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Friends and readers,

The weather outside my window not far from the central of Old Town Alexandria. For the rain it raineth every day. It's raining very hard and steadily. It's dank, chilled out there. A little while ago I heard a miserable cat cry out; I looked to see if it was one of my neighbor's cats but could not see the poor creature or I might've been tempted to let it in. Here in Alexandria we do have two shelters for the homeless so there is somewhere for people to go. No winds to speak of as yet. As will be seen, we still have power and all have had breakfast.  We are a bit low on milk; doubtless our fault as we didn't go out yesterday to join any long lines in any stores.  I know the winds could pick up at any time.

I've come back with milk and 4 cans of Campbell's soups (2 tomato, and 2 french onion). I called the landscape man and it maybe he won't make it tomorrow. If so. we'll be away on Thursday-Saturday, so Phase 2 of House Improvements must begin next Monday.

I've not written in a while. This is to say we've achieved a lot now. (for previous diary entries see Tales of Upstairs Downstairs Resumes.)  The admiral and I together heaved the huge bookcase out of my small room. Luckily it's just short enough to go under thresholds everywhere in our house. We do have high ceilings. Then the work was up the narrow ladder. My problem was I had to hold one edge with my hands as I went up each step and I kept having my knee get caught, squeezed below where the bookcase lent on me and was pushed up against the ceiling. But we managed, and got past the height where we turned it and pushed it one big push and into the attic it went.

FoldingLadderinHallblog
Yes that's a Chardin print (music and music books); below it a print of an 18th century French salon like scene.

I don't have any before pictures only after, so gentle friend you might not appreciate how much better one-fourth of the attic now looks:

AtticHalfWaythereblog
It's got a lot to go, but I've retrieved, taken back 1/4 of the space in that area, the front half of the front half. Behind the bookcases is insulation on both sides for the whole house. Yes that's Caroline's left over wedding things under the window. Yvette's last bike. Printer must wait until Easter to be thrown out and blonde round table and chair not yet ready. No danger of fire here because there is no electricity!

So much for upstairs. For four days I've been re-arranging books downstairs. I've a new section for my Arthuriana books, for gothic books, for books on historical fiction, movie books, art books.  I got rid of a lot of old obsolete language-learning books. But I've not taken any pictures of downstairs except the Admiral's preparation for the coming hurricane:

FireplaceSetUpforWoodFireFacebook
One winter in the 1990s when we were without power for a couple of days and ice and snow kept us from going far to get to a restaurant (cars could slide), the Admiral scrambled eggs for us on that fire using a frypan and a kind of stand he homemade out of some iron stuff we had in the attic at the time.

As for my room, you probably again won't appreciate how roomy and airy it's become because you didn't see it before. This is only after. But I am cheered:

MyRoomFromDoorblog
The books against the wall are my Austen books,one desk is mine and the other the Admiral's desk (in a sad state but he likes it). and a library table against his. You can glimpse some of my favorite scotch-taped up pictures just now above my desk, my cmputer. There's Yvette but Caroline's picture is too tiny (in a wedding dress). Helen Mirren in a fantastic sweeping along dark orange gown, all insolence. A French pastoral scene.

MyRoomSomeofMyWallPicturesblog
All my Trollope books and another wall of pictures. Ronald Colman in Lost Horizon obscured but not Clark Gable looking quizzical, drinkging away, smoking, gambling. This is the scene in the fire house before just before Scarlett comes in dressed in her mother's green velvet curtains, desperate for money. A few others. The new Poldarks, some Pallisers, favorite 18th century watercolors, a Canaletto, and Edward Petherbridge as Lord Peter. Some supplies. My friend, my fan. My Italian heater obscured.

MyRoomLookingatthedoorblog
My room looking at the door.

My house does not at all resemble a magazine. If it did, I wouldn't like it. I don't want to be uncomfortable in my space. I disliked the year the Admiral joined a group and brought home strange fresh vegetables and fruit each Sunday. I didn't know what they were, much less how to cook them. I didn't like being intimidated by my food, so he dropped the membership.

And now to work some more on the area outside my room. Fixing, cleaning, re-arranging. Books do furnish a room. The delight of this is I get to see what books I have. I am reminded of so many I bought myself and never got near. Now I'm hoping to at last.

Sylvia

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