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Christmas Eve 2013DSCN1079

While I am upstairs reading a post from a friend whose dog just “discovered” the Christmas ham as it was  stored out on the porch, my own Dog is downstairs hovering over the remnants in the cat dish. Dinner has already been served, and yes, I am distracted, especially since it’s Christmas Eve and I don’t want to find in June, the stocking stuffers that I am dangerously close to forgetting about right now.

And there was something that desperately needed to go in the attic. And, in fact, something that wanted to come down, but I can’t remember what.

So when I finally return to the kitchen, Dog is still engaged in the waiting game. She stands over the cat  dish, her head hanging and her eyes somewhat glazed. Her eyebrows bob. This has nothing to do with any rules I am aware of. She will wait until I spoon the leftovers into her own dish, and then have at it like the scavenger that I know she is. This behavior has always bewildered me, but I happily go along with it.

I’ve had dogs before, and I’m reminded in particular of a dear Golden Retriever who would cozy up to a dumpster as soon as she would hop onto the couch. This dog of mine right now, Saint Dog, as I imagine her because of her unworldly display of “patience”, is a different sort.

It’s true that, I myself have been accused of having the “patience of a saint”. I have a long history with Catholicism, so I should know what that means. However, a moment of doubt (!) sends me to the dictionary. A quick search reveals only a reference to Job and his nagging wife. Well, screw that.

If I were to attempt to boil my observations down to something meaningful (in fact this is what I try do every day), today’s lesson would be that Patience = Faith in a Positive Outcome. As an alternative, Grab the Ham!

Have a Merry Christmas Everyone, wherever you are!

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Owning an older home reminds me of raising my daughter. It also reminds me of running my business. It also reminds me of why I no longer work on double basses (even though I LOVE bass players) and small instruments (even though I LOVE kids)! It reminds me of everything and anything that requires serious prioritizing.

I have been criticized for “wiping up” instead of Cleaning, and power vacuuming the most trafficked areas rather than moving the furniture and creating a completely pet hair and dust free zone, which really only lasts for five minutes, but in my opinion, is still a good thing to do now and then.

Let’s face it. I am one person and I cannot do everything.

This weekend I painted the front door, even though I’d prefer to paint the whole house, which is an adequate, but excruciatingly BORING gray. I removed old, cheesy curtain rod hardware in the upstairs bedrooms, along with the errant THUMBTACK that the previous painters had simply painted over (sin against my very being!)  and then what did I do? Thankfully remembered the can of paint left in the basement by said hosers (painters) and proceeded to slap it on the damage I had created removing said crappy hardware and thumbtacks (even though there is serious adhesion issues at play here)! Hallelujia!  Am I happy about that? NO!

But, I am happy about finding a door in my garage (that’s another topic)  that clearly used to fit at the bottom of the attic stairs. Well, it’s there again (the attic door), even though it meant pilfering hinges from somewhere else. This is important because the attic door opens into an alcove adjacent to the room that WILL be my new workshop. The alcove is to provide light and a needed storage area. I’m imagining  secondary jigs, forms and less frequently used tools and materials. Yes, I have plans.

If you are a person like me, there aren’t too many things that you don’t notice at all. Sometimes this is a great asset. I am a good violin restorer. I was a lousy carpenter. To be kind, I guess I’d say I’m “detail oriented”. So the challenge is always to keep the big picture in mind and allocate limited resources to affect the greatest benefit while  ever moving in the direction of a larger goal. Which means some things must get short shrift, as much as it goes against my nature.

In parent-speak, I think the phrase is “pick your battles” – about the best advice I was ever given (thank you Liz). I asked myself constantly, “is this a big thing or a little thing”? Which meant that plenty of little things worked themselves out, or not, to some degree or other. The daughter has not only become a fantastic adult, but is also my role model in terms of learning to prioritize within seemingly overwhelming circumstances and, btw, making it all happen ahead of schedule. Clearly she didn’t get that from me. She’s 25, and it’s not that she has it all wrapped up. Hardly, but her mo is admirable. I have learned that what I might be inclined to call “cutting corners” is not intrinsically bad, if the corners are well chosen.

To be fair – about the front door? I also admit to having removed the mail slot hardware a few weeks ago, and painstakingly stripping it of a gazillion years worth of paint. Oh and then re-antiqued it – black in the recessed areas. Pretty sweet huh?

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