Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Spring cleaning, KonMari-style (cuz we're trendy like that)

My house has become embarrassingly messy.  All except for the nursery, which I'm rather proud of, because it's orderly.  Orderly!  As for the rest of the house, I have photos to motivate myself into some sort of before-after transformaaaaation.

I'm trying the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book that everyone's been raving about, partly because we need to tidy and I don't like having a lot of STUFF that has no reason for being in my house, and partly because the doctor told me I'm not healing well from my surgery and they think I'm dealing with some major allergy of some kind, so it's time to SERIOUSLY assess what we can do because I am not going through that surgery again.  Throwing out stuff that gathers dust is a good place to start.  

Kondo was a quick read, and I appreciated that its approach is very minimalist, and argues firmly against merely organizing stuff (all those life-hacks for sorting your shoes, keeping your collection of scarves in order, etc are No Good in KonMari world) and more for the drastic reduction in the amount of stuff.  The problem with the KonMari method of cleaning is that (LIKE ALL OF LIFE) it works better if you have money.  Getting rid of stuff and saying if you really need it again later, just buy another is fine and dandy if you have money to spare.  It's probably easy to pare down clothes to only the things that "spark joy" if you have a fair amount of clothes from which to choose.  That said, I still managed to cull a ton, so that probably speaks in favor of the KonMari method in that even though I don't have a knee-deep pile of tops to choose from, I still weeded and felt refreshed for doing it.  Point Marie.

I appreciate the concept of acknowledging that things can bring us a certain kind of pleasure, and that happiness things brought us doesn't have to be stretched through infinity until we die with a house full of stuff that at one time brought us a spark of joy.  Things can be enjoyed fully and deeply, and then gently let go once they've completed the job they came to do.  You don't have to drag everything out.  It seems very pragmatic and practical to assess things not by what they have given us, or might give us in the future, but by what they're contributing to our lives now.  The practical nature of this type of assessment speaks to my sensibilities.  

Of course, we're nowhere near done.  

Clearly.  Ugh.  The bedroom became the dumping ground for all the little things without homes in the house post-baby, AND we took down some stuff from the walls because when we had the crib in the room, it was up against that wall there.  So now the crib is in the nursery and the dresser is back where it belongs but the walls are bare and sad.  And since we don't own, we aren't investing in painting the ick walls.  D:

Here, have some pictures of a cute out-of-focus baby instead.

So many socks have been found.  So many socks, so few mates.  Sorry socks.

Wrist chub!

Friday, May 1, 2015

May 1, 2010

5 years later, and I've got less hair on my head, and I'm pretty sure he's got more.

(I was so happy.  And so, so allergic to those flowers!  But so happy.)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book review: Bow Wow Orders Lunch

When it comes to the great literature I've been reading lately, nothing compares to the book Bow Wow Orders Lunch.  In the history of literature, right there alongside Moby Dick and À la recherche du temps perdu, sits this unparalleled tome.

In its sophisticated plot the reader finds an intricate pattern that weaves its metaphors back and forth.  The plot and sandwich thicken and we are led through a veritable maze of materialistic metaphor, in which the sandwich represents the rise and fall of the bourgeoisie.  First it builds itself steadily.  The cheese of hope, the bread of a good, plentiful economy -- together they form the perfect equation for attaining the American Dream, building and building, rising and rising...

But then, ah, a twist!  And what a twist is is.  The pattern of wealth and plenty comes to an abrupt halt when there is too much bread.  Bow Wow thought that his cheese/bread back and forth would continue on as it always had, but then, things changed, right out of nowhere.  Bow Wow sees this happen and as he breathes the single, solitary word "No" in horror (the horror, the horror) the bread bubble bursts.  The pattern has changed.  Nothing will ever be the same.

What is a dog to do when things change?  How can Bow Wow adapt to his new situation?  There is less hope in this new sandwich economy -- less cheese, you might say.  The cheese and bread are no longer equal, which is a clear metaphor for how the classes were driven further apart and further inequality was highlighted during the housing crisis. 

What I found really fascinating though was the abrupt ending.  Much like the final slam of a door to a house someone is fleeing in the dead of night due to foreclosure, Bow Wow slams his story shut.

It feels abrupt, but right, too, a final act of defiance against the sandwich economy given to Bow Wow.  He refuses to play.  The denouement is the finest part of the book as it leaves the reader not merely satisfied but achingly full, as though they too have consumed the sandwich with Bow Wow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pale picnic

We went on a Victorian/Steampunk picnic in Maymont over the weekend, in case you're not an RVA reader and don't immediately recognize the standard picnic place.  I used to own Steampunkish/Victorian clothes!  Alas, this is the best I can do these days.  Apparently the Hayley who bought Steampunk clothes was a more lithe elven thing than the current Hayley.  Whatever though, I think I'm cuter now anyway.  WHATEVER STEAMPUNK CLOTHES, WHATEVER!  I never loved you anyway.


Also: I should really buy stock in sunblock.

Monday, April 6, 2015


I bought that sewing machine and I still haven't taken it out of the box.

The Amazon box it came in through the mail, I should add.  So really, there are two boxes I haven't opened -- the big Amazon box holding the smaller sewing machine in its box....I've achieved the matryoshka doll level of apathy.

It's not that I'm apathetic though, not really.  I want to learn to make stuff!  I'm just so tired.  But not opening a "present" I bought myself is probably a new low.  Do babies give you mono?  That must be it.

Matryoshka print by SandraSuarez

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Something New: Wee Morning Tea

I've been feeling a lot of lassitude about blogging.  But the minute I started working on things this new way, I felt a spring in my proverbial step.  Maybe it's the spring outside, maybe it's the change in writing style & purpose, but this feels like a good direction for me to take.  It has the capacity to be a little more intimate and private.  I've been emailing more lately, rather than only using Facebook for quick chats, and I had forgotten how much I like the letter-format of communication.  I had boxes of letters sent to me from a friend saved for so long.  I'm sad I don't have them anymore.  I want to reignite that feeling of the personal, and combine it with a little pep.

What is this new direction?

Starting now, I'm going to be writing Wee Morning Tea as a weekly spinoff from Wee Hermione.  It'll be the usual books, cleverness, friendship & bravery* steeped just right and sent to your inbox every Thursday morning.  Some of Wee Morning Tea's content will be personal, like the regular blog.  Some of its content will be motivational (but never Pinterest-y aspirational, because barf).  All of it will be calibrated to start your morning off right, with zero horrible news click-bait stories, because I don't know about you, but lately my morning NPR check has been making me want to vomcry.  Also, there might be ponies. Because sometimes you need a wee pony with your morning tea.

(Obvs that's just a screenshot of my actual sign-up page here, or you can subscribe below instantly.)

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*“Books! And cleverness! There are more important things--friendship and bravery" -- Hermione Granger

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dreams: sewing, sign language, sleep

There are so many things I want to DO -- dreams that I've been thinking of forever but haven't made a move to make mappen.  I've finally taken the plunge on one of them by ordering myself a new sewing machine (specifically a Singer 7258*).  I've dreamed of learning to quilt for a long time, mostly because I follow people who have really advanced skills like Nicole of Stitch Press Quilt and Lindsey of Lost and Fawned and Patrick's Aunt Jane who makes award-winning art quilts.  PLUS, I've got a tiny baby and who better to make quilts for than a baby who won't even judge my skill level?  AND her being a tiny little baby and all, I can maybe make some cute baby clothes for her, which sound way easier to make than clothes for people whose proportions are not "eggplant" (yeah yeah, you might be pear-shaped, but your whole body is not the size of pear!).

This week while I was in my post-septoplasty/turbinate-surgery haze of meds --> pass out for 3 hours in a dead-to-the-world nap --> lay on the couch with the Internet --> rinse/repeat...Patrick got the official news that he passed his End Of Program exams for his master's degree (with honors!), hooray!  He took a week off for them a month ago, so now we're even in terms of using our vacation weeks for Very Un-Fun Things this year.  He's thinking of getting a certificate in American Sign Language studies too, so he might continue his education and go straight into that short program this fall.  Luckily, since it's not a second master's, it's a reasonable expense for something he wants to do, wants to teach Freddie, and could tack onto his resume.  

It's all about the setting and reaching of dreams around House DeRoche these days.  Lest that sound like these things just magically happen and it's golden every time from sewing machines to sign language classes, it's more like we bring our goals to the table then hem and haw forever going back and forth about worth vs expense, all the what-ifs and why-fors.  Lots of discussion takes place, mostly because as Patrick rightly points out, I worry about money and he doesn't**.  It works itself out and we're able to find common ground by, ugh, compromise (does anybody REALLY like compromise? Compromises aren't entirely win-win.) which is good, but not interesting to blog about?  I don't know.  Maybe it IS interesting.  It's human right?  Handling household finances is a tricky thing, and is a balancing act.  We might disagree on whether to spend money on (gasp) hiring someone to clean the house vs taking a vacation in two years, but reaching goals is an agreement we've come to -- if the other person has a goal, spending money to achieve that goal is on the table for consideration.  It doesn't mean an automatic yes, but it gets due consideration when doing the YNAB*** ledgers every weekend.

And on the better side of the Un-Fun Use of Vacation Days coin (and the good side of the Financial Compromises coin), while my mom watches the baby for her first overnight away from us (eek) we're still taking a day for our 5th wedding anniversary to hit up a local B&B.  And I do mean very local!  (No, not our house.  Not doing the AirBnB thing...yet.)  It's just a fancypants B&B that's a few blocks down from where we lived in the Fan (we can dog-sit our own dogs, we'll be so close...hah!).  I am very excited since all the rooms are named after SLEEPING.  The Slumber room, the Dream room, the...I forget the other one.  Dead to the World room?  Passed Out room?  Nightmare room (hope not).  Anyway.  The point is, sleeping is the THEME, and we're gonna sleep so hard.  This B&B gets me.  

*Affiliate link used
**Money and our relationships to it = so very complicated, right?
***Referral code used -- you save $6, I get $6