A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Who's the Creative One?

As you have probably noticed, I have been silent the past few days, but what you cannot realize from the written word is that I also lost my voice midway through this cold I have been suffering under. I awoke yesterday morning unable to speak above a whisper, and actually had to have my husband call my office for me. I had been staying home in the morning anyway to visit my chiropracter, who lives up the road from me, but she left a croaky message for my on the answering machine, saying she was too ill to see anyone. My boss at the Clinic has the same cold, as does the high school daughter of one of our nurses (who also lost her voice). One of my employees at the child care center had called in sick on Monday, and missed Tuesday. Several of the children (of course) are ill... it doesn't really help much to know that their "immune systems are gaining experience". That last bit is a direct quote from the pediatrician featured on the instructional videos at our Red Cross health class last Sunday, where I learned that preschoolers and infants, on average, suffer from 6-8 colds per year and 1-2 bouts of diarrhea!

My immune system could use a rest about now, as this is my third cold for the season, and normally I manage to doctor myself through any early symptoms and avoid "real" (as in lying around in bed) illness. Not so this time. I spent most of yesterday laid up, too exhausted even to KNIT (I can hardly believe it myself). I did get in a few rows on the Ruffled Shawl, which is only a row or two shy of the required 325 stitches now, and awaiting some attention later this evening. The next step is to make short row "points", which will become the foundation for the "ruffles".

I managed to muster enough energy to clean up a bit and head out in the pouring rain/slush in the late afternoon, with DH as chauffeur for myself and one of the child care center's long-time supporters, Chris, to attend a meeting of the board from the agency taking over our management. Although last night's meeting did not appear productive on the surface, something broke up the logjam reigning for the past week, and now forward progress is being made. I will be better able to take stock of my life situation by next Tuesday, which made me feel more lighthearted today, even though I still felt lightheaded from my cold. I worked a few hours only at each job, loafed around on the couch this afternoon (I am a terrible napper) and managed to make it to the post office to send off my second care package to my Better Pal, who I certainly hope feels better than I do. I think I am a tiny bit better, and now can speak in a croak instead of a whisper, but am hoping for good health to return quickly, as there is now SNOW in the Sierras, and I had hoped to go snowboarding on Saturday. At this point, I might be content with just sitting on the deck looking at the snow and sun!

My husband, on the other hand, has NOT been sick, and has been on a creative binge, inspired by an article in this month's issue of Old House Journal, titled "Common Colors Used Uncommonly Well". The subtitle, A Basic Guide to the decoration of Arts & Crafts interiors, more accurately reflects the content and photos featured. I was quite surprised at his interest in this article, as I have always been the one favoring Arts & Crafts decor and objects, even to the point of writing an article about the Arts & Crafts movement several years ago while in grad school.


Glenn repainted the mantle in our family room two days ago, with some paint graining that it is difficult to capture in this view from the couch. Then, following the color schemes popular during the Arts and Crafts Movement, painted the wall of the chimney a light olive green this afternoon. To the left side of the fireplace, two of the slates are standing up, to give us an idea what that color would look like as baseboard paint. The grandfather clock to the left was our gift to ourselves to celebrate our fifth anniversary, back in 1999.

Olive, I learned was a very ancient and common color for decorative interiors, because the paint did not required white lead, which was very expensive. Olive also covered well, was resistant to fading, and was stable in various paint formulas. The article also points out that the olive color scheme and the heavy use of wood in the Arts & Crafts movement depended on the contrast of needlework accessories such as pillows, table runners, sideboard scarves, and shawls draped over the chair or settee... get out your knitting needles! Olive looks very good together with the deep burgundy red of the mantle, which matches the drapes already in this room, and I am going to be on the lookout for a nice turkey-red carpet.

For the curious, I will further point out that our house was built in 1852, and that this is the original wood fireplace, now outfitted with a propane fireplace which puts out tons of BTUs of heat, since the brick chimney has been blocked off. On the other side of the wall is the coal fireplace, much narrower and with an ornate, original grate. The two fireplaces shared one chimney, but we would never dare to have a fire in them again, as that chimney really cannot be rebuilt without tearing apart our walls, and surely no longer is intact... cracks in the mortar over the years and all. Glenn installed a simple propane jet in the coal fireplace just after Christmas, hidden behind the grate, to heat the parlor and our bedroom. The house is laid out in a cruciform (cross) shape, and heat going around curves and through halls and doorways is all but dissipated by this shape, hence the requirement for two furnaces. We are cozier than we have ever been, but still feel the wind blowing in the fiercer storms, and recognize that living in an old house not only has character, but builds yours.

You may have noticed that I am sporting a jazzy new ski button up there at the top; I am opting for Margene's alternative Olympic knitalong... not being of a very competitive nature, nor caring that much whether I sit around and watch the Olympics on television (as I told Margene, I would much rather go out and play in the snow than watch others doing it). I was excited to learn today that Jayson Hale, cousin of two of my former students, who grew up with my kids, made the U.S. Olympic snowboard team, so just might have to watch a few of those events, while peacefully and processfully, knitting. We come from a pretty small place, around 3,500 people in the whole county, and it's exciting when someone local gets as far as the Olympics!

3 Comments:

Blogger margene said...

What a beautiful fire place. I wish we had one in our place. Nothing better than napping and/or knitting in front of a warm and cozy fire. You are lucky to have a great dh to take care of you when sick. Smith does a fair job these days, too. He took the training in our early married life well;-)
It will be interesting to see which direction you take next week as you decide on the job situation. Rest, relax and enjoy your weekend.

6:46 AM  
Anonymous evagorman said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you have a cold. We have been luck enough to avoid the cold/flu bugs going around. I'm sure you’ll be on the mend soon.

Your fireplace mantle looks beautiful. We have a fireplace in our house, in Greenville. Just last weekend we were sitting in the living room wondering what we can do to jazz up ours. Right now, we have a 3"x10' plain piece of wood, stained dark brown as the mantle, boring light tan colored bricks. The firebox is raised 1 1/2 feet off the floor, and this past year we bought a Lope Insert and installed a new metal chimney. It truly made a difference! We can get our downstairs so hot that we have to go outside to cool down. Nice!

This weekend the forecasters said it should be nice, no storms so relax and enjoy the weather! ~evagorman@hotmail.com~

9:31 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

is that last comment from someone in Greenville? MY Greenville? lol

I love the fireplace! We lived in a old home in Grass Valley, it was built in the 1860's. It was very small but I do miss it!

Send me your address so I can send off your stitch markers!

oh and you've been tagged.

4:30 PM  

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