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old stuff, new eyes

It is boggling my mind to realize I was blogging and uploading poems online nearly 20 years ago now. I’ve just figured out how to log into my old old Moveable Type blog (unfortunately it was long ago hacked and I can’t figure out how to get rid of the ad page that shows up on its main page, but the individual entries show up OK).

It’s also mind-boggling how much the world has changed in those almost-20 years. I linked to a poem from 2002 on a Ravelry post today and promptly had someone point out (kindly and gently) that while she loved aspects of said poem, my line “Like her female chromosomes, so surgery can remove the essence” could be hurtful to those whose female-gender identity has nothing to do with chromosomes. I have changed the line to refer to eye color instead, and to masks instead of surgery.

(And I know I said the world has changed, but I’m pretty sure it hasn’t – I do think there are more trans people than there once were only because it’s easier to recognize who you are when there’s already a vocabulary and concepts there, but clearly some people have alwyas been trans, and it’s more climate and perceptions that have changed rather than facts.)

On the plus side, now I’ve reacquainted myself with how to log in and edit my oldest entries, and reacquainted myself with another favorite from all those years ago.

House update: Things were going very fast, then not much happened last week – the contractors move their crews around to balance different projects’ needs. But the first floor is framed in, and the project manager told Ted they expect to have the second floor done this week.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

un homage au Notre Dame

Do you know the story about the man who wandered around a cathedral being built, asking each person what they were doing? The stone masons told him about cutting rocks to fit togehter so perfectly that they formed arches and flying buttresses; the scultors told about modeling allegories and saints; glassworkers spoke of telling stories in beautiful images that would teach churchgoers the stories they didn’t know how to read, and the woodworkers spoke of walls and screens, roofs and spires. Lastly he put the same question to an old woman sweeping away the dust and shavings of the day. “What am I doing?” she replied, leaning on her broom. “I’m building a cathedral to the glory of God”

That’s the faith it needs to build a cathedral that takes hundreds of years, but I don’t think it even matters whether you believe in God, only whether you are a good, decent and sane person. (You see, I am completely biasing my argument by ignoring those whose God is in their own cruel image, no better than a demon to punish those of whom they disapprove.) If you believe, then a God formed the universe whose workings and laws resulted in humanity, and it’s fitting to express our gratitude by creating whatever beauty we can muster in Their honor. If you don’t believe, then humans striving for goodness created the image of a God to reflect the best that they could find or imagine within themselves, and a cathedral is the physical expression of that striving.

(Again, I am simply omitting the Puritans and those who want a God only to be someone stronger and meaner than themselves who can punish their enemies. I don’t believe that kind of thinking can build a cathedral.)

There was and is beauty and truth in Notre Dame, even if the truth you find depends on which side you examine it from. It’s pure horror to see the spire fall, even if the bell towers were saved. I trust it will be rebuilt once again.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

“Progress” photos

This early in, it’s all about demolishing and excavating – building up might be some time away.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

Other stuff we’ve done this weekend

Here’s how much brush we’ve cleared:

Grill building (we bought this last week, before we knew our kitchen was going away- good thing it has a side burner!)

Sweater finishing and blocking – it’s still damp in these photos:

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

More remodeling photos

These show the temporary “kitchen” we’ve set up downstairs as well as where the upstairs one used to be, and the removed section of deck.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

Renovation wtfery

Last night we signed the contract and scanned and sent it to the general contractor (GC). However, we gave the key to the contractor once we had a verbal agreement with him, since it’s hard to know how often we’ll be able to get down here – we were here at the lake last week, as I wrote, and came back this weekend to finish clearing downed branches and clear up a few more. We got to the house tonight – I’ll be working from home tomorrow.

Then we walked inside ….. and found they had put down a paper mat from the front door all the way up the stairs, left a couple ladders down in the garage, knocked down the back deck where the kitchen will expand into that space, and packed up most of our kitchen …. into unlabeled boxes.

There was no part of the contract that said they’d do any packing for us – and I certainly don’t want to pay for it! We did tell them we needed advance notice for what needed to be packed by the, but wouldn’t you think they give us a rough schedule first? And maybe add a few notes to say what’s in which box?

This isn’t really a bad thing: it’s not like they’re invading the house we actually live in. And I’d rather have a contractor eager to get started than one that didn’t show up. Plus, given our previous difficulties in finding a contractor, we are going to be Very Positive in talking to them about this. But still … wtf??

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

house expansion – on the cusp

Very nearly ready to go! I got a call yesterday that the permit is complete, and and email that the contractor updated the contract per our comments and it’s ready for us to sign. We either need top print, sign, scan and email back, or else sign it in person when we’re there this weekend. Apparently it’s a week until the excavator can get there, then it’s time to break ground!

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

Before photos

I forgot to take photos before we cleared some stuff out of the garage; we removed kayak paddles and paraphernalia that were on the kayak rack, oars, and a windsurfing board and wood that had been stashed on that ceiling rack you can see in the photo of the rowing shell end of the garage. Otherwise, it is as-was this morning. There’s a dumbwaiter in the middle of the boat-side walk that is unusable at present because of the rowing shells; it would be useful for transporting groceries upstairs – if we could get a car on the garage.



And here is the kitchen. Beautiful cabinets and plenty of counter space, but nowhere to store food.


Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

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time for a redo!

Here we go! We have a general contractor (GC) lined up to do the Big Scary Remodel we’ve been discussing for years. This is a two story house addition for the lake house, of the garage and the kitchen above it. The hardest parts of this have been lining up the GC — they’ve all been crazy busy the last few years — and just making the decision to spend this much money. Assuming we stick to budget (ha!) it will cost just under what we paid for the entire townhouse we live in, and more than either of the other two houses we’ve owned (both bought before housing prices skyrocketed in the 2000s, though).

We are expanding the garage (it’s a tandem one and we’re lengthening it) because we have a bunch of boats in it (kayaks and rowing shells) and would like to get a car in too. Also Ted does his woodworking in there and has been getting space limited. Above it we are likewise expanding the kitchen, because the one we have now is nice to look at and nice to cook in, but has no place to store food. Also, though we have a great deck, there’s nowhere to sit inside and enjoy the lake view when the weather is too crappy to sit outside, so the expanded kitchen will include a breakfast area by the big windows. I think we’ll mostly end up heating here, rather than in the dining room. Ted (and his parents, when they or we are visiting) tend to linger over meals until I get tired of sitting at a table, so my goal here will be to find the most comfortable chairs I can. I like hanging out and talking, just not sitting upright at a table. Once everything is back in place after the remodel, assuming we aren’t impoverished, I may also get club chairs and a lower table to put in the great room area, which currently holds only a library table, plus two low bookshelves flanking a china cabinet. That area may be more comfortable for me to sit and read and knit on rainy or cold afternoons … and maybe I can lure people from the table to there after dinner.

It has been difficult, deciding to do this. There were cheaper alternatives to reach some of our goals: we could turn the great room into a seating area by just buying furniture (which I will probably do anyway, as mentioned above), and turning a niche in the dining room into a small pantry. But this is the house we plan to move into as soon as we retire and live there until we can’t anymore, in addition to spending weekends there in the nearer term. I think we will get a lot of pleasure out of these additions. I’ll get a second oven for holiday meal cooking and a better stove. The current kitchen only allows either a cabinet-depth or a quite small fridge, so this will let us have a normal one. We’ll replace the formica counters with something prettier.

I am liking working with this contractor too; we wanted a carriage door into the garage, because an overhead door cuts into the boat storage space, but those are very expensive so we’d settled on a roll-up door. He’s found us a wood roll-up door, which should look a lot better than a metal one while still not taking up too much overhead space. He’s also found that it’s possible to match the beautiful wood flooring we currently have in the kitchen and great room – we hadn’t thought that was doable, so we were going to go with tile. I think the wood will feel better underfoot, be softer for when we drop things, and give a warmer look to the space, which is important on gray Oregon days.

I will try to get some good as-is photos when we’re there this weekend, so I can document the whole process. Now, off to draft the most tactful email I can to the contractor we didn’t pick.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

I originally wrote the following as a comment on Tor.com, but realized they might not appreciate a paean to a Disney/Hyperion author!

One thing I have really enjoyed in Rick Riordan’s books is watching how each new series takes a step forward in diversity. (I think his various demigod training camps fit the boarding school trope fairly well.) The first Percy Jackson book focused on a cis/het white guy, and though there were characters of color, their skintones didn’t really seem to influence their experiences. But then the Kane Chronicles split the POV between a biracial sister and brother pair; the Heroes of Olympus series included a canonically gay major character and the POV is split between *six* characters, male and female, whose various ethnicities have shaped their characters; the Magnus Chase books have a homeless kid and a literally genderfluid character, and the Trials of Apollo has a bisexual MC (who implies that all gods are bisexual because eternity is too long to limit yourself!).

All of this in MG books, without any romance progressing further than a kiss. (Well, maybe some of Apollo’s, but those are only mentioned in passing and occur deep in his past, not in present events.)

Further, he’s now using his celebrity to publish books in other mythologies, by authors who are part of those cultures. I have great respect for Riordan, for his openness to learning and growing and for his willingness to use his privilege to smooth the way for others. (I do wish he’d write and publish more, but given that I’ve just listed five series of 3-5 books all written in about 15 years, I suspect he’s just tired!)

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

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