April, 2013

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The following is an accounting of my first encounter with a (live) bat in my house. Ah, how I long for the days when I could convince myself that the chippering sound I was hearing was an insect!

It FINALLY HAPPENED. My greatest fear finally came to fruition!!!

The other night, my cat Riley was messing with what I hoped – Hoped – was perhaps a cicada or other noisy insect in My Closet, less than five feet away from Where I Sleep.  I hid under the covers and resisted the urge to turn on my bedside light, less I attract said insect even closer.  Riley moved the fight to throughout the house (I could hear it), things finally got quiet, and I went back to sleep.

"A little help, please?!" In my defense, I was in denial.

“A little help, please?!”
In my defense, I was in denial.

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Slower Than Austen Slow

“Miss Eliza Bennett, let me persuade you to follow my example,
and take a turn about the room. I assure you, it is very refreshing…”
– Miss Bingley, “Pride & Prejudice”

“Ah, Spring! When a young man’s fancy turns to love!” Or not. Finding romance in a small town is not as easy as one would think. The following is something I wrote to a friend when there was the slightest hint of a hope of romance in the air:

The man I adore – we shall call him Mr. Rochester – bought some land! He probably purchased it so that he can build a home he feels is worthy of me with his own two hands, and that’s why this whole romance thing is taking so long. The pace here in Reliance makes Jane Austen look like a loose woman!

There was an open house where I work. We had wassail and coffee and cookies and a meat and cheese platter and crackers and of course, free calendars. We were supposed to dress up so I wore my swoopy skirt that I love so much and a knit top beneath a velvet jacket I’d purchased at a thrift store and hadn’t worn yet (it still had tags!). It has a faux fur collar and the sleeves flair out ever so gently at the wrist.

Perhaps not THIS swoopy...

Perhaps not THIS swoopy…

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Poor Edith!

Edith with Bike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI absolutely adore Downton Abbey. So when I saw this little girl she immediately reminded me of that era. Let’s pretend she’s Mary! Alas, we cannot. Clearly she is an Edith. At just 7″ tall she’s quite unusual because of how her legs are bisque to mid-thigh, amongst other things. Not to mention, how many dolls do you know who have betrayed their OWN SISTER to the Turkish Embassy?

Still, as a middle child myself, I can certainly understand her plight, always being outshone by siblings and being overly sensitive about everything. So I made a little outfit for her based on this costume:

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Recollections from my early days in Reliance.
It was the dead of winter. I woke up at 3:15 in the morning as I often do and decided that it would be good if I could get a load of laundry started and maybe clean the catboxes while I was up and get that unpleasant chore out of the way.  I dutifully put some clothes into the washing machine and saw that I’d run out of litter, but there was more in the back of my car.  My pesky cats were trying to get past me as I went out the side door so I quickly slammed it shut behind me.

My doorbell

My ever-so-cool-but-not-very-loud doorbell chimes.


Living in Reliance, I don’t lock my car. After retrieving the cat litter from my pantry on wheels, when I went back to get into the house the door was locked!  See? THIS is why I never use that particular door!  I haven’t mastered the deadbolt on it!  Going in and out of the front door gives me more pleasure!

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Small Town Life


“Where have you been all my life, you spicy minx?”

Small town life is a charming, wondrous thing. Yes, there are the buggaboos, like the fact that there are No Quick Errands because even walking your dog, you run into people you know and you stop and you chat and things take twice as long as they normally would. But there are also sweet things, like walking your dog and running into people you know and stopping and chatting. It took me awhile to slow down to the “What’s the hurry?” Iowa pace.

Small town is being on a first name basis with the mayor and having him fix your car, or being out and about late one Monday morning and having a city worker pull over and say, “Ruthie, did you forget to put your garbage out?” (I did) “Well, put it on out, we’ll swing by later.”

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Moving into Hollyhock House


That’s what I remember about my first night here in this house. It was COLD. There was an odd cold snap that late September day, and with the house having stood empty for so long it would be unrealistic to expect everything to work right away with no tweaking whatsoever. Although I suspect part of my shivering may have been due to shock over what I’d done.

Still, having heat restored, both with the old ornate radiators that sounded like Jacob Marley’s ghost when they came back to life (and still do; there is much rattling and clanging involved with their warming, but they work so I don’t mind – now that I’m used to them) and the hot water heater serviced and functioning again, truly helped.


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