific.  So now what am I supposed to do with myself??

Happily I remembered I have a blog.  And a brand new art area chock full of misplaced and mixed up supplies, and a project, to do a couple of coffee pictures for my daughter.  And I have cupboard shelves that need cleaning and maybe painting and definitely new lining.  And things that need moving downstairs from up, and upstairs from down  and speaking of stairs, the carpet on them is awful.  And then there’s the basement, but that’s a project for another day.  Or series of months.  And the main bathroom needs renovating, which should have been done first, but too late for that.

So.  It appears I am not really done.  But it does feel like a chapter has ended.  Corybantic no more.  Until the next wave of redecorating mania hits me and sweeps me away I guess.

 

Kids In the Hall

Yesterday I finished the hallway.  It’s a little weird how happy I am about that.  Only one picture allowed (new hall rules) so it’s my collage picture of some ancestors at various stages in their lives.
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Because there is less light here the colour looks more orange and the white really stands out.

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Ok, I expect that’s about all the time you would like to spend in my hallway admiring walls and doors. And a surprisingly clean floor.  Let’s go around the corner.

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And turn left.  And then back up and turn right.  You know, so you don’t get lost.  New shelf rules too.  Two or less items per.  I just noticed one has three things.  Oh well.

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The colour behind the couch is called “tea dance”.  It’s looking a little more pink here than it does in real life.  And notice how different my “melted marshmallow” looks in bright morning light.

imageI’m not sure what this suspended slab of stone or concrete under the fireplace is called, because don’t mantles go above, not below?  Anyway, it was ugly and I always kept it completely covered in stuff.  It’s a perfect place for candles.  And other assorted junk.  And did I mention ugly?  Well now it’s covered in a grey textured paint which looks and feels like rough stone.  And I no longer feel the need to pile loads of crap on top of it.

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My daughter made me take away those little elephants. She is ruthless.

And finally, my art corner.  Sadly neglected for now but not forever.

image imageBecause there has to be a mess somewhere.

I should have cut the grass today, but it was just too hot.  These days you have to get out there between thunderstorms. And despite all the rain, the heat manages to keep the grass looking half dead, especially in the front where it kind of matters.  Anyway, I had a nap instead.  Painting wears me right out and it sometimes takes days to recover from all my hard work.  Ha!  No, I don’t really believe that either.

I think we might be half way finished!  This is another picture from the kitchen because I forgot to add it last post.

imageIn case you were worried I might have chucked out the stove.

Back at it tomorrow.  Two bedroom ceilings on the agenda.  Or more naps. Hard choices to be made.

Take It Away

After the back entranceway transformation with all the baskets, the kitchen was up next for an update. The worn floor should be replaced, but frankly, I don’t care.  We replaced it once already years ago.  And the cupboards are old and kind of horrible on the inside, but here’s what I figure. Someone will buy this place and rip out the cupboards and the floor and be all pleased with themselves when it’s done.  So I won’t deprive the future owners of that pleasure and expense.  I just wanted the blue and sand and beachy theme gone and the ceiling white again with no stains and no gawd awful fluorescent light buzzing over my head.  Here’s how the cupboards looked before, going up to the ceiling.
imageAnd here’s how they look like they don’t do that anymore.
imageThat bit of white at the top really brightened things up.  There is a different mess on the counter in the second picture and the window frame is also now white.

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I thought the backsplash tiles were white but here they are going from half-assed white to blinding white.

The colour we decided on for the walls is called melted marshmallow. It’s sort of peachy.  So yeah, I have gone from beachy to peachy.  This colour is now on the kitchen and living room walls and will soon be down the hallway because I just taped six doorways and all the baseboards there. I never counted how many doors there are in the hallway before but that’s a lot of doors.  They were all wood and now they are all white.  The hallway is no longer gloomy.  This is the linen closet door where I started.  Because I like to start at the end and work my way to the beginning.

imageBut back to the kitchen.

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Because the walls were blue at the bottom and sandy yellow at the top they begged for this type of work in progress art by my creative daughter.  I’m kind of sorry we painted over it.  And even though the paint included primer, the line where the blue stopped was hell to get rid of.  So there are at least three coats of paint here, and this corner in particular where there is less light is a lovely warm almost orange.  Other places the colour looks much more pale.  So even though this colour is all over the place, it looks like different shades in different lights.

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imageThere is a story behind the newly spray painted spoon and fork which I’m sure I have shared elsewhere.  This wall looked a little off balance to me before I added that plate on the left. Then all I could think of was hey diddle diddle the dish ran away with the spoon.  But look at that other wall with just ONE thing hanging there!  I’ve come a long way, baby.
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This last one is in the living room by the front door where the colour is beautifully soft.

The best decluttering idea ever, which I’m so happy my daughter shared with me, is to remove absolutely every bit of decor that’s movable from every room in the house.  Then once a room is all fresh and clean and painted, carefully choose only things you love dearly and would be sad about if they were gone to add the finishing touches. Less is more.  And move all that weird shit you bought on impulse out to the garage.

Okay, wake up!  I’m done for now.  I will share my living room/art room journey next.

Or I might tell you about my dermatologist appointment because that’s where I’m headed this afternoon.  The excitement rarely ends around here.

My Blood Just Might Be Slightly More Interesting Than Yours

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Vast knowledge makes you strong.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  My dad used to say that last bit.  And it follows that if you believe something, it is very real in its consequences.  So if I believe my left foot is possessed by satan I might be inclined to cut it off.  Even though my original notion was probably wrong, I still end up hopping about on one foot.

I’m sure there’s a miraculous point in there somewhere, although it could be simply a tangent my brain took off on when I remembered my great love of medical dictionaries and encyclopedias in my youth.  Those books have been replaced by Google.  I had a mothers medical book when my kids were small and was able to diagnose them with every childhood affliction going.  Now there are millions of new conditions so I have great empathy for todays parents and their boggled minds.

I still research diseases and random symptoms and come to wild conclusions.  Then I go to a real doctor to be assured that I am not in immediate danger of dropping dead.  So far they have all been very accommodating.

The condensed version of my medical history is just as likely to lull you in to a coma as the detailed one, so I will skip over both of them and jump right to the diagnosis.  IgG4.

Yes, of course, I could not have something mundane and ordinary.  IgG4 is a rare systemic fibro-inflammatory disorder.  Here is what I know about it, even though I have googled these facts and realize you are not supposed to blindly believe everything you google.  Hasn’t stopped me yet.

Immunoglobulin G is an antibody found in blood and extracellular fluid which controls infection of body tissues.

By binding many kinds of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi, IgG protects the body from infection, neutralizes toxins and helps maintain food tolerance by the immune system.

Inflammation is a result of infection.  

Okay.  The original specialist I saw no doubt said all this to me because he wrote it all in a report which I didn’t see until very recently.  Two years later.  All I heard was NOT CANCER blah blah blah.  He said he didn’t know the cause of the infection or the inflammation, gave me heavy-duty antibiotics and then a course of prednisone, and since neither made any difference suggested we forget about it.

The inflammation never went away so my doctor and I thought a follow-up visit in a little over a year would be a good idea.  Same clinic, different doctor, and it’s like he never read my file and started over again with all the same tests.  Eventually he didn’t know what to do with me next and referred me to a lung specialist.  I learned more in that one visit to them than I figured out from him in six months.  They are the ones who showed me the original doctors report.  They sent me for blood tests and then referred me to a hematologist.  I saw her on the 3rd of August and she was wonderful, even though she sent me to a lab to have seven more vials of blood taken so they can analyze the hell out of it.

Her diagnosis, unless she finds anything new, IgG4.  Treatment for now – none.  Steroids could cause more problems than they solve so no point in going that route yet.

The inflammation hasn’t spread much except to a lymph node behind my esophagus and a couple in my lungs.  Any organ in the body could be affected.  It seems to be a little unpredictable.  Fibrosis is a possibility.  Not a lot of studies have been done on this yet and there are differing opinions. But really, I am done losing sleep over it.  Skin rashes and thyroid problems and type 2 diabetes are all related and I remember saying once I thought whatever was going on was a systemic thing and holy crap, I was right.  Maybe everything is systemic, I don’t care, I still think I’m smart.

On Wednesday I’m going to see a dermatologist on the hematologists recommendation.  Then I would like to do what the original specialist suggested and forget about it.

How’s that for a plan.

 

Rabbits In the Rain

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Rational me knows that the appearance in my backyard of crows and magpies and jackrabbits and squirrels and cats and ducks (yes, there have been ducks!) is completely random and entirely insignificant.  There is no sane reason for me to be counting these creatures and keeping track of their arrivals and departures.  But I do.

Weird superstitious me believes in omens and portents and prophecies of doom and assigns grave importance to…well….pretty much everything.  Because you never know, right?  If the cosmos is sending me messages I would like to be receptive, not oblivious.

Let me tell you about the crows.  It’s been a crow summer here.  These big black shiny creatures swoop down four and five at a time onto the grass and squawk at each other like mad things. Magpie conversations seem almost polite in comparison.  They are devious and mean looking.  One in particular, perched somewhere in the big pine tree in a neighbors yard,  eventually lost his voice I guess, or moved on.  For weeks he just would not shut up.  But now he has.

So What Does That Mean???  One for sorrow?

Maybe somebody shot the bastard.

Anyway.  There are no crows today.  Today is W’s birthday.  If you’ve been paying attention you will notice my last post was on MY birthday three months ago.  I am fine.  Just finally doing things worth writing about and not having time to write about them because I’m too busy doing things.  I feel like I sat on my derrière for the first year or so of my retirement and now I’m not doing that so much.

My kitchen and living room are cleaned up, painted, decluttered and tastefully decorated. Ha!  Notice there’s no pictures of that so you can’t dispute the tasteful part.  Instead I have shared jackrabbits and white spray paint on our pitted driveway through the kitchen window.  That probably means something too.  Like I should stop gazing out rain streaked windows and get on with the rest of the house.  I’ve taken a few ‘before, during and after’ shots. And then some after-after ones after I changed my mind again.  We had a garage sale the end of July and got rid of a lot of stuff.  The garage has now become home for what remains until my daughter picks it up and it gets donated to some poor unsuspecting charity.

It’s been lovely to have lots of time and no deadline getting the painting done.  The house is old and there are always new challenges and surprises.  I am now an expert at concealing gaps on wooden window and door frames and baseboards, imperfections which showed up when we painted them white, with sealant.  House glue!  Awesome stuff.  Hallway, three bedrooms and main bath to go!  All in various stages of work in progress.

The crows have been worrisome, but now I think maybe they were not trying to give me bad news.  Because after all my doctor visits and tests  and consultations, I finally have a medical diagnosis.  I will save that for another post, and don’t worry, it won’t have to wait for some random relatives birthday.

Unless the crows freak me out again simply by being their normal bird brained annoying selves.  It’s their fault this post wanders around all over the place.   At least I got it done.  Longest break ever.  But I think I’m back.

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Basket Overkill

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If you think of me at all you may have been wondering lately if I’m dead.  Nope.  Not yet!  Just been super busy doing crazy things like staring at all my ceilings.  And seeing how many baskets I can fit on a shelf.

There is method to my madness in this particular case.  The above picture shows part of our newly spruced up back entrance.  The colour is ‘coconut milk’ and in natural light it looks lovely and creamy.  Indoor light makes it look more yellow and I love it either way.  The shelf on the way downstairs has always been a catch-all for piles of junk, (mostly belonging to and placed there by W) so this is my solution to having to look at three different Armoral bottles, weed killer spray, car wax and random tools on my way to do the laundry.

So far it’s working very well.  Mostly because W is not here.  But since there is no shelf space anywhere on which to set things down, hopefully when he returns he will use the baskets, or carry his shit off to some other location so it looks like we might have storage space somewhere out of sight like normal people.

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Work in progress at the bottom of the stairs.

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Paris pictures! More baskets! Such an awkward little space to photograph!

We are painting all the baseboards and window frames and wooden doors white.  We started with one door to see how it looked and I can’t believe what a difference it makes, so now we’re committed.   The front and back doors are done, as well as the door to the kitchen, the pantry door and the linen closet door.  Inside the pantry and linen closet have also been painted white, and cupboard and closet interiors are in progress.

It’s a slow (but very satisfying) process.  I’m trying not to think about the six doors and dozen window frames and bazillion baseboards to go.  Or all the crap that still has to be hauled out to the garage for the sale that may never happen.

My daughter is doing the ceilings. I’m way out of my comfort zone with those, except for staring at them and being amazed that I’ve been able to ignore their condition for so long.  The kitchen ceiling is done.  Gone are the gray water stains around the fluorescent light, the mystery discoloured splotches above the stove, and the random little red dots above the kitchen table caused by a freak accident involving an exploding ketchup packet in the 1980’s.

The old light is replaced too, along with updated fixtures in the hallways and the most awesome one of all in the art room.  I can’t take a picture of that yet until the ceiling looks less like crap.  These are not just stipple they are some kind of popcorn design stuff, impossible to clean or remove without a huge mess.  Thus the reason the ketchup stains were studiously ignored and allowed to slowly fade on their own.

In other more interesting news, today is my birthday.  I am very old.  I love that every so often the thirteenth of May falls on a Friday again just like it did on the day I was born.  Next sister was born on a Thursday the 12th, leading me to believe our mother drove around on bumpy roads and ran up and down the stairs a lot to get that one delivered under the wire.

The Fort McMurray wildfires are far to the north of us here, but people all over the province (and the country) have pulled together with aid and support.  Puts all my messing about with my house in to perspective when you think about so many homes lost and so many people left with nothing.  But no lives lost!  That’s pretty amazing.

Okay!  It’s art room window frame and sill painting day!  I started yesterday but had to take down the blind and sand the wall and patch some holes and clean the windows inside and out and tape everything and then I was too exhausted to pry the paint can open.  Told you I was old.  Hope I live long enough to finish this.

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

This morning I cut my hair myself, something I’ve been messing about doing half my life it seems.  And I’ve spent the other half being upset with, happy with, or puzzled by the results of professional haircuts.  At least when I do it myself I save time, learn something, and am always delighted to use the money and time I would have spent with a hairdresser on something more fun.  And less traumatizing.

When we first moved to the Arctic with our one year old daughter my hair was long and straight.  I wore it pulled back at the neck, braided, up in a pony tail and even in pig tails sometimes.   We lived in an isolated community with few amenities, accessible only by air, and I was pregnant and bored.  There’s a deadly combination.  After weeks of conversing with a toddler because my husband was always working or away, using up all my yarn and craft supplies and watching it snow,  I decided to hack off my hair.  Hey, it passed some time.  I took off only a few inches that first time, but then my mother in law sent me the first curling iron I ever owned and the real experimenting began.

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This is me with my two babies (February 1976) after six months in Cambridge Bay and who knows how many self-inflicted hair cuts.  Once my son arrived I had much less time to be bored so the frequency of hair cuts slowed down considerably.

Fast forward to Christmas that same year when we flew to Ontario.  Our son was almost eleven months old and our daughter was two and a half.  I was long overdue for a visit to a salon.  Mothers of young children generally aren’t known for their astute sense of fashion and style, which might explain why I decided to get my hair cut in a “shag”‘ made popular by people like Jane Fonda in the movie Klute.

When I returned with my newly shorn “do” my daughter stopped in her tracks and stared at me.  Not much ever made that kid slow down, so that’s why I remember it.  I picked her up and she grabbed a little fist full of what was left of the hair at my forehead and said “MOMMY ARE YOU IN THERE?”  Yes, my daughter always spoke in caps lock.

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And yes, those are bangs. The shortest bangs in history, except maybe for the ones little kids cut by accident on themselves.  I thought you also might enjoy seeing W in a pink paper party hat, and a messy gift opening Christmas Eve.  And my classy shoes?  Don’t miss those.

The great thing about hair is it keeps on growing and after a couple of months I finally made peace with this hair cut.

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Jane Fonda, eat your heart out.