In an email I received from an extended family member, she remarked that she had "heard through the grapevine" that I was quite the "home-making whirling dervish." This person and I have a (distant but) fond enough relationship that I know that she was not trying to insult me. However I was curious whether she was complementing me or teasing me.
Here is the background information: I am known to hate cooking, and I do not have children. On the other hand, I do like home design, creating comfortable, attractive, and personalized surroundings for myself and anyone who might want help (the second, non-cooking, part I know about myself, but don't know if that would be something widely known or discussed by others...I would assume not).
This question is not something that has bothered me, but it has made me curious about the connotations/ slant of the description "whirling dervish" and that knowledge would help me decipher whether she was being jokingly sarcastic or actually letting me know people have said nice things about my "homemaking" abilities. Again, a silly situation, but an interesting language question.