11 I was practicing The Dark Art yesterday, as well as writing (Native American subunit and some Thanksgiving and/or critical thinking posts, since you asked), so there came a point when I had to get up and move around.

Accordingly, I went for a walk on this trail.

It is part of our town’s Greenways program, which provides safe, paved walking and biking trails for us all.

There was a fool — ahem, a fellow on a motor scooter on it. I don’t know what was wrong with him.

Apart from that, it was lovely. It is like fall out now, with quite a bit of color and some cold and everything.11

I got a lot of thinking done. I like to rehearse my workshops and presentations as I walk. My lesson plans, too. I don’t know whether I actually speak as I do this or not, but it is not as much of an issue as it used to be. Nowadays, people will think that you have a bluetooth device if they see you apparently talking to yourself. They will not think that you are deranged.

I tell myself this, at least.

It seems to me that I think better while walking.

I also have new recipes to practice. Not much of that, because I have holiday baking to do, but I still have to cook two or three meals every day, so I might as well get some practice in. I am working up some clever new 11themes for January cooking shows, and envisioning how to fit the new recipes into the presentation. I am trying not to get too engaged in the new ones, since I still have a few of the old ones to do, but I do like to think ahead and be prepared.

And, let us be honest, The Dark Art has its moments of extreme tedium. Its moments, or its hours. It depends how long you do it before you take a break. There are those moments of triumph (I am so close to the next level on my backlinks page!) but then there are all those nearly identical emails and online forms and lists and numbers and things.

I needed a mental as well as a physical break.11

When I got home, there were packages, which is always cool. Extremely snazzy new cleaning supplies, for one thing. See the picture at right.

Yes, this stuff is expensive. However, there were several factors  involved in my decision:

  • The stainless steel pan which I have to take and show to people, and in which I also cook things every day, requires stainless steel cleaner to keep it looking like a credit to its name, and stainless steel cleaner is not available locally. This is doubtless because polishing  stainless steel is the kind of thing a woman only does when she has to brandish the pan aloft and pass it around and stuff like that. But you know how pans get a bit grubby and used-looking and lose their bling-like nature after you fricassee things in them for a few weeks? So I had to.
  • Once I had to order the special cleaner, I had to buy something else to justify the shipping. The French pop-up sponges are only available locally in $14.98 packages at Williams-Sonoma, and while I love French pop-up sponges, I do not love them that much. The place where I bought these offers a package that comes to $1 a sponge. So they were a bargain, and the all-purpose cleaner made the shipping seem worthwhile. Actually, the all-purpose cleaner is the concentrated kind you mix with water by the capful, so it may also turn out to be a bargain.
  • I am expecting, via Amazon Vine (they send me free stuff, which may be the most amusing way I have been paid for my writing skills, and works out pretty well per-word, too), some laundry soap that goes with this stuff. I really needed to ensure that my entire house would be herb and wood scented, I am sure you agree.
  • I am determined to clean my house, but lacking in the motivation to do so. On the HGP, we clean a room thoroughly, and then it is supposed to stay that way till the holidays, but at my house the rooms do not stay clean. I once read, in a magazine, a list of tasks involved in cleaning your entire home in 30 minutes. I wrote to the magazine in question, respectfully suggesting that they had left things out. Where, I wanted to know, was the part about picking up all the gym shoes and weights? Where the instructions to sweep and vacuum the dog hair several times a day? Where was there any mention of eight drinking vessels per child, distributed evenly throughout the house? They thanked me for my concern. This is also what Southern Living did when I protested their insane suggestion to shelve books with the spines toward the wall. I don’t write such letters very often, obviously. Anyway, I think that really fancy cleaning supplies will make me  leap with vigor into my planned Saturday cleaning day.

As a rule of thumb, I think that anything you do for a good reason has — and needs — only one reason. When you have a whole string, they are excuses. However, the boys and I scrubbed the kitchen thoroughly last night and it is nice and clean and herbal-smelling.

The two of them kept attacking one another. They are both bigger than I am, and their roughhousing seems as 11though it could actually lead to damage — either to them or to one another. True, they were laughing maniacally the whole time, but I really didn’t feel that it added to the pleasure of the undertaking. #1 daughter assures me that — at least in the Navy — guys keep this up well into their 20s. Actually, the handbook from my husband’s workplace specifies that there should be “no horseplay” on the factory floor, and I had always laughed about that. Apparently, it is a necessary warning, since they employ males.

I’m not usually home for this stuff. I’m gone most evenings, so I had not realized that the daily cleaning of the kitchen had become an opportunity for catch-as-catch-can wrestling. We then watched “The Office” together, but I did not do any knitting or even cut out a garment for my SWAP. Maybe this weekend.

Today I will be at the store, so there will be no walks and probably not much writing, either. One more gratuitous scenery photo, then, and I am off to do some of that writing before I leave.