“It’s been a tough year so far,” #2 son remarked the other day, a propos of nothing. I looked inquiring, but he said that was all, he just had thought about that fact.

In some ways, he’s right. January was a pretty optimistic month, except for my husband’s decision to purchase a car, also known as the Family Impoverishment Project. February was The Month of Excessive Excitement. All of us took part in that. March was my Month of Workplace Drama, and other family members had their own exciting events. April, while a continuing workplace transition for me, has also been The Month of the Monstrous Virus. May will include visits from both my girls, #1 son’s graduation, and the transition to working from my home with kids in the house.

So, what with one thing and another, life chez fibermom has not been conducted Decently and In Order.

I am supposed to get up in the morning, make my husband’s coffee, unloading the dishwasher while it drips, and my own tea, take his coffee to him and update my xanga while drinking my tea. Then I do the laundry, pack healthy lunches, see my husband off to work, fix a healthy breakfast for myself and the kids, go to the gym, shower and dress, do some light housework, and get to work. After work, I make a healthy dinner, supervise the cleanup, attend the class or rehearsal or whatever of the evening, do some needlework, spend some time with my family, study, read for a bit, and go to sleep. On the weekends, I work on my writing assignments, sew, attend the occasional party, do housework and gardening and errands, spend time at church and with the family.

Even if, in the midst of those things, I have adventures, the framework keeps life pleasant and peaceful.

But there is a tendency, when life becomes too exciting or we are ill or work gets too urgent, to ignore that 4 framework. I have been getting up and diving into work immediately, stopping to make whatever self-indulgent breakfast the boys request (that pastry was very tasty, but I have a feeling that it includes saturated fats and simple carbohydrates) and having a random lunch in front of the computer. I quit working when the boys get home at 4:00 (or pretty soon afterwards, at least), but — having been ill — by then I am ready to flop onto a sofa with a book and a box of Kleenex, and possibly a plate of cookies, too. Dinner is anything fast that the boys won’t whine about, and there is no housework done in the evenings. Weekends have involved more working, and then a bit of lying around sniffling and whining.

Partygirl and I were talking recently about the fact that a well-conducted household can be ignored for a few days with no ill effects, and that is true. But you can’t be slapdash for months without consequences.

And The Empress and I both are afraid to go for our annual checkups for fear of what the lipids profile will reveal.

“I feel that my life is so stressful that, if I want a cheeseburger, I’m going to have a cheeseburger,” she said at the conference on Saturday. She had eaten a Krispy Kreme doughnut from the hospitality table.

“I haven’t felt well enough to argue about food with the boys,” I agreed. “Not that it’s their fault. Even if they bully me into making them waffles and sausage for breakfast, that doesn’t mean that I have to eat it. But I do.” I had eaten the Cheetos in the box lunch they had provided.

We are both intending to get back to the gym ASAP. Today, for me. I have also unloaded the dishwasher and done the laundry. I am going to work for only eight hours today, and then switch over and finish the encyclopedia entry. In fact, since I worked on Saturday, I may do the bare minimum of work today and take a little time to clean my house. Let’s face it, in order to have a pleasant life, you have to eat right, exercise, do your housework and whatever spiritual practices you favor, and then go to work and have adventures. Oh, and don’t forget the dental floss and sunscreen, either.

4 I have been knitting. Here is the Bijoux Blouse, wrinkled from having been stuffed into a bag and carried hither and yon, with one sleeve completed.

I have another conference on Friday, so it will likely be completed by the end of the month. It currently has that cotton yarn uneven hemline thing, but doesn’t frill too badly, so blocking my solve it. Or even just hanging it evenly. Or not stuffing it into bags in a crumpled heap. I think it is going to be the knitted equivalent of a sweatshirt, anyway, and I think I will like it a lot for days at the computer.

My Knitting the Classics project will not, I can pretty much guarantee, be finished on time. All other deadlines I plan to meet.

And my son was right that 2007 has been sort of challenging. We have all had some personal challenges, and that affects all the family members, as much as our group adventures have. But we also know that our lives — including the past four months — are, in comparison with those of many of our fellow human beings, peaceful and privileged and easy. Even when I’m whining, I remember to include a large measure of gratitude. That is right up there with doing the laundry and remembering sunscreen.