Another Monday

Monday.  The first day of another working week.  A fresh start.  A new day.

Today, I am battling the effects of a couple of new medications.  All I want to do is sleep.

This could be a side effect that will eventually go away or it could be a sign that the new anti-anxiety med is working and I just need to adjust to not being in a perpetual state of anxiety.  This feeling could actually be “normal”.   Maybe I’m just relaxed.  It feels like I’m moving in slow motion.  When you’re not “normal”, it’s hard to know.  I guess time will tell.

I do know that the words are not flowing well today.  That could be the meds or it could mean that there just nothing much interesting to write about.  I am working on developing better habits though, so I think I shall write anyway. If I miss one day, it tends to lead to missing two…and then weeks have gone by.

I’m starting to realize that developing those habits and creating a routine is an important part of living an intentional life.  It’s hard to be intentional when there is no plan.  This is an obvious realization, I know…a true slap the forehead, duh moment.  Better late than never, right?  At least I finally figured it out and now I can start applying it to my life.

I’ve “played” with the idea of planning out things before.  I’ve set up cleaning schedules and errand days, and written out menus.  I’ve spent hours on developing the routines and then dedicated about the same amount of hours executing them.  They never became habits.  Just dreams that never became reality.

So, I’m rethinking habits.  And writing down some plans.  And not trying to implement them all at once.

So, today…

There is a plan for maintaining the house so it is more of a home.  Today is “living room day”.  I’m not going to try and clean the whole house and recover from the weekend.  I’m just going to clean the living room.  Then I’ll try to pick up as we go through the week.  And clean it again next Monday.

I’ve spent some time figuring out the mess that is our budget and am almost ready to start paying down the debt again.  Life got so crazy that all I could do was try and keep up with the monthly bills.  Time once again to work on being debt-free.

A huge load of donations is waiting by the door to be delivered to the thrift store tomorrow.  Much of the pile is wedding stuff.  There is a bit of household clutter mixed in. The hallway is passable again!   0227171315

Speedy the dog is not being donated!  Of the four canines, he is the good dog right now.  He just walks around wagging his tail and waiting for someone to pay attention to him.  The only time he barks is when another dog has taken the bed he believes to be his or when he has to wait in line for dinner.

Two projects are active in the studio and two more canvasses have prep coats on them waiting for inspiration.  Making a habit of spending time in the studio is a priority.

 

Just works in progress.  Not very interesting so far.  The textile project gets worked on while watching t.v. My sister comes over several evenings a week and we watch British mysteries.  The canvas is slowly coming to life.  I believe a bird is going into the little box in the lower right corner.  Maybe a window or a door.  Not sure yet.

This week.  A new week.  I’m hoping it will be slow and slightly boring…just building routines and habits.

This month has been full of “firsts”:

  • my first child getting married (which caused all of the following)
  • my first manicure
  • my first time getting my hair “done” (something more than a haircut)
  • my first time having my make-up done (I don’t even own any, not even mascara)
  • my first bra-fitting (that’s actually a funny story for another time)
  • seven trips to the mall (not my first trip, but last time I remember going was almost 9 years ago)

Yep, I think it’s a good week to have a quiet week.  Here’s hoping.

May your week also be filled with only good things!

 

 

 

Radljost

Radljost (noun, Icelandic) enough light to find your way by

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It would seem that I am raising a pretty smart kiddo.

Last night she was my “radljost”.

She often is.

This was her response when I commented that I was old…when I felt old and tired and depressed.  She said it out loud in the car and I made her write it down so I could keep it always and remember it.

I have made it this far.  Some days that wouldn’t seem like much of an accomplishment. Last night it was a struggle.

And then simple words said in love…radljost.

I want to remember what she said because it is so true.  It was the perfect thing to say and exactly what I needed to hear.

She didn’t try to tell me that I wasn’t old.  She’s 13.  I’m 55.  In her eyes, I am old.  And based on my family history, I am well past middle age.  I am unlikely to live to be 110.

She was honestly optimistic…Here are the facts.  Be grateful for what you’ve got.  Move on.

Today is a better day.

I slept well.

It is payday.

I get to teach art.

The problems of yesterday are still with me, but I’ve made it this far and have hope to keep on going.

I am not going to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.

The journey is worthwhile and all the better for the loved ones that I get to travel with.

 

 

 

f life lately…

 

Lost

I sit in the doctor’s office and tell her about my issues with my vision and make excuses for why I haven’t come in sooner to explore the possible medical issues like I was supposed to.

She says, “You are here now.”

I sit in the doctor’s office and list the stressful events of the past six months and then try to apologize for why I haven’t handled things better.

She says, “You are obviously under a great deal of stress. Let’s work on fixing that.”

I sit in the doctor’s office and cry because I feel lost and wonder where I went wrong and when I lost control of everything.

She asks, “When were you in control?”

Now, I’ve done lab work, have new prescriptions and an order for a MRI of my brain.

That will all be helpful and will give us some new information and possibly provide some answers, and maybe even fix some things that need fixing.

I sit at this computer and hesitate to write because it doesn’t seem that I have anything worth saying anymore and I can’t imagine that any worthwhile words will come.

It seems that I have reached a point somewhat near the bottom where it is  dark and hope seems difficult to see from where I sit.

I am lost.

Tick Tock.

Although this line of prose appears directly below the words “I am lost”, a considerable amount of time has passed before this line was typed.

A copious whirlwind of thoughts are churning in my brain, but it is not so easy to sort out cohesive and coherent ones to share.

It’s kind of messy up there in my head right now.

It seems that I should write even though I don’t know that I have anything to say.

Having started this blog, I feel that I should stick with it.

Worrying about the reception of my words seems to be a dangerous path to venture down.

My writing has taken on a life of its own and reaches a diverse audience that I could not have anticipated, and in fact, do not even attempt to understand.

I have to believe that writing today is the thing to do.

If I am lost today, then maybe someone else is also.

I know that our stories are important.

Our voices connect us and keep us from feeling alone.

When we are lost, the words of others can help us find our way again.

And despite the somewhat wandering and depressed tone of this post today…

in the words often shared by an important person in my life,

“Be not afraid”.

I have been in the dark before.

I have been lost before.

Life has ups and downs.

Mountains and valleys.

The important thing is to keep walking.

You can’t stay in one place.

That is not living.

 

 

For now, I can quit making lists of what needs to be done.

That is not helpful.

It is not time to catch up on all that is undone.

That is the past.

It is time to seek that which is ahead of me.

To search for the things in the light…

Love and laughter and forgiveness and hope.

 

 

Advice for What It’s Worth…

There is no such thing as a simple wedding…

Which makes sense because there is no such thing as a simple life (which doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to work towards simplicity…I believe it’s called living in hopefulness)

Simple and small weddings turn into large and complicated weddings because life tends to do the same as we go about living it.

Who to invite, location, decorations, registries, Pinterest don’t get me started on this topic), food, drinks, showers, transportation, and the list goes on and on.

Oh, did I mention the lists?  List after list of things to do and buy and organize and plan for…lots and lots of lists.

And all of this is mixed into a daily life that doesn’t always get the memo that something new is happening.

For what it’s worth, here is some advice based on what I’ve learned from our wedding.

Do not, under any circumstances, spend three weeks out of the month before the wedding with the flu, allergies, another virus and a relapse of the flu.  You will try to soldier on, but end up spending hours in a fog losing every list and forgetting everything that everyone else thinks you are doing.

Being ill will result in you forgetting important things like the fact that people will be staying in your home and will need to eat meals.  The house will not be cleaned and food will not be planned.  Realizing that you forgot this fact just hours before the guests arrive will be a humbling experience to say the least.

Next, do not head out to the non-rehearsal dinner on a limited amount of sleep and leave the wedding cakes securely wrapped in saran-wrap in the center of the very tall kitchen island.

When you return home after a few glasses of wine, you will hear your oldest daughter asking from the kitchen, “Where are the cakes?”

You will answer, “On the kitchen counter wrapped in saran wrap where you left them.”

The cakes will not be there…or anywhere else that you search in your sleep-deprived state.  You will search the oven, the microwave, the top of the closet, the laundry room, the bathroom and other ridiculous places before your husband thinks to go look under the ramp in the back yard.

Sure enough, there you will find the cardboard circles and the saran wrap, but no cakes. Even under intense interrogation, none of the dogs in the house will confess, or even explain, how they gained access to the cakes.

At midnight the night before the wedding, your husband will travel the 45 minutes to and from the grocery store to get more cake mix.

I would like to tell you that it is possible to handle this situation with grace and patience, or even with humor.  I don’t know if it is possible.  I do know that we did not.

And do not waste time lamenting the projects you did not get done.  The signs that were unpainted and the decorations forgotten at the house.  And by the way, no matter how much you plan, your errand runners will make the trip back to the house many, many times.

If you forget the marriage license, for example, someone can always kindly volunteer to run it to the pastor’s house the next week.  Not that I would ever do something like that.

And most importantly, on the day of the wedding, when your daughter walks down the pathway with her beloved, just be in the moment.

Realize how beautiful she is and how happy she looks.

Know that it was all worth it.

And don’t worry about the fact that the Kleenex you are opening and using still has the clearance tag attached to the back of it.

The little stuff doesn’t matter.

It never does.

 

 

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Yesterday’s post was a bit sappy and melodramatic.

Not apologizing.  Yesterday was what yesterday was.  Some days are overwhelming and emotional and sad.  It’s okay to visit those days.  Just not a good place to live.

Today, is a new day and I am definitely in a better frame of mind.

After writing yesterday, I decided to ignore the post-wedding disaster that is my house and re-arrange the living room instead.

Because that’s what any rational person would do, right?

Let’s ignore the multitude of boxes full of unwashed tablecloths, linens, cake plates, serving dishes, candles and candle holders, vases and I don’t remember what else.

Let’s not look at the dirty dishes sitting for more days than I care to share, or the fridge that is holding leftovers slightly more recent than Thanksgiving (hopefully).

Who cares that the laundry pile on the floor of the laundry room is almost too high for the aging Basset Hound to climb over?

Does it really matter that I can’t remember the last time I swept (much less mopped), or balanced the checkbook, or anything else required to maintain a household.

My house has reached a whole new level of untidiness.

It doesn’t help that I was sick for three of the four weeks before the wedding.

There’s a whole lot of stuff that needs to be done.

But…I decided to rearrange the living room.

And it turned out to be a good thing.

There is one room in the house that is together…orderly, decluttered and peaceful.   A sanctuary in the midst of chaos.

And I needed that space.

Today, I have tackled the laundry and dishes.  The dogs can get to the doggie door.  The mortgage is paid.  A sofa and ottoman have been decluttered.

I feel like everything is going to be alright.

That’s a good feeling to have.

There is still lots and lots of wedding stuff to deal with.

There are six boxes of stuff waiting to go to the thrift store.

And there is still “life stuff” happening that is cause for concern.

But I’m good.

Life is good.

And I am looking forward to tomorrow.

hello

today’s post will be brought to you in lower-case letters…not to offend the grammatically correct or because i am too tired to use the shift key, but because i feel very quiet today…as if life should be done in a whisper.  and so it shall be.

since the first of august last year, lots of stuff has been happening.  intense stuff.  life threatening and life changing stuff.

my three adult children have been doing some serious “adulting” and, as their mom i have been cheering, crying, hoping, fearing and mostly watching.  no matter how old they get, they are always and forever the small lives that were entrusted to me so many years ago.

there was the wedding to plan

and classes to teach

and medical issues to deal with

and a sister to support

and a marriage to sustain

decisions to make

hugs to be given

advice to be offered

words not to be said

and a cluttered house to battle

and now life has slowed enough that i am realizing all that has been happening and i feel overwhelmed.

i am going to live in the moments for a bit and feel all the emotions that the last few months have served up.

i was too busy for a while and just kept going…not really paying enough attention to it all.

life has slowed

but not stopped.

there is still a major life decision looming…but it is not mine to make.  i am not in control of it.  it is hard to know that something is the right thing for someone to do but to want to hold on and stop it at the same time.  the unknown is scary.  don’t run out into the street, don’t touch the stove, don’t talk to strangers, do your homework, make good choices…don’t grow up.

fly away…

be happy.

be brave.

be safe.

at the wedding when my youngest was standing up as one of her sister’s bridesmaids, i suddenly realized that she, too, is grown up.

a young lady

no longer a child.

how did the time pass so quickly when at times i thought it would never end?

did i do what i needed to do?

are they ready?

are they going to be safe

and happy?

my heart is so full

of pride

and awe at who they are and are becoming…

and of fear for what they are facing

and will face

and i just want them to be little again

but they need to fly out there

and use their talents and gifts and dreams

to change the world

they certainly changed me

and my heart goes with them

i

 

 

hope

Happenstance

I wrote some days ago about realizing that the journey I was on was not progressing as well as I would like

…about coming across some journals from years ago in which I expressed frustration with circumstances that are relatively unchanged today

…that the methods I was using didn’t appear to be very effective

…I’m still decluttering, and trying to find time for things I want to do, and attempting to maintain a simpler and cleaner home

…change has happened, but not as much as I would like

I wrote that there needed to be a new plan, but I had no idea what it might be.

I was frustrated.

I was hopeful.

I was anxious.

 

Then, by happenstance. I downloaded the game, gin rummy, onto my phone.

I’ve never been good at gin.  I just thought it might be a good distraction, and hey…it was free.

Do you play gin?  It’s pretty simple in theory.  You have a limited number of cards and need to form melds (sets) before your opponent goes out or you get stuck with points. I’m not going to try to explain the whole game…the important part to understand as far as this post goes, is to know that getting rid of “deadwood” is the key to winning.

The game I downloaded has a range of opponents for you to challenge.  They are ranked in skill from not very good to pretty much unbeatable.

When I started I couldn’t beat any of them.

I played anyway.

Then, I actually went and read all of the instructions just to make sure I understood what I was supposed to be doing.

I still lost a lot, but not quite as much.  I started beating the worst player every once in a while.

I started watching what the best players were doing.

I realized that I was playing the same way I had always played…trying to put together the same type of hand over and over again.

I kept losing.

Sound familiar?

Sound like the way I’ve been working on my house?

That’s what I started thinking.

I started discarding cards…ruthlessly.

I stopped saving cards that would make melds that I wanted to make

…and started saving cards that could and would actually win the hand.

I discarded long-shots.

I stopped holding onto cards that were no longer useful.

I didn’t keep a card just because I liked it (I’m partial to hearts).

If it wasn’t going to contribute to a winning hand, I discarded it.

I quit picking up cards that “might” be useful.

A hand plays out quickly.

There is no time for a lot of “maybe” and “someday”.

Holding onto deadwood is no way to win.

I can now beat any of the opponents except for “Jane”.  I’m pretty sure that she cheats. She wins a lot.  She seems to be very lucky.  Yep,  I think she’s cheating.  I may quit playing against her.

In any case, by happenstance, this game taught me a lot.

Help can come from the most unlikely places.

Who knew?

Life is short.

A day is even shorter.

I’ve got to play the hand that I’ve been dealt.

I can’t hold onto cards (stuff and emotions) that aren’t helping me to build the hand that I need to win the game.  The game being the life that I’m hoping to live.

The wrong cards or too many cards won’t ever come together to help me achieve my goal of a simpler, tidier, more comfortable home.

I need to ruthlessly discard cards that are keeping me from assembling a winning hand.

If I have something that I used to like but don’t any longer, it should go.

If something was expensive, but I don’t love it, keeping it just takes up space that could be filled with a more important card.

Just because something once held deep meaning, doesn’t mean that it gets to stick around forever. I change and the things that are meaningful can change also.

There are only so many cards allowed in a hand.

Holding onto the wrong card means that there is no room for the right card.

I have to make sure that I have the right cards.

Oh, and it helps to make sure that I fully understand the rules of the game – the direction I am headed and my ultimate goal.

Clothes that don’t fit right or don’t fit at all.  Gone. Even (or especially) if I am holding onto them because I like the idea of wearing them rather than the reality of wearing them.  You know, all those clothes you keep taking out of the closet and dropping onto the floor – never really wearing anywhere.

Beautiful things that fit the image of who I would like to be, but don’t fit into the reality of who I am – a woman who hates to dust and despises clutter.  I’m talking about those beautiful home magazine pages of meticulously displayed collectibles and art.  I love the way that looks.  It just doesn’t translate into my real life.  I need to be realistic about the life I live and the way I live it.

Things that I used to use all the time, but don’t use any longer.  Interests and needs change, but I don’t always adapt the stuff I have to reflect where I am right now.  I don’t have four kiddos at home all the time now.  I don’t cook the same.  Life has changed.  Stuff needs to be reassessed.  Holding onto stuff from when all the kiddos were home and little doesn’t stop the progress of time.  Those days are gone.  It’s time to let go of the “cards” that are no longer serving a purpose in my hand and start building a new hand.

There are no excuses in gin.  There is no justification.  Deadwood goes or you lose.

There comes a time when you have to quit talking about what you want.

A time when you have to quit explaining why you can’t have or do what you want.

You have to do what is necessary to make space or time for what you want.

And you have to do it.

 

 

Kummerspeck

The sharing of words from my “new to me” thrift store book purchase continues…

Today, I am dealing with the aftereffects of kummerspeck (noun, German, excessive weight gained through eating as a means of relieving stress or strong emotion).

Today, I finally feel like I have beaten back the flu, the allergies, and the virus that mimics allergies…all basically resulting in congestion, coughing, and exhaustion.  I feel almost back to normal and can take a full breath without gasping for air.  Air is good.  Air in the lungs is even better.

Now, I can start back with my resolve to eat healthier and walk at least 10,000 steps daily.

Over a year ago, after my surgery, I went from weighing in the 230 range to 180 pounds. Since then I have slowly gained back a lot of the weight.

First, a skipped day of walking and then a junior hamburger.

Then some hot weather so a couple more skipped walks.

Then a half-price milkshake from Sonic.  (Note to self:  half-price does not mean half-calories)

Then a bad day (or two).

It all adds up to weighing 200 pounds again.

I am definitely a stress eater.  Almost any food is comfort food for me.

Thus, the word of the day:  kummerspeck.

I have too many health risks to live like this.

I have too many things that I want to accomplish to risk my life like this.

Healthier choices.

Smaller portions.

Food is fuel, not a reward.

The reward is feeling better.

It matters what I eat.

I matter.