Knit up the ravelled sleave of writers’ cares

Photo of a loaded canoe heading toward the end of a lake or river. Text: The rapids are coming, the adventure continues, Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt


I was just napping.

Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care

Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act III, Scene 2

where, apparently, sleave is correct, because:

Macbeth wasn’t talking about the arm of a garment; it wouldn’t really make sense. He was talking about a tangled skein, of silk or other material, which makes perfect sense. And for that, the spelling — which the original author used, correctly – is “sleave.”


The Thesaurus on my copy of Scrivener provides:

unravel verb

1 he unraveled the strands: untangle, disentangle, separate out, unwind, untwist, unsnarl, unthread. ANTONYMS entangle.

2 detectives are trying to unravel the mystery: solve, resolve, clear up, puzzle out, unscramble, get to the bottom of, explain, clarify, make head(s) or tail(s) of; figure out, dope out. ANTONYMS complicate.

3 society is starting to unravel: fall apart, fail, collapse, go wrong, deteriorate, go downhill, fray. ANTONYMS succeed.

pick your favorite for my life right now.

I don’t want you all to think I’ve gone dark.

I’m really just OVERWHELMED (I’ve talked about the two reasons Alan Lakein gives in his book How to get control of your time and your life for procrastinating on tasks; the other is UNPLEASANT). Overwhelmed is better; it yields to lists, and small tasks getting started and a whole slew of other relatively easy tasks; Unpleasant tasks need severe shock tactics some times.

Part of that reason (for being behind on blogging) is that whenever there is the smallest chance that I won’t be interrupted after I corral my brain and get it ready to work, I go to the next step in the next scene in Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD, which is slowly coming along (I’m in India right now!), because that is always my first priority, and the reason I initiated this whole move-to-California in the first place.

I just woke up from the weirdest – but most logical – dream

In my dream, we (which turned out to be my husband and I, not my parents and I) were redoing the flooring in the house in Lindavista, Mexico City (I haven’t lived there since 1969, and was married out of that house in 1975, after which my parents sold it and moved to the country club, a house I only got to visit, not live in).

We are, however, using the blue tile that we’re using for our final (until we need Assisted Living) apartment here at the retirement community in Davis, but possibly only the same color dark blue tile, and the one we’re putting into Lindavista’s kitchen and dining room is linoleum, not ceramic – but linoleum dark blue tile was what we had in the house we occupied in Hamilton, NJ, not in Mexico.

In other words, the brain is trying to make sense of all this upheaval in living places.

To make it weirder, after I find Bill, and tell him that the tile man wants to know where the perestero is, I go off to the back of the house somewhere, and am using the little tea table that here sits between our TV-watching chairs, because it is the perfect place and size for me doing handstands (I keep trying and adjusting my position, each time getting a little higher) – and it feels so good.

This is all at the tail end (tale end?) of a dream

which was part of a 45 minute nap (on the timer), but stretched to 1.5 hours. Because I am so tired.

Yesterday, I literally fought with my brain, sitting in the dining lounge (because that was the only place I could find a clear table) with everything I needed to make scaled floor plan of the place we’re moving to (the longed-for two-bedroom, two-bath) to go with the scale cutouts of all the furniture we brought with us, so that I can tell the movers where everything goes. The brain gave me no help at all.

Because, after more than 1.5 months of accepting the offer of the 2-BR, 2-BA, and me thinking they could never get it finished at this rate before the end of February, so it would be okay to go visit our son in Colorado early in Feb., they suddenly got a move on (haha), and gave us a date of Feb. first.

Which is a Friday. They said we probably shouldn’t move on a Friday, as then the maintenance people here would not be available over the weekend to do such things as hook up the internet and washer/dryer (no, not to each other, but maybe? I hadn’t thought about the possibility until I just typed it).

During the nap, I have told myself to listen for either the phone or the iPhone because I’m waiting for the call back from the movers.

So back to the perestero:

I told the tile guy in that Mexico part of the dream that my dad had let me help lay tile with the blue stuff, though I know that the only time I may have ‘helped’ Daddy lay tile was when we were living in Whittier, and I was five, and I was fascinated how the little tile hexagons were attached on the back by a mesh, and how he was soaking them in a bucket to get the paper backing off. That would have been around 1955. He was, I believe, tiling the shower in the second bathroom of that little house (yup, two bedrooms).

By the way, even though ‘perestero’ sounds like Spanish, and you should pronounce it that way (because that’s the way it was in the dream), it is no Spanish word I ever heard, so I haven’t the faintest idea where it came from. Maybe my sisters will know, if they  read this!

And back to the move

(and here you thought I never would!)

The mover guy comes on Monday at 2pm, January twenty-eighth, to discuss a move I’m hoping will happen Feb. 5,6, or 7 – less than a week later.

We have rescheduled middle child for the last weekend of February, whether we’re unpacked at ALL by then, because that’s the whole point of the CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) concept – you can walk away whenever you like without worrying about plants, house, yard, mail – anything – without coming home to a disaster.

Assuming we can find enough underwear for a weekend, and some of our cold-weather clothes – I’ve been wearing the same pair of sandals almost every day since Aug. 28th, 2018 – as Colorado may have cold and snow. Or may not.

The only thing that will hold up that visit is the government shutdown, and I refuse to tackle that right now (or ever; it’s above my pay grade).

My apologies for the dark blog

Although I must confess that the main reason you’re getting this is that the dream required recording, and I thought it might entertain my patient and reliable readers.

And whoever is reading a copy of PURGATORY in KU: could you please finish? You started Jan. 28th, and I’m on tenterhooks, because right now, you’re the only person I know for sure is reading it. And a review would be lovely if, rather than abandoning it, you are merely taking your time (there was an initial burst of pages over four days, then a gap, and then another burst, and then nothing for a couple of days…).

I would really like to think that, after I get back to writing, there are lovely somebodies waiting for the results.

And how are you?

17 thoughts on “Knit up the ravelled sleave of writers’ cares

  1. Silvia Writes

    Well, I see we’re all overwhelmed these days and having trouble writing, so I feel I’m in great company. 🙂 Have fun decorating and moving and traveling. Perestro, took me to perestroika, which is something else entirely and not Spanish. Sign I need more coffee, or more sleep. Well, it’s Monday, I’ll just blame it on that. 🙂 Great post, Alicia.


  2. Alice Audrey

    Wait. Even YOU don’t know what perestero means? And here I was trying to google it. lol,

    I didn’t think you would be completely settled by now, but somehow I thought at least your new living space would be ready for you. I mean, when I move the main shifting of possessions generally takes a few days. Then it will take weeks to find places for everything. It kind of trails off with and includes swapping places for things like dishes and pans. I’ve been in my present home for years, and still don’t have a good place to keep the vacuum cleaner.

    I’m really glad you found my link. I rely on comments to tell me when someone has a new post.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Hehe on perestero. No. Apparently my subconscious invented it. Sounds like a city in Italy, or – a Mexican tile-cutting tool.

      I try not to lose my online friends, but I’m juggling an awful lot of plates right now!


  3. Janna G. Noelle

    “Perestero” looks like a legitimate Spanish word; I was ready to go look it up. Well done! I had to make up a ton of Norman and Old English place names for my WIP and this is the effect I was always going for: where native speakers can do literal translations of them while those who don’t speak the language but know the look of it would think it a real word. I’m glad you have your moving date at last. Wishing you well with that!


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Thank you. I’m sort of paralyzed right now, and the whole week is full of required meetings, but the steps are going forward willy-nilly, and we will end up moved, and wondering what happened.

      I take no credit for the word! But I just googled it – and nothing came up. I’ll save it for a place name or something.

      Do you have that kind of dreams? Where you have to write things down and record them before they disappear? Too many vanish because I have to get up!

      Writing is fun. Other people don’t get these little side pleasures.

      I’m no linguist, but it’s fun to see where amateur status takes me.


  4. joey

    I think you made up a word. Completely new word. With pere in there, father -(French) – and estera, meaning mat (Spanish) — father mat. Quite good, linguistically.
    I am glad you will travel and so happy you don’t have to worry about the details. May you find plenty of clean skivvies 🙂


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author


      Dear husband did his laundry yesterday, and threw in a few of my things, so we’re good for a while. The new place will have its own W/D – small and a stacked set, but a lot better for me for small loads on the spot – so he won’t have to do that for me for a while.

      I’m quite excited about that. Plus I can run bathing suits through a quick cycle that’s better than just wringing them out by the pool – they’ll last longer.

      I just keep hoping nothing major comes across life and cuts me off at the knees – but that’s not up to me, and I can’t spend time worrying about it: I have a move to coordinate. Then I’ll find someone to serve as hands and feet and help me put at least my stuff away in a permanent arrangement.

      I like that: permanent. You won’t have that for a while, not with offspring at home, but we’ve been at this a long time, and ours our fledged (last one almost), and are perfectly competent adults. Youngest even got renter insurance before we did!

      Just keep praying.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. marianallen

    I don’t know how lovely I am, but YOU KNOW I’m waiting eagerly! “Perestero” is a lovely word, even if it means nothing. You’ll have to invent something for it to mean. Perestero means dark blue tile that you walk on. No other color tile, no other dark blue thing, no other placement of tile. How’s that? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      My brain was so SURE.

      I’m so looking forward to not having to interrupt forward progress – I never thought it would take this long to change my living situation! My apologies for leaving you and the Patreon hanging – that’s one of my main worries! It’s MY #1 priority, using my time to keep writing this story, but it had literally gotten untenable to stay in NJ. Please pray!

      I don’t know what perestero will turn out to be – maybe you’re right, maybe something else will come to me in a dream, maybe there already IS something with that name. I wish I could ask my Dad – his vocabulary in Spanish, especially in practical engineering things, was awesome.


      1. marianallen

        Don’t you worry about the Patreon! Take that right out of the worry pile. You concentrate on getting comfortable and working on the book. I don’t need sneak peeks. I’d rather have the whole book. hugs



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