A Glass of Tea

Hello.

No luck falling asleep last night.

This morning started out with a sense of being behind and unable to catch up.  As a result, I know that my perceptions of my life are skewed and everything seems worse than it is or even than it was yesterday.

Being tired and anxious and tipping into depression have a way of putting a negative filter on the way I see things:

The budgeting problems couldn’t be solved with a bevy of mathematical geniuses.

I am the only homemaker in America (maybe the world) who can’t keep a clean house.

We have the worst looking yard in the neighborhood.

the dishes, the laundry, the unmade bed, the piles of paperwork to be dealt with, the recycling, the boxes of donations, the stuff to be sorted, the unmade bed, the bathrooms waiting to be cleaned, the books unread, the projects undone, the clock is ticking and I am getting nowhere…fast

STOP.

It’s time for a glass of tea and some perspective…and a talk with myself (preferably not aloud where I can add crazy to the list).

I am doing okay.

Things will be okay.

It could be worse.

There are solutions to the real problems.

Some of the problems aren’t really that big a deal.

The sun will still do it’s thing even if everything doesn’t get done so there is always tomorrow.

I can fold one load of laundry.

I can wash one sink load of dishes.

I can stack all of the paper in one place and deal with it one piece at a time.

I can clear one counter.

The lost things can be found.

And so can peace.

I can stop and have a glass of tea.

I can make the baby laugh.

I could even read a chapter of a book.

And then I can do one more thing to make our home more comfortable.

Comfortable, not perfect.

What I can’t do is everything…right now.

There.

I feel better now.

I’m glad we had this talk.

Until tomorrow…

Peace.

 

 

Quotidian

And this is my desk this morning…

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I cleared it just the other day when I was struggling and knew that just one small win might help.

But today, it is covered again with information from the fair, cold medicine, seeds waiting to be planted, mail, notes, really important stuff and I don’t know what else.  Even St. Francis is reeling in despair.

It’s easy to get frustrated when nothing is ever really done or completed.

“Didn’t I just wash this same dish yesterday?”

“Didn’t I just wash and dry and fold this shirt?”

“Didn’t I just clean this high chair a couple of hours ago?”

Word of the day…

Quotidian which mean “to occur everyday” or “belonging to each day” or “commonplace, ordinary” according to Merriam Webster.

I used to run from routines and schedules preferring to think I was spontaneous and free.

Truthfully, the most spontaneous thing about me is my depression which can randomly show up at the most inconvenient times.

More and more lately, I’ve be intentionally pursuing routines and schedules seeking stability and peace.

I most like the definition of quotidian that says “belonging to each day”.

                                                          belonging

 noun: an affinity for a place or situation.

“we feel a real sense of belonging
And it’s true that each and every mess that occurs each and every day belongs to me and those that I love.
The detritus of lives fully lived fill my days and keep me busy.  And occasionally frustrated.
So today, I will once again sort through the stuff on my desk and wash dishes and clean the high chair and run laundry.  And a hundred other little commonplace and ordinary things that belong to this day.
Some tasks are unique to this day.  Most are not…I will be scraping banana and mango off of the same high chair tomorrow.0218191230a (1)
But one day, sooner that I’d like, this kiddo will be out of the high chair and moving on just like his mama did before him.
So, I will tend to the tasks of today and do my best to find joy in them.
Peace.

Crazy

I’m struggling today.

I’m depressed.

The things to do seem endless (and maybe a little pointless).

Some days I can just jump in and tackle the day.

Not today.

Depression is crazy.

I know I’m not crazy, but the unpredictability of “depression” is crazy.

 One day maybe scientists or doctors or somebody will figure it out, but for now it is something we live with.

We all live with it.

If you don’t suffer with it, you know someone who does and it affects your life as well.

I don’t want my depression (and coordinating anxiety) to define me.  There is so much more to me than that.

But, I do want to continue to talk about it because we have to.  We have to share our stories and support each other and realize that we are not alone…

even if depression causes you to feel like you are alone and unworthy of being loved.

So today, I have cleaned off my desk because it is a small “win”, and tidiness and order make me feel better…a little bit more in control of my life.0212191554

And I am writing this imperfect post because maybe someone else who is struggling today will happen upon it and be encouraged to seek out a small “win” for themselves.

And I will cook a healthy dinner for my family tonight, because the food we eat does affect our health and we have been working really hard to improve our diet.  It won’t be perfect, but it will be good enough.

And I will offer myself abundant grace today for my depression and mistakes and grouchiness.  I am human and flawed and trying.  I will give myself some credit for hanging in there.

Some days life is hard.

But even in the hard times there can be grace and forgiveness and courage and kindness.

There has to be.

Peace.

 

 

 

Cold Water on a Hot Day

Today I am thankful for cold water on a hot day

or in other words…

Our water heater isn’t working.

It’s been going out for a while.

It is officially gone.

It’s not so bad, really.

Our electric bill is lower.

I am boiling water for dishes which I am actually enjoying…

it somehow makes dish-washing more intentional and important.

There is thought involved.

It is less of a task and more of meaningful ritual.

Showers aren’t even bad.  We are in our first heat wave of the summer.  Temperatures outside are slowly rising…an interesting reversal of the temperature of our water slowly decreasing.  A cool shower is a blessing in this heat.  Not first thing in the morning, but a pleasant respite in the evening.

Now, if this were winter it would be a whole ‘nother story.  I would be hard-pressed to find anything to be grateful for in this situation.

I could try.

You know, we have running water and we don’t have to trek 10 miles uphill in both directions to get water.

It would be a valid point, but nevertheless, you would not find me in the shower in the middle of winter without hot water.

But, for right now, it is good.

As is the de-cluttered and organized hallway and living room.  Another small box of stuff going to the thrift store and another bag of trash/recycling ready to go.  The empty plastic storage bins are still empty.

On to the kitchen (insert tiny sigh here)…

Peace

 

Perspective

This morning after my shower, I spent 20 minutes trying to find a pair of clean underwear.  Most of the laundry is washed…just not folded or put up.  In frustration, I yelled out into the empty house, “I’ve got to get my act together”.

Well, not a completely empty house.  The dogs are all here.  What they heard me yell was, “Let’s go for a walk”.  Chaos ensued.

But, back to paragraph one.  “I’ve got to get my act together” is, in fact, a true statement.

It is not, however, a particularly helpful one.  It is negative, rather vague, and distinctly lacking in helpful details about how to accomplish such a task.

Sometimes I feel like I’m stumbling around in a fog trying to live life like a grown-up.

Anyway, I did manage to find clean underwear, pants and a shirt.  No clean bra, but I am sufficiently covered to start the day.  After starting the washer, I started back down the hall to start “the list” that would help me get my life in order.

I saw this sitting on the studio table…

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…the same encaustic piece that I posted here on Monday, but viewed from a different angle…a different perspective.  The same, but different.

And, I remembered that this week was going to be about creativity and not stress.

And, that led me to think about the fact that I may not have my “life together” with regards to housekeeping, but I I’m pretty good at making a home…

I’m okay with being a homemaker and not a housekeeper.

I’m also good at making some pretty cool stuff sometimes.

It all depends on how I choose to look at it.

Perspective.

So, no giant list detailing the steps I need to take to “fix” my life will be written today.

I will attempt to get the clean laundry put up.

And, I’m not going to clean the whole house in order to satisfy that part of me that thinks I need to do so.

I’m going to stick to my plan to be creative and make something today.

But first, the doctor appointment on Tuesday…

Helpful and not at all helpful.

I like the doctor.  I feel that he is an intelligent, knowledgeable and experienced physician.  He reiterated that I do not have Multiple Sclerosis.

I pointed out that I was relieved to hear that, but that there is still something wrong with my vision.  He repeated that my vision problem was not caused by Multiple Sclerosis.

This pattern repeated itself a few times.

So, it would seem that from a neurologist’s point of view, all is well.  It’s not M.S.

From my perspective, the journey continues.  We have good insurance.  We pay a lot of money for it.  It doesn’t cover everything.  Sometimes, it doesn’t seem to cover much of anything at all.  I can’t just randomly keep seeing doctors and rely on them to solve the problem.

I’m going to continue my research.  It’s good to know what I don’t have.  I’m grateful for that information.  If my eyesight stays the way it is, all is well.  I can still do everything that I need to do.  In the big scheme of things, it’s a mild inconvenience.

Maybe it is stress.

Maybe it’s age.

Maybe it’s related to my hypertension.

Maybe it will get worse.

Maybe it will get better.

The plan is to clean up my diet (again) and lose some weight.  I’ll walk my 10,000 steps a day.  I’ll keep working on reducing stress and trying to get my life together.  I will not stress about getting my life together.

I will be kind to myself during this journey.

I will view things from different angles and keep things in perspective.

Above all, I’m going to spend more time doing that which I am good at…

and spend less time worrying about what I’m not good at.

Journey well today, my friends…

 

 

 

 

As the Crow Flies

As the Crow Flies is a pretty common saying around here.  We really just live a few miles from a state highway if you look at a map, but it’s about 15 miles driving distance.

A friend once hiked it as the crow flies on the recommendation of my daughter while looking for a lost dog.  This was a bad idea for two reasons.  My daughter is both direction and distance impaired on a major scale and cross-country involves two river crossings, wildlife fences, wildlife including snakes and wild hogs, and ranches with gun-loving owners.  Luckily the friend looking for the dog has advanced military training, enjoyed seeing a zebra in real life and only suffered a spider bite.

Anyway, I’m using this phrase to refer to my decluttering journey.  As the crow flies is a simple enough plan.  Get rid of the stuff you don’t want or need, find a place for the stuff you keep and regularly pick up after yourself and clean afterwards.  Simple, right?

Today, I’m in the master bedroom.  After a fit of sneezing last night, I took a good look around the room.  (No judgement right?)  Piles of stuff, dog hair, dust, spider webs, a few dead June bugs, and more dust.  I had considered this room fairly decluttered.

Found on top of the blanket trunk

  •   three comforters that are used when it’s cold around the house and by spontaneous over-night guests.  It’s summer and we don’t have central air-conditioning right now.  How many blankets do we need?  More importantly, why didn’t whoever used the blankets fold them and put them up?  Two comforters gone to the thrift store. But first, I have to wash and dry them – in the poverty washer.  That’s more than a few miles or a few minutes.  I also found two pillows that look pretty on the bed but we don’t actually sleep with. That’s why they are in the pile.  Gone into the trash.  I’m living in real life, not a magazine!

Found on top of the dresser

  •   a lot of pens which explains why I can never find one at the desk.
  • Various earrings with no matches. Hmmm?  Did I take my earrings off in two different places?  In the jewelry organizer to try to match up.  I need to re-evaluate what’s in there.  I don’t wear a lot of jewelry.
  • A phone charger that I moved to the drawer that holds electronic stuff – most of which I can’t identify.  I need to ask one of the kid’s to figure out what’s good and what’s not.
  • Stuff the kids made me that I don’t know what to do with.  Obviously I’ve just been moving this stuff from one place to another to avoid making a decision.  The easy answer is to keep the kids and get rid of the stuff.  It’s not easy.  I’ve started a plastic storage box labeled “treasures” and placed it in the new storage space.
  • My missing hair brush, two pair of scissors, a Hercules hook, a pile of change and the change bank that I should be collecting it in, batteries, a Band-Aid (new, thank goodness), hair ties, two clean socks with no mates, expired coupons for free salads, and my missing bra

Under the bed

  • a long-sleeved shirt that I bought for the winter never worn with tags (yes, months ago)
  • 6 dirty socks.  3 of them belonging to my children and why are my children’s dirty socks under my bed?  None of them have mates.
  • two more phone chargers which explains why we can never find one.  I guess I need to apologize to my kids for accusing them of stealing mine.
  • coat hangers
  • two food storage containers and a paper plate – all licked clean.  That would be Matilda the Basset Hound and thief extraordinaire.
  • three books that I’ve already read and thought went to the thrift store

Okay, not a lot gone unless you count the dog hair and dust:  a couple of blankets, some jewelry, chewed up storage containers, 3 books and two pillows.

Total time is almost two hours.  The room is clean and tidy. Some more stuff is gone.  I’ll sleep better.  This is not a journey as the crow flies.  I’m definitely taking the long way ’round.

 

The Lights Went Out and a Light Dawns

We had a pretty awesome storm last night.  The works:  rain, LOUD thunder, and lightning.

The lights went out.

Remember the pathways through the stuff I’ve been telling you about?  Try navigating those in the dark while trying to find the candles and matches.  Those cluttered counters?  Not helpful in the dark.  Stuff falls off onto the floor (and your toes) while you are fumbling around looking for a match.  Also, there’s no clear and safe spot to set a candle.

If kicking a box (or five) didn’t break my toe, the can of tomatoes did when it fell off the counter.

I just went to bed.

This morning, while getting out of the shower, this is what I saw. IMAG0592

It’s looked like this all week.  I’ve been “going to clean it off” as soon as I had time to clean the bathroom properly.  “Going to’s” just aren’t a good way to get things done.

I timed it.  It took only 5 minutes, 40 seconds; including the time it took to take things to their proper home and to use that Soft Scrub to actually clean the counter. Those steps count on my fitbit – I’m still trying to achieve 10,000 steps on a regular daily basis.IMAG0594

Double win!  Clear and clean counter, more steps.

The rest of the bathroom isn’t done, but progress has been made.

A light dawns.  Maybe my list of things “to do” should be broken down into smaller jobs.

Not, clean the bathroom, BUT clear the counter, take the dirty laundry to the laundry room, empty the trash, etc.  I don’t have the time to get it all done, BUT I can get something done.

Hmmmm? Maybe I should actually write down a list.  I’m always going to, but never actually do. There’s that “going to” phrase again.

I know that writing things down gets it out of my head.  It actually clears some of the mental clutter.  There’s also the satisfaction of crossing things off of the list.

The list would have to be realistic and specific.  Not clean and de-clutter the entire house by this evening.

I’m going to do it.  I mean really do it.  Right here.  Right now.

To Do Today

  1. Clear off and clean master bath counters
  2. Gather dirty laundry and take to laundry room
  3. Clear and dust surfaces in the living room
  4. Clear and clean hall bath counters.
  5. Clear and wipe down hall counter
  6. Clear desk top
  7. Stack all boxes of paper that needs to be shredded in one spot (by shredder)
  8. Put all of daughter’s boxes in one location
  9. Gather all empty boxes in on place to await use or recycling
  10. Take shredded paper to recycling and donations to thrift store
  11. Do 2 loads of laundry – wash, dry, and put away
  12. Maintain fridge and pantry
  13. Wash dishes
  14. Find quote for new art card and print out
  15. Stare at canvas for a little while
  16. Make daughter deal with two boxes of stuff today
  17. Don’t forget to pick up youngest daughter from her friend’s house
  18. Enter expenditures in budget and reconcile account
  19. Run errand for husband
  20. Be kind to myself if I don’t complete this list because sometimes life happens – remember that sometimes the interruptions are the work that needs to be done.

This is the new plan.  The new and improved plan.  Where there’s life, there’s hope.

Please be forgiving as I’m not going to spend a lot of time proofing this.  I just realized that it’s almost noon and I just publicly wrote a list of things to do.  The perfectionist in me doesn’t want to fail.

Gotta go!