22 June 2008

We're in the Nuthouse

Finally, we closed on Nutwood. We have the keys. It's ours. (Yes, I know, it's the bank's, but we've got the use of it, and we get to make the decisions about what to do to it.)

I'll post pictures later; for now, here's what we've done:

1) cut down the vines that grew over the handrail to the front stairs, making it unuseable.

2) sanded and painted the iron handrails to the same front stairs.

3) installed solar lights next to the front stairs. Yay! They're now useable.

4) scraped off flaking painting inside the glass on the outside front doors.

5) cleaned the kitchen -- this includes the refrigerator.*

6) torn down the bizarre green fabric balloon gathered over the downstairs powder room ceiling.

7) put in light bulbs that actually give out light, in the said bathroom, the den, the kitchen, and the porch.

8) taken down the glass fixture on the porch light

9) BEST OF ALL! cut at the root the Leviathan Vine growing up the corner of the house, that's pulling down electrical wires and the gutter, and cut a lot of it off the nearby trellis.

Thank you. Thank you. Tomorrow, the electricians and the locksmiths.

*I'd ask you to explain to me how dead flies got inside a working refrigerator, but I don't want to know.

15 June 2008

Keep Breathing (It's the Most Important Part)

Last fall I had a little surprise, in the form of getting asthma. Odd that I hadn't expected it at all; I've had allergies all my life -- to various pollens and plants and cats, when I was young. Then, when I was studying for my doctoral orals -- I gather it was a Stressful Time -- I went to the Dordogne in the middle of summer and the beautiful French countryside put me into a 24/7 allergy fit from which I never really recovered. Went back home and continued to sneeze all year.

Then when I moved to Pittsburgh, and was staying my first summer in an attic apartment without air conditioning, some friends lent me a window unit that had been in their basement, and as soon as I put it in the window and turned it on, my face swelled up. Mold. Can't take that, either.

Oh, and there were foods I couldn't eat -- mostly tropical fruits -- avocados, mangoes, papayas, blah blah blah.

But I took drugs - it's Zyrtec these days, for which I am very grateful, and I kept my cats, and things were fine.

And then last fall I realized I was wheezing. And my chest got tight sometimes. And the doctor told me it was asthma. I got an inhaler, and I worked on my breathing meditation.

But a few weeks ago I was at a medieval conference, and I was using the inhaler all day long. And I came home and I had birthday cupcakes, and I was using the inhaler all day long. And I hit the wall, and I finally did something I'd been thinking about for 20 years: I tried the Elimination Diet.

And. I can't eat wheat, and I can't eat milk, and I can't eat safflower oil. And the first day of the Elimination Diet, I cut the use of the inhaler to a fifth of what it had been. And now I go days without using it.

And I want to tell you, the fact that I can't eat any of the foods which were my favorites (the cheese! the cake! the ice cream!) is fine by me, cause boy, do I like breathing.

I'm breathing better than I have in a long time. I may well have been breathing this well as a child, but if so, I don't remember it. I love it.

I have been for decades an excellent baker. And now I'm going to learn how to bake differently. I know it can be done, because Pittsburgh is lucky enough to have Gluuteny, at which one can buy milk-free and wheat-free treats* which are VERY good. So if they can do it, I can do it.

And soy milk in the Yorkshire Gold tea is just fine.

I've been remembering a song we used to sing a lot in the early days in Reclaiming -- keep breathing, it's the most important part; you kick, and then you glide; you kick, and then you glide; keep breathing, it's the most important part. It's all in the rhythm, it's all in the rhythm, it's all in the rhythm of your heart.**

I'm still working on the breathing meditations, too.
*They're gluten-free, really, but I only care about the wheat; it's not the gluten itself I'm having trouble with, I gather, since oatmeal and barley don't cause me to have trouble breathing.

**Somebody tell me in the comments, please, who wrote it; I can't find a copy as I write this.

06 June 2008

My Little Personal Concern for the Transit of Saturn Saturn-square-time

To my great and utter glee, somebody has surfed on in using the Google translation function in German, hitting my post "Saturn Square Saturn," which is THE MAJOR PAGE OF THIS BLOG, I kid you not, according to my stats, which is pitiful, cause really I don't know a damn thing about astrology, and I was just blithering.

But too late! Ha ha! You surfed in, and this is what you found, oh my excellent European reader, if you take the German you were given and run it back through the Google translation function, which is one of my Favorite Idiotic Things in the Entire World:

One of the things happening in recent years (see previous articles on Dark moon and full moon drama drama and oh, probably mid-week for no reason, drama, I can not remember the details at the moment) my little personal concern for the transit by Saturn Saturn-square-time (originally Saturn in Scorpio). I am because of my second Saturn return in a few years, and my first Saturn return involved Getting Sober. I am glad I am grateful for each day it is very helpful, what ever happened to me, but I would not characterize it as a treat. No, it was hard. And in general, I experience Saturn energy as pretty damn close. So my thinking is perhaps in these days, instead of being terribly surprised by my inner reality in a few years, I can siphon out that some of the energy now work through as much stuff as I possibly can. This makes sense, is not it? I was not quite bonkers when I thought this. Nah. Hence the dark lunar year of work, so the gloss bombs and the new worship Freyja, so daily and constant spiritual practices, the cleaning and my clothes always clear.

Thank you. This means a lot to me. I was not quite bonkers when I thought this. Nah.

(What the HELL, though, is a "gloss bomb"? I gather this explains why, every time I taught the witches in Germany, we could NOT find any glitter.....)

04 June 2008

Moving to the Nuthouse

Come in, little friend, and bring your checkbook So, further busyness has been going on -- we're moving into a lovely 1877 house, called "Nutwood," in about three weeks. Negotiations were...well...well, they were harrying. Though the house has been lived in, it's not in such a condition that the borough will just hand out an occupancy permit. No. Not until the exposed hot wires are taken care of. Oh, and the gas leaks. Oh, and the thorns enclosing the rail on the steps in the front. Oh, and the storm drain.

The rotten wood siding and sills we're just taking care of for the hell of it. We're fancy-free, devil-may-care, that way. Here. Have some more money. It's worth it.

And really, it is (despite our occasional viewings of "The Money Pit" and "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House," to keep our spirits up). It's SOOOOO BIIIIIIG. It's got four bedrooms, three living room/dens, two and a half bathrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, a breakfast nook, and, in case we get bored, an attic which could be remodeled and made into an Excellent Ritual Room.

Some things -- the safety issues and the house not falling down issues and the San Franciscan Victorian Paint Jobby Which Looks Really Odd on a Pittsburgh Farmhouse -- need to get done immediately.

Other things, such as the Colorful Decoration of the Dining Room, can wait:

All your food is like a Party!  In your mouth!  Forever!

So that we can have people over to discuss things over dinner. By candlelight. With our eyes closed.

But it has detail!

We all know this represents HOURS of paint stripping

It has gorgeous lighting!

Is this a pentacle I see before me?

It has a cathedral window and a skylight in the breakfast nook!

Much more restful than the dining room, really

We LOVE it!

Now I'm going to join up with the House Restoration Bloggers, so that I can have Knowledgeable Company. We need to go pick out replacement doorknobs and a transom.