Took out three softening pumpkins and left the front yard with this.
Also spent the afternoon lining the garden with bricks. Lifted a lot of bricks today. Kiiiiiinda don’t feel like doing anything else, so I’m waiting for these burritos Scott made to kick in and get me re-motivated.
Cleaned my house, mostly. That is what I did all night, and now I nap.
Spring is springing in our basement. So far onions, basil, Brussels sprouts, nasturtiums have sprung. Sun berries and grapes, not yet.
Still to be planted: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, etc.
This week! Got my new gardening gloves in the mail (lower left), mended some sheets what needed mending (lower right), and installed a grow light in the basement kitchen for all my itty bitty seedlings.
Not pictured: I’m also priming and hanging a picture rail in our library, so I can host viewings of my art at home.
Have I mentioned lately how neat it is to have a house?
I like Mondays.
They always feel like a fresh start, a fresh week. Last week is gone and the weekend is over and whatever I did or didn’t do or get done is in the past.
So I can make a new try, and I can’t rest on my laurels. There is always another Monday coming!
- reset the house
- put away blankets and dishes from last night
- trashed my pile of doodles from watching the Oscars
- picked up cookie wrappers from late night snacking
- troubleshot a cat problem
- did two thirds of a yoga session
- did laundry
- got groceries
- troubleshot an AirBNB guest problem
- Set up a new chair thanks Rachel, Veronica and Fuku!
Sigh. What a morning*
Now I will show my studio some love she is messy and needs sorting. I’ll start with cleaning my brushes.
This is a picture of my cat’s sheepdog belly because I don’t have a photo relevant to anything in this post.
It has been just a crazy week, and I know I am a grown up because I have not felt even one bit crazy.
I have been cranking on four paintings for my show closing this weekend in Grinnell, recovering the house after having been gone for a week’s residency/two parties last week/cleaning the house in preparation for an AirBNB guest’s monthlong stay, and working on my next issue of We Are Only Children, plus the other junk I typically do during a week.
The order of my studio has suffered, but the rest of the house is doing okay. I’m even still on schedule for less-important house tasks! Last night, for example, I started some of my seeds for this summer’s gardening!
Right now, I take a break with coffee and write blogs because this morning I shoveled out from six inches of snow and cleaned the guest room top to bottom. NEXT: paint more. AFTER THAT: continue cleaning. FINALLY: blessed sleep.
This blog continues to be quieter than usual because non-blog life continues to be fast-paced than normal.
3 years in Rockethaus
Our third year of Rockethausdom begins today. We moved in October 2010, and since then have gone through a couple jobs between us, Scott moved to Illinois for six months, we had one human roommate and one cat roommate, and added two more cats. We’ve hosted SOME parties, but not enough. We started a band which practices here roughly every week. We host Dungeons & Dragons.
Much of the house is still in total flux (the front room, the basement den, the storage room, the garage) but the most important parts are pretty settled (the rumpus room, the kitchen, the master and spare bedrooms, the bathrooms, my studio and Scott’s office, the garden, the compost pile). More of our friends have bought houses and now we give house advice and trade tools.
It is a good house. Happy housiversary.
(The photo above is of three turnips I pulled from the garden this week. I’d forgotten I’d planted them!)
September state of the homestead:
IT SUCKS. The garden is a total fail this year…Okay, that’s not true, but my previous four summers have been SO productive that this month’s AWFUL heat-induced plant trauma has left me grumpy and disappointed.
I picked a couple ears of corn for dinner the other night. NOPE. Some kind of borer had turned the upper third of both ears into mush, but it didn’t really matter — only about half the kernels had developed and the whole package was pretty blah. Last year I didn’t need to worry about corn’s pollination, but this year I grew an heirloom variety, so I probably needed to be more attentive.
Then again, the stalks themselves suffered pretty terribly under the summer heat, and that may have been the cause of underdeveloped — not unpollinated — corn.
I have melons. I DID have two itty bitty musk melons developing, but one has self-aborted. The other’s not looking good.
I ate one serving of edamame. There is more out there — and I’ll probably save it for next year’s seed.
This week I’m spending a lot of time weeding the lawn and sidewalks. I’ve still only had the lawn mowed twice this summer, and this week I’ll make it three.
The only thing I’m proud of this summer is an unexpected performer — turns out the shaft of decorative grass the last homeowner planted just before we moved in is a HUGE bush of pampas grass. Just what we wanted! A tall grass behind the house as a privacy screen! And this year, it’s blossomed up to…gosh, it’s got to be 15 feet tall. That pampas grass thinks this hot dry summer is the best thing around.
This video, Things That Seem Normal When Leaving Alone, is COMPLETELY TRUE. I am my own weirdest roommate, and MAN will I be Scott’s weirdest roommate when he’s back home.
Living alone has been a surprising experience. Probably partially because until now, age 28, I have never lived alone. I have spent a lot of time home alone but after I moved away from home, I lived with roommates, then Scott. So I guess I didn’t think it would be a big deal; I am an only child, grew up in the country, my parents worked long hours…I know being alone.
But I started pushing the boundaries of alone time when we bought this house. Scott worked a real job in an office, and I moved out of the studio I rented and into Rockethaus.
I spent most of the first winter learning how not to sleep ALL OF THE TIME. The first thing I will do if left alone in life is sleep a lot. Slowly, I started to make routines and I quit sleeping so much. I figured out what to work on all day under my own direction, what TV shows were best to watch (COPs at 12 and Days of Our Lives at 1, and if I’m really teeveeing, Dr. Phil at 4.) and tried to learn how to organize a house like an adult (still working on that).
And at the end of the day — most of which I had slept through — Scott came home at 6 or so. So really, I was alone and conscious for maybe four hours a day. I also instituted lady coworking and lady yoga…and then lobbied for a roommate, which I got. I spent way more time working in cafes and the library. Wow, I guess I saw a lot of people!
Scott took this new job in March, and I have seen him maybe 7 times since. And now I really see almost no one all week. Everyone else in the world except shut-in grannies sees more people than I do on the regs. Most weeks, nobody comes to my house. When I go out I usually end up apologizing to someone for my rambling, “I’m sorry. It’s been a few days since I’ve seen people.” Words sort of tend to fall out of me when I’m breaking a solitude.
I think a lot about how many people die in household accidents every year. Sometimes, standing on the lip of my bathtub to water a plant, I think, “If I crack my head open, who will find me?”
I still get dressed, mostly. Though sometimes I just change back out of my clothes and into a nightgown to work. But it’s been REALLY HOT lately.
Sleep and eating kind of roll along in cycles. Less here, more there, earlier now, or later then, but mostly every day averages out the same.
Sometimes I get stir-crazy, but MOSTLY I’m happy in my nest. It’s worst in the winter. I talk to myself a LOT, even though I’ve really been trying to stop. I talk to the cats a lot, but less than I talk to myself. I rarely feel afraid by myself in the house (though the time a man rang the doorbell at 1 AM made my heart tick), but I avoid anything smelling of a ghost story. I carry my phone with me all the time ALL. THE. TIME. because I know the one time I leave it by the sink some crazy meth head will come running up the street and then won’t I be sorry.
I am SO VERY LAZY about cooking for one, but I still seem to have an urge every week so I just cook up a big batch of whatever to last me a few days. I watch a lot more movies over and over, especially if they feature Jeremy Renner. I have figured out there is definitely something wrong with my ears (oh the weird things living alone will reveal about oneself!)
It is an interesting difference, living a solitary life. I have been reading even more of Thoreau and cowboy books and books about long solo treks into the jungle and meditation and solitude. I think about things a little more slowly, because…I have the time. Living this way has helped me improve myself: I would consider very little of my time wasted, whereas before this hermiting I definitely still spent more hours than I meant to playing Glitch or solitaire or Fallout. Now I tend to spend “spare time” — anything not writing, drawing, internetting, or housecaretaking — reading books and practicing yoga and learning things. And napping. There are still a lot of naps because my sleep habits will never be all that healthy.
It will be an interesting change when Scott returns home in September! He has been living alone for the first time, too. I think it will be largely pretty easy, though we do tend to bump our only-child horns sometimes. It sounds like he’s been developing good new habits, too! Yay, us!
Too hot to cook inside. Fired up the grill and cooked outside.
Ibuprofen, coffee, hot dog, corn.
I ate my dinner outside, with Vampire Weekend - Contra on Rdio.
July in the Rockethaus Garden
My garden is a little pathetic right now. Between the heat and my distraction/travel/laziness in said heat this summer, neglect is showing.
Some of my corn got wilty today, before a cool cloudburst came over around five.
There’s a teeny bit of everything: a couple puny radishes, a weirdly stunty bush of lettuce, and I’ll get a few bags of soybeans.
But the watermelon? She is the star of the garden party this year.
She has spread tendrils ten different ways, and her leaves are perky, unblemished, and looks properly hydrated.
So I’m looking forward to watching a few melons growing soon.
They are a variety called moon and stars — purple melons with pale dots all over the fruit and foliage.
And that’s about it for the goods of my garden. I’m also realizing that the maple tree in the neighbor’s backyard will start blocking lots more sun in the coming years, so I should start planning something else to go where the garden is now — and move the garden to the northwest side of the house.
I am thinking about what to do with this property in 15 years that is so weird.
This is a training video made by artist Tom Sachs for use in training his studio assistants. I love it, and I think of it almost every day when I try to continue organizing the house.
This house is as much a workshop as a house. Our lives can be crazy and Scott and I are always running half a dozen projects between us, not to mention day projects like making dandelion wine. We’ll have lived here for two years come October, and we’re still settling in. Every few months a room or closet or garage wall gets completely rearranged as we learn more about what we want to do in each room. (Screenprinting and beer brewing: basement kitchen. Tabletop gaming: upstairs family room. Artist workshops: front room. Which room should the mini garden station be in?)
I’m not far enough along in organizing this house to be able to follow all these rules, yet. But I’m making a big push at it this summer.
Also basically this is what I want to be able to require of my employees. For now I just direct it at me. And the cats.