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Sunday, December 29, 2002

Because I was braced for another day of wind and rain, the sun probably seemed a little warmer than it really was today. The sky was mostly filled with clouds, but there was just enough blue to give me hope. I wasn't about to stay inside and work (or watch football) on an unexpectedly spring-like day.

It's been a few days since I've been able to go for a walk in the sunshine. I probably did more walking on the day of our wine tour, and then around the beach the next day, than in the rest of December put together. And you can probably throw in November as well. So even though I felt my legs tightening up early in my walk today, I kept going. It's not much, but it's a start. I just have to hope for another chance soon.

After I got home, I spent a couple of hours finding things to do that took me outside. I was going to leave the Christmas tree up for a few more days, but I undressed it and hauled it out to the driveway. On the next sunny day, I'll cut off the branches to fit into the recycle container. For some reason the local disposal company won't pick up whole trees.

While I could, I also worked around the yard a bit, mostly picking up some of the branches that the wind had blown into the garden. I found large pieces of the birch trees sticking haphazardly out of the low shrubbery. I'll cut all that debris up for the recycler as well.

The Christmas tree left behind a cleaning situation that forced me to open the box and try to assemble my new vacuum. Oh, the colorful language that ensued. I'm useless with hand tools, and I'm not all that good at reading instructions. I had to overcome both shortcomings as I tried to figure out what to stick where, and where the screws went.

It wasn't a pretty spectacle, and I'm stunned that I got it done at all, much less in a manner that somewhat resembles the picture on the box. I held off the tears of frustration long enough to find a slot for every tab, and then I did a very brave thing. I plugged it in.

And oh my, what a wonderful sensation to have all that power in my hands. This is a little Dust Devil, the kind they call "Featherlite," but it sucks up everything in its way. This is by far the most effective vacuum cleaner I've ever had, and it was well tested today. When you haven't vacuumed for a year, it's a good thing you're starting out with an empty bag.

It's like a whole new place here tonight. It's as if I've moved into a hotel suite. Not a five-star hotel, but not a fleabag either. One with maids, although not very good ones. There's floor room I haven't seen since I got the tree, and the carpet is the cleanest it's been since the second or third day I moved in here.

I didn't even realize what a weak and ineffectual machine my old vacuum was, until I saw what the new one could do. It almost inspires me to clean the rest of the house. I might even dust, some time in 2003. I smell a resolution in the air. (Or maybe that's something else.)

needles on carpet

After tree, before vacuum. Inspirational.

What I miss most about the tree are the colorful lights coming from that corner of the room. I'm thinking I need something like a lava lamp or a wave machine. Maybe it's time for the aquarium I've been promising myself since I moved in here.

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Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Sing Out
"I went through many awakenings that first year away from home, and one of them was discovering that there was a singer whose sensibility was both as fragile as a child's tears and as strong as a warrior's heart."

Two years ago: Can the Laughter
"I learned to take tiny, shuffling steps when walking in the dark."

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Showers wash all my cares away;
I wake up to a sunny day.