Quotidian

And this is my desk this morning…

0217191000a_Burst01

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.

NO. Just no.

Today I woke up ready to do it all.

I wanted to de-clutter the house and move all this sh!t outta here.

Then I wanted to catch up the laundry, finish packing up the winter clothes, do all the dishes, mop the floors, clean the windows…

and mow the yard and hack out the weeds and finish the flower beds and…

Photo by Gemma Evans on UnsplashNO.  Just no.

The words “bipolar” may never have been officially written down in any medical records, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t live here – in a relatively mild form, but still something that needs to be acknowledged.  The doctors have known it and I have known it.  I just spent so many years without insurance that we’ve skirted around the issue.

As past history has shown this is all probably a reaction to dealing with some hard stuff last night and being really down.

And if I give in to the mood and don’t deal with it intentionally, it could start cycling and that’s just not fun for anybody.

So instead of trying to do it all and failing miserably and being miserable and making everyone around me miserable…

This is today’s list:

  • Sort the mountain of laundry in the hall and work on it – taking care to fold or hang up everything as it finishes in the dryer.  No more piles everywhere.
  • Pick up obvious trash laying around and remove it from the house.
  • Gather all of my art card supplies that are scattered about the house and organize them in order to work on them.  This will clear numerous surfaces and help the overall appearance of the house.
  • Make some handmade paper from the plants I started drying last fall.  They are officially dry and shedding all over the studio. If it works, store the dried plants neatly away.  If not, compost them and try again another time.  I need to stop pushing art making to the bottom of the list – only to be done when everything else is finished.
  • Tidy up the paper-making station when done so as not to add more mess.
  • If I come across anything to de-clutter, add it to the box (after I put away the clean laundry that got dumped there when trying to clear the table for a family meal).
  • Remember that tomorrow is another day and don’t stress about what isn’t on this list or what is on the list and doesn’t get done.

And lastly, before I move on to other things…I found this quote while doing my morning reading and thought it quite appropriate following yesterday’s post…

Just knowing you don’t have the answers is a recipe for humility, openness, acceptance, forgiveness, and an eagerness to learn – and those are all good things. Dick Van Dyke

Peace.

I am writing today because writing is a good thing for me to do…not because I can think of anything that really needs to be said.

That parallels my day today also.  I am doing what needs to be done although none of it seems to be particularly important or relevant.

I washed clothes so that my husband has something to wear to work and as a result I am rewarded with an empty dirty laundry basket.  Looking at that empty basket brought a small smile to my face.  A “win”.

And so life is.

I long for peace and serenity and joy right now.

What I have is chores and responsibilities and a total lack of control over circumstances that I can’t even talk about here.

I feel like I’m trapped in a little bitty life and that none of it is particularly important or relevant.

But our little bitty lives are important, aren’t they?

A load of laundry, a note in the mail, the right word at the right time, a simple meal…

We may never know the significance of what we do…but we do it anyway…

and trust that somehow it all weaves together for good to make a difference in the lives of those we love…

somehow.

And we do it because it’s what we do…

because we aren’t great big people with great big answers.

We are just who we are

and we keep trying even when it doesn’t seem to matter

and it doesn’t seem important

and we keep breathing

and struggling

and looking for that little “win”

Peace

 

Happiness and Balance

I woke up tired today and tempted to just go back to sleep.  The bed was warm and the dogs were snuggly.  The house was quiet and I was alone.  Nobody would know that I was being a slug.

But, the to-do list was quietly beckoning me and there are things on said list that I have been ignoring far too long.

I spent two hours in the yard working on bringing it up to the standards of my  Homeowners’ Association  as outlined in the letter that we received at the end of October.  I disagree with their use of the adjective “tremendous” in describing the “debris” around our house, but it was their letter to write.  I have been mentally composing a letter in response, but have exercised tremendous self-control.  I don’t disagree that there was work to be done.  We’ve been working on it.

We’ve also been working on repairs inside and going to work to pay bills and a few other small matters…like trying to get the lawn mower repaired and come up with the money for a dumpster to haul off debris from the repair and improvement projects.  Basically, we’re just trying to find a balance between the expectations of others and a realistic outlay of resources with regards to money and time.  Hopefully, everyone can be reasonably happy.

I’d love to devote hours and dollars to my yard and home. It does matter to me.  I also want to live harmoniously and realistically with the existing wildlife around me.  Part of my yard will remain “wild” and uncultivated.  The critters were here first.  It’s only fair that I share and cohabitate.  (I am not including the party mice in this scenario).

Moving on…next on the list was a long walk with the dogs.  I’ve slowly gained back a considerable amount of weight that I lost after surgery almost two years ago.  I’m back at risk for a repeat of that same health problem as well as diabetes and uncontrolled hypertension. Several miles a day needs to go back on the list and remain there. I started with today. Healthier eating has to become a routine again also.  The chickens are enjoying some yummy treats today.  I just can’t have some things around the house.  I definitely have an issue with food.

I’ve also decided that decluttering is back on the list.  I thought that I’d gotten stuff under control, but it appears to be a never-ending battle for me.

As this year steadily approaches it’s end, I am thinking about the things that I wanted to change and the progress that I wanted to make.

Overall, I’m happy with my progress.  It would be easy to be discouraged and note that I’m still talking about some of the same issues…my house and yard, my weight and health, an overabundance of stuff, and the challenges of finding balance…but I’m choosing to understand that most of these issues will never be fully resolved.  There are certain things that will always be an issue for me.

I think that identifying them was an important step and that staying aware of my status with regards to them is the continual journey.

Steps forward, steps back, battles won and battles lost…I’ll just keep trying to make progress and most importantly, trying to be kind to myself in the process.

The grass will keep growing, the leaves will keep falling, food will still tempt me, and stuff will keep coming into the house.

I’ll mow some grass, rake a few leaves, work on making better choices and try to live more intentionally.

And be as happy as I possibly can in the process.

Peace.

 

Common Thread

So, here’s some observations from my Saturday morning.  Daughter is away at a sleepover…Hubby is sleeping after working an overtime night shift.  I am enjoying some quiet and thinking and observing life…

  • When making art, the space clearing and tidying up can be just as important as the actual creating part.  Clutter and lost stuff hinders effective art making.
  • It is probably a good idea to clean out the fridge more than once every three months or so – no matter how busy you are.  Avoiding the fridge because you aren’t sure what you might find inside (science experiment wise) complicates life immensely.
  • Clean sheets and a welcoming bed make life so much more pleasant even if you think you haven’t time for the effort.  Sleep is important.
  • If you forget to water your plants over a period of time because of higher activities on the priority list, drenching them to try and make up for it doesn’t work.  A dead plant is still dead after you water it…it’s just really wet. This also seems to apply to relationships that are neglected during said busy times (except for the whole watering and wet part).
  • Your children never really move out.  For months after the big move, you will keep finding stuff and the new guest room becomes a holding area – kind of like the lost luggage area at an airport.

I’m seeing a common thread here…

It involves my less than stellar approach to cleaning up, and housekeeping in general.  It’s a good thing that I’m having a good day and am able to realize that I have other good qualities besides housework.

And that’s why I’m going to go back to making some stuff right now…

…right after I clean up the work table in my studio because I can’t seem to find a single bottle of glue in this entire house.

Walking

If I had to name the top 10 most influential people in my adult life, there is one person who would certainly be at the top of the list.  She was a spiritual mentor, a life coach, an encourager (this word flags as misspelled, but I like it so it stays), and a partner in my creative endeavors.

She was a pastor at a church that I used to attend. As our relationship developed, she learned that I was an artist – although at that time I was just somebody who made stuff.  She started sharing her sermon plans with me and I started to create art that illustrated the sermon.  Some of it was pretty bad, but she hung it on the wall anyway.  Eventually, it got better and she hung that too.

Sometimes she would come to me with a sermon and verse and we would find that I had already started the canvas that went with it.

I would sit and draw her sermons on Sundays.  It’s how I learned that art is my form of worship…a lesson that I still value today.  I did a complete book of sermon drawings for her.  When I visited her a month or so ago, I saw that it sits on her hearth along with some other things that she treasures.

We rarely see each other any more as we live on opposite side of Austin.  Though our lives no longer intersect as they once did something interesting is starting to happen.

I faithfully read her postings on Caring Bridge as she chronicles her experiences with metastatic Stage IV colon cancer.  Lately, her posts are becoming more and more applicable and relative to my life – just as her sermons often seemed to be written just for me.

A couple of days ago she wrote something that inspired my post, “Doors”, which turned out to be one of the most popular things I’ve ever written here.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to get a “big head”.  By popular, I mean that more than 10 people read it.  It’s all relative, right.  I favor quality over quantity any day.

Today, she wrote about going through the interview process to try and get selected for a clinical trial of a new treatment.  Although our situations are totally different and I would never try to compare my struggles with hers – when I read the words she had written about being overwhelmed, I could identify with her completely.

First, it put the circumstances of my life right now in perspective.  I’ve reminded myself that the problems that I am facing are manageable and most likely solvable.  The challenges to come are not insurmountable.

Second, her words helped me gain my footing again.  She wrote that “sometimes people who are overwhelmed don’t do anything because they can’t do everything.”

She added that we should “acknowledge it (the situation) , pray, and just do one thing at a time.”

I can do that.  I can acknowledge that while my situation could be worse, it’s still hard and I’m both tired and overwhelmed.  And while I can’t do everything, I can do something.

So here’s what I accomplished today:

  • I went to work
  • I visited my sister in I.C.U and initiated a discussion about what her discharge plan might need to look like
  • I spent time with my husband although I did forget to make his lunch
  • We started planning what needs to be done to fix our second bathroom so that it is easily accessible for my sister as her recovery continues – I did not figure out how to pay for said renovations – that would be too much for today and would lead to feeling overwhelmed again.
  • I am committing to filling one bag with trash as I begin to catch-up on housework. Some (most) of it will just have to wait.
  • I took a short walk in an effort to get back to walking two miles a day so that I can lose the weight I have gained.  A long walk just couldn’t happen.  That’s okay.
  • My daughter and I are going to do one math lesson as we work on getting caught up.  It won’t solve the problem, but it’s something.
  • I am going to sit and prepare the bag of worn out T-shirts into strips for my rug as I watch a stupid T.V. show and allow myself to rest. Oh, and by the way…here’s my efforts so far. Barret, the dork dog seems to like it just fine.

Perhaps most importantly, she reminded me that I’m not alone.  I have friends that are thinking of and praying for me.  I have people that I can call on if I need to (even if I’m too stubborn to admit that I need help).

Just because people are no longer physically present in our lives doesn’t mean that the lessons we learned from them, or the experiences we shared with them aren’t still valuable resources that we can draw from when we need to.  Special people who have once been in our lives never really leave us.  They become a part of us…often the best part.

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 Broom

…is missing.  I know I have a broom because I used it yesterday.  Okay, maybe not yesterday, but I have swept a floor – in this house – since we moved in nine or so years ago.

Is the Guinness Book of World Records online?  I’m interested to know what’s the longest recorded length of time it has taken to find a  broom in a normal sized house.  I might be getting close – 46 minutes.  Yep, that’s right.  My house is a little bit lived in right now, but it’s not going to be featured on a hoarding show anytime soon.

I just can’t find the damn broom.  I’ve wandered through every room although I’m certain it wouldn’t be in any of the kids’ rooms.  Why would it?  That would mean that they attempted to sweep their rooms.  And that would be impossible because you would have to see the floor in order to sweep it.  (Love you all, but you really do need to clean your rooms)

It’s not outside in any logical place – like on the porches for instance.

Maybe it’s a sign that I’m not supposed to sweep today.  Yep, that must be it.

It’s official.  Housework is done for the day.

I did de-clutter our classroom (again).  I went through every single item one at a time and made a decision on it.  Planning has begun for the next school year.  My last child and she’s going into Junior High.  All the elementary stuff is going away to be shared.

Except the crayons. You can never outgrow crayons.  And maybe the construction paper.  And maybe a few (thirty) picture books that she’s not ready to part with yet.

But the rest?  We’re moving into the big time around here!

Three boxes to the thrift store.  One bag in the trash.  A ton of paper shredded to begin a new life as chicken and rabbit bedding.

Maybe the broom is under the clothes in the laundry room…