I didn’t end up making any lists yesterday. I had thirty-two papers to grade, so it was unrealistic of me to imagine that I would.

I did clean the porch, though. It was a beautiful day, and #1 son needed my computer for his homework (not sure why — he has his own, but mine may be faster or something), so I got out there and scrubbed.

Here’s my before picture. Can you see the bike? The dirt? The cobwebs?  I don’t think I did a good job of showing you the absolute before-ness of my porch here.

I swept and scrubbed and put stuff away and here’s the after:

Once it was quite clean, I sat in that rocking chair and read about porches from a design perspective.

Mine is not, of course, a proper porch from the point of view of sitting out on the porch being welcoming, or sleeping out in the cool night air, or any other practical porch usage.

It is, as the Luptons point out that many porches from the late 20th century are, a vestigial porch.

I like it, and I do sit out here and read, but it’s too narrow for people to feel they can really treat it like a room.

However, it’s clean, which is what’s supposed to happen for HGP week 1. As I did the cleaning, I did some idle thinking about what might be nice to make for Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts for adults are, to my mind, very different from gifts for kids. Kids need to be given presents because they have no incomes and can’t buy themselves things. Presents for adults aren’t about meeting needs (or even wants) but about showing you care about people and giving them a happy surprise.

My family is on the edge of being a family of adults. While you have both grown-ups and kids in the family, you still have to treat the adults sort of like kids. You can’t give the little ones Easter baskets or Christmas stockings and not the big ones. So, since I have a lot of kids, there has been a long spell of maintaining childhood holiday customs for the sake of the younger ones.

My daughters are both self-supporting and don’t really need stuff given to them so much. My sons both require tuition and textbooks and have therefore been so expensive that there’s not likely to be much left for gifts for them.

So I’m thinking that this is very much the right year to return to handmade gifts. I’m going to look through my crafts books and search a bit online and see if I can find something amazing and special to make.

If I can quit working so much.

Which I might be able to do. I’m teaching, of course, and also have my eight regular clients for whom I work one to six hours a week, but at the moment I have no other billable projects.

That could change by noon, of course.

I have a dental appointment today. I’m supposed to get a crown. And then, Lostarts tells me, I’ll be good as new.

The temporary crown hurt quite a bit. I’ve had a variety of aches and pains lately. I think that if you’re over forty you don’t get to complain about those.

My kids might say that there’s not much point in complaining to me about aches and pains anyway. It’s the way I was brought up. When I was a kid, my mother had two explanations for all pains: growth (as in growing pains) and wickedness.

I have weird pains in my left arm sometimes. I do tell people about this, in hopes that someone will someday say, “I had that! and here’s what fixed it.” And then I also have a particular ache in my hip or upper thigh or someplace which I only get while scrubbing things. It must be psychosomatic. Or possibly wickedness.

Anyway, today is class, during which the bookkeeper is supposed to come and straighten out my accounting software for me, and then I’m going to the gym, and working for my Northerners, and then the dental appointment, and then tonight I have Master Chorale. A busy day.