Trae Best, this one's for you.
Of course, I have been meaning to write, but I never seem to get around to it. So, where does the time go? I actually have some concrete answers to that.
By the way, it is okay to ask yourself "What the hell did I do today, anyway?" but is never okay to ask anyone else what they did all day. Especially not a mother of young children. One day, when I was knee-deep in small children and I had forgotten to pick up Larry's shirts from the dry cleaner for the second or third day in a row, he asked me the Forbidden Question. I answered at high volume, in length and in detail, and very nearly dumped his dinner on his head. He only ever asked the one time.
But it's a fair question to reflect on now that my time is my own and I have next to no responsibilities. Mostly what I do all day, in the immortal words of that woman in Rome, is Go Around and Have Snacks.
When our family was vacationing in Rome in the summer of 2022, Ellen and her friend Nicole, who was studying there, set out to explore the Coppedè art nouveau neighborhood. They ended up chatting with a a woman who was sitting on a doorstep enjoying a snack. The woman sighed and said that she was "A terrible woman". Nicole spoke enough Italian to get the story - the woman was supposed to work for her family business, but she kept avoiding work to "Go around and have snacks". This expresses so perfectly my own preferred way of spending time.
And I am so good at it! I can leave the house to buy garbage bags and end up staying out for six or seven hours. Once I leave the house, I so rarely want to come back, despite the many projects that are waiting for me here.
A factor that definitely contributes to my inefficiency is my habit of sleeping in and wallowing around in bed reading novels until around 11 a.m. It's always noon by the time I get up, have coffee, and get dressed. I am aware that the world is full of early-rising go-getters, but I don't really understand why you would get out of bed unless you had to go to a job or drive kids around. I mean, look at the view out of the guest room where I have established my boudoir - why would I get up?
A side note to all my female readers who are still sharing the marital bed despite the fact that there are several empty bedrooms in your house - why would you do that? I love having my own space. I can listen to my audiobook without headphones, leave the light on as late as I want, drink my bourbon in peace. And a boudoir is part of a long tradition. Ladies, claim your own space! Sulk in peace!
On the day after Amy graduated from high school four or five years ago, I burned the St. Francis block schedule and celebrated the fact that most days I no longer had a reason to get up early. I thoroughly enjoy staying up late reading with a glass of bourbon, sleeping in, and hanging about in my pajamas. I thought I would eventually tire of my indolent lifestyle, but it still appeals.
Here's a typical day for me. A few Saturdays ago, I realized that we were out of Donna's frozen tamales, a staple food source. They are sold at the Los Altos Farmer's Market, but that is closed for the winter, so I hauled myself out of bed to get to the Sunnyvale Farmer's Market by noon. I acquired two dozen tamales and then went to a coffee house on Murphy Street. (Tamales - the breakfast of champions.)
At the café I had an egg sandwich and read a novel for a while, and then drove over to the Sunnyvale Library Used Book Sale. I love a used book sale. I regularly attend the book sales in Sunnyvale, Los Altos, and Palo Alto which is why my house is absolutely stuffed to the brim with books. I just can't help myself when I see a book that was originally $25 on sale for $1. Here was my haul on that day.
The Windex is a part of the whole experience - I always clean the books as well as I can before shelving them. This stack represents some of my interests - mystery novels, acrylic painting, comparative religion, crochet, books in Spanish (ese Dan Brown es in Español), gothic English novels, and apocalyptic science fiction.
Here is my stack from the more recent Los Altos library used book sale, featuring some of my other interests - travel memoirs, fairy tales, and pioneer stories.
I am still taking my Spanish classes at West Valley Community College in Saratoga, so that's two days a week I am out of the house from noon until at least 6 p.m. After class I walk around campus, or eat a burrito in the student café, or take a nap in my car, or go to Goodwill, or pick up craft supplies at FabMo, or read in the library, or buy groceries in a store other than the Los Altos Safeway.
The Los Altos Safeway is another reason I'm never home. I refuse to stock up on groceries because every day I live in hope that maybe I won't have to make dinner. So almost every day I am in the Los Altos Safeway, wandering around and muttering to myself. If you showed me a lineup of sixty people and asked which twenty worked at my Safeway, I would nail it. My favorite is the über-efficient girl-boss manager with the ball cap, dark hair, and great-fitting jeans with a carabiner full of keys. You know who I'm talking about if you've ever f*&ed up the self-check. A close second is Chris, the African-American woman who is OVER IT. And in third, probably the short peroxide-blonde Russian who is always in a temper.
I take a basket weaving class on Friday mornings, so that's a whole day gone. After class at the Palo Alto Art Center I hang out for a while with Charlene, the excellent instructor. Then I go either to the Palo Alto Town and Country center for a Kirk's Steakburger and an hour or so in Books Inc, or to the Stanford Shopping Center to enjoy a cheesy item from The Melt and walk around and look at the flowers. I don't need any clothes, but I like to stop by the Anthropologie Clearance Room, because although the brick and mortar store doesn't stock sizes for the plump, people return larger sized mail-order items that end up in Clearance. It's a treasure hunt through a thin person's crammed, insane closet for the two or three things in a size 16. All right, a size 18, if we're being honest here.
I haven't talked that much about the Having Snacks part of Going Around, but trust me, many snacks are involved, which probably accounts for the size 18. I have my favorite spots - Chaat House, Five Guys, Panda Express, Popeye's, the Safeway deli counter, Taco Bell, that taqueria next to the Goodwill, State of Mind Slice House, Happy Donuts, Posh Bagel, you get the idea. And I always have a bag full of Trader Joe's snacks in my car, of course.
So why do I feel vaguely guilty the whole time I am going around and having snacks? It's the UFOs. That's right, the Unfinished Objects crying out "Finish Me!" from all corners of my home.
I love to plan a project, buy all the materials for it, do about twenty percent of it, and then go out and get materials for another nine or ten projects. My daughter Susan tells me I probably have attention deficit Oh hey! There's that book I was looking for last week!
One of my favorite projects is finding an old handbag at Goodwill and fixing it up. I wash the bag, replace the lining, add an interior pocket and key fob, change the shoulder straps to small handles, and add a cross-body strap. Here are my completed bags.
But of course, my imagination far outstrips the time I have available, considering my proclivity for staying out all day, so here are some of the bags *waiting* to be altered.
There are also many crochet projects lying around. I have given up the idea of knitting entirely. Knitting requires precision and patience, so that's a hard no. However - crochet is very forgiving and goes together pretty quickly. And there is so much yarn available at resale stores! I have very much yarn and have started projects including slippers, a beanie, a few tote bags, and an afghan. I have also made a bunch of granny squares but am unsure what to do with them.
Sometimes, at Goodwill, there will be a child's weaving loom for sale, and I cannot resist. I have yet to figure out what to do with any of them, but I ask you, what crafter could pass these by?
Basket making is a relatively new craft for me. I have finished some baskets, including these tiny useless baskets.
Pero, por supuesto, there are many partially finished baskets lurking in corners.
Like every crafter since the dawn of time, I have a stash of fabric, which is currently stored under all the beds upstairs. Sometimes I actually sew something, such as this housedress for my Mom made from chicken-printed fabric I found at FabMo.
And hey! Today I finished something! I took a class in bag-making at Needles Studio in downtown Los Altos. The instructor was very patient and would periodically say, "Katherine, what exactly are you doing?" and I would say "Something wrong?" and she would point me down the right path. So unlike my usual Wild West sewing which involves a lot of seam ripping, I did not have to rip out a single seam today!! And look what I made!
Larry and I are also still taking date-night art classes on Thursday nights at the Palo Alto Art Center. I really like my last two paintings of apples and radishes, in which I am finally exploring the color wheel, after winging it for years. Like all my paintings, they are slapped up on the walls of our home with masking tape.