If you need more words, the rest can be found here.
- Monday was a summer day in August. My teenager was still on summer break, the day was hot, the sun was bright.
- On Wednesday morning, I went to the dermatologist to ask about a spot (sort of a suspicious mole but not exactly). The doctor agreed it was worth checking out and numbed me up for a biopsy. I walked out with a dime-sized wound on my cheek well-covered by an appropriately sized bandage. [Awareness alert and example of white privilege: the bandage color is close to my skin tone so it blends in very well when I’m not using a flash.] I walked back in 90 minutes later to have the wound re-cauterized and bandaged again. It is best to not walk around with blood streaming down your cheek.
- I placed two bead orders this week — one to each of my favorite online bead stores that just so happen to be my favorite bead stores to visit as well. I received one package in the mail today and plan to pick up the other at the store tomorrow. [Side note: $80 worth of beads may fit in one hand.] I sold quite a few pairs of earrings at the farmers’ market today and need to replenish my stock, so the timing of all sales — stores with price reductions, stores to me, me to customers — worked out nicely. Now to actually sit down and create! I’ve had a bit of a dry spell but am feeling inspired tonight with new vision for my new beads and some positive feelings. Having a customer return to my booth today made me happy for both of us. She had purchased one pair of earrings last week after I told her why I make them. (The very short story is that I can’t wear most store-bought earrings. My skin is really sensitive to metals, but the earrings I make I am able to wear on a daily basis without any trouble.) She had the same experience I’ve had, being able to wear earrings again. She returned today to purchase 4 more pairs of earrings. I’m grateful for the sales, but most of all I was happy to make her happy.
- On Thursday, September 1st, the clouds gathered, the wind blew, and the air cooled. It felt as though Mother Nature looked at her calendar and got busy. It rained a little overnight, and then today a storm snuck into town. The wind nearly blew several canopies away while setting up at the farmers’ market this afternoon, but the rain held off until we were taking them down again after 7pm. By the time we drove home, there were flashes of lighting. I feel a little cheated, like a kid whose summer is interrupted by fall. Nothing against fall — I love many things about fall — but I don’t feel like I had enough summer. Not camping might have something to do with that feeling.
- Five is the number of Fridays this month — and that’s a good thing, right?
(Confession: I edited and changed that last bit. I had previously written “– and that’s a good thing, eh?”) Five Fridays = five market days until the end of my vending season. I’ll miss the people and interactions, but it will be nice to have my Fridays free again.
first day of school = sad dog
Have you transitioned into fall yet?
Walking in the park on Sunday afternoon, I was surrounded by the warm scent of pine needles and butterscotch. I love our tall Ponderosas.
Summer is going strong here in mid-August. On Saturday there were at least two big events going on within 3 miles of my house: a brewfest of craft beer (of which I was sadly unaware until the final 6 hours) and the annual street fair. After brunch that morning, SuperDad and I headed over to the street fair. I told him he could probably find me near tie-dye.
I adore the bright colors! In another life, I could dress like this on a regular basis.
Before long I had wandered over to the classic car display.
When I walked over to take a picture of that orange car my camera announced, “Battery Exhausted” and shut down. At that, we decided it was getting too hot for us on sunny pavement and headed for a free (air conditioned!) show at The Blue Door improv theatre. It was a great way to cool down before heading home.
Now that we’ve finally settled into a pattern, our temperatures hover in the mid-90s during the day (35°C) and generally cool off to 60°F (15°C) at night. Since we don’t have central air conditioning, SuperDad keeps the house relatively cool with strategic use of fans. This works really well unless the air outside is too warm or full of smoke.
Unlike last year, we are blissfully free of smoke-filled skies. The sunsets were beautiful but the air quality was terrible. I’ll take clear skies over breathing bits of ash.
There are always a few days or even weeks when we wish we had A/C — I can’t sleep when it’s 80°F/27°C at midnight — but by late fall even I have forgotten those nights when I cannot sleep because it’s too hot in the house. For mid-day use on a hot day, we have this awesomeness:
I suppose that technically we could all sleep in the living room on hot nights, but that would be too much family togetherness for me. I don’t even camp in a tent with that many people anymore — a 6-person tent is cozy enough for just the two of us old married folks. I need breathing space!
I’m still a little bummed that I missed out on the Brewers Festival — with tastings from some of my favorite breweries (Bellwether, Icicle and Iron Goat to name a few) but I can only manage a certain amount of walking in a day before needing to elevate and ice my ankle, and no amount of jonesing for a Second Breakfast, Goatmeal Stout or Dark Persuasion* can change that. Saturday was my 9-month breakiversary. I’m going to see a doctor on Thursday to ask about continued pain and swelling.
*Just writing about those 3 draughts of deliciousness made me thirsty! I’m signing off now to get get a drink of water. Happy Monday!
Below is the resident teenager’s Christmas wish list from 2015. In the heading, he noted that it was “mostly sub twenty” — meaning less than $20 per item.
- A sharpening stone of some sort for pocket knives, oil requiring or no doesn’t matter.
- A watch with a sturdy long-lasting band (not plastic/rubber) that is water resistant to the point I could swim with it on.
- Fifty plus feet of para-cord.
- If you can find cheap waterproof or really water resistant winter gloves with a longer wrist to go under my sleeve that would be really good too.
- The usual cash, some sugary poison, preferably some kind of chocolate—I’ll take any, about 95% dark and under, Swedish fish, Nutella, Eggnog, or something like bit’o honey (Caramel/Cream bite size candies) No sour, fizzy, root beer flavored, ect. [sic]
- Beef jerky, also preferably no weird flavors, such as teriyaki or mesquite.
- Random items that you think I might like appreciate.
- And, if you really want to invest, by any means feel free to get me something really nice, a good bike, a backyard pool, some nice outdoor stuff, a horse and somewhere to keep it, a trip to some exotic place, a working lightsaber, scuba gear, a hang gliding trip, etcetera. Use your imagination, besides, look on the bright side, if you do this, the next few [years of getting me] birthday and Christmas presents might get called off for you, or I might get spoiled and demand more.
You’d probably like to know what we ended up getting him for Christmas. I’m curious myself! On Christmas Day, I was one month out of surgery for my trimalleolar fracture and on some pretty strong pain medicine. I do know that we are not the proud owners of a horse and stable. 🙂
I was curious enough to look up previous orders on my Amazon account (the only way that any Christmas shopping got done). He received, in part, some new running gear. The fact I still have Amazon Prime is proof that those were some pretty strong pain meds; I forgot to turn off our free 30-day trial and ended up paying $99 for the entire year. Never mind that I was too busy to shop the special Prime Day sale on July 12th.
What sort of gifts have you (or your kids or someone else you know) wished for that would fit in category #8 above?
I live with two opposing desires: the desire to create and the desire to be free from the weight of too much stuff, of everything that holds me back from spontaneity. The tiny house movement, minimalism, the popularity of the Konmari method and Marie Kondo’s book about tidying have infiltrated my brain. I think of how lovely it could be, living in a small space only surrounded with things that bring me joy. The pure lack of stuff would surely enable me to live more freely, to gather up my minimal possessions on short notice and take off on adventures. Or would it?
Google & Pinterest for the image win
Several plastic bins are filled with yards of colorful fabric purchased on sale and waiting under my worktable to become quilts; the new-to-me BERNINA is still under its cover, ready to replace the old, simple workhorse Sears model (which will continue to be used by the rest of the family). It’s been there since I broke my ankle seven months ago. I have filled more than a few acrylic boxes with organized displays of beads, just waiting for my creativity to turn them into earrings or lanyards. I taught my children that books are special friends and should be treated as such, which probably explains our full bookshelves despite multiple cross-country moves and routine purging of unnecessary items to keep below our weight limits.
And yet, I hear the siren song of minimalism: clean, dust-free surfaces that gleam with openness and possibility. Those images whisper to me that my house could look like this, too, if I would just get rid of stuff and tidy up my life. I can be overwhelmed by the piles that need my attention, those things that weren’t put in their proper places because I wasn’t quite done using them… two months ago. There are more than a few items that were set down on or near my worktable because I needed to figure out where they should live, and apparently they are imprisoned in the homeless encampment where I left them because the clutter grows into wretched, visual walls that keep me from doing anything. I am weighed down and immobilized.
The connection between these two extremes is perfectionism and self-diagnosed ADD. Once upon a time, I thought that a perfectionist was one who kept a perfectly clean and clutter-free house — and if that was so, then the minimalist lifestyle would be the answer. If I wiped the slate clean, there would be so little to care for on a daily basis that it would be simple to keep everything nice and neat and perfect. But I have since learned that a procrastinator like me is also a perfectionist. I will begin a project and fail to complete it because I don’t have enough time (supposedly) to do it perfectly. And yes, time management might be an issue here as well. I become distracted by other projects, other needs, and set what I am doing aside to finish at another time. Another project is set down right next to or on top of it, and another one, and soon I have overwhelming clutter on top of, under and around my worktable, rendering it useless.
I vacillate between enjoying my hobbies and the paraphernalia that comes with each of them — the scrapbooks, the paper, the beads, the fabric, the many supplies needed to turn vision into reality that can be held, touched, and felt — and the guilt that comes with owning so much stuff: things that no one else in my household seems to care about or enjoy. I’m the lover of the scrapbooks. I’m the one who spends untold hours looking at photographs, working with paper to bring a book together that tells our family’s story in color. My scrapbooks are simple in design (nothing fancy here) and enable me to look back at events and remember details. Since my husband rarely looks at them (and my sons even less often) they really are for me, not the family.
Beading is another hobby in which I have invested time and money. The small clear boxes have compartments filled with semi-precious gemstones, round containers hold colorful vintage Venetian seed beads, and other small bins keep Swarovski and Precosia crystals separate from less costly glass beads. I have less guilt over this colorful and pleasing collection due to the earrings and lanyards I sell and make for my own use; however, I freely admit that I own much more than I will ever use. The call of the Pretty! and Sparkly! is a strong one, even for this not-so-girly female.
Some of my crafting supplies have come into my life as fads that quickly fade away. Counted cross-stitch, wreath-making, and stamping readily come to mind as examples, and there is no doubt that some of these supplies could improve my life by simply going away. I’d have more space, less clutter, and less guilt when I look at them because I haven’t been using them. I still use a few stamps, but most of the items in those bins are neglected and unloved. These are the items that Marie Kondo writes about, things that were once thought to be useful but no longer “spark joy” — things I hang onto because I spent money on them many years ago.
I enjoy the process of creating, gazing at colorful beads and fabric and paper, deciding which ones to use. I find pleasure in planning and envisioning a completed crafting project. I love having a scrapbook to look back at events through the eyes of the photographer (usually me). I’m realizing that while I am not what I consider to be an actual artist, I have an artist’s heart. I dream of creating something of beauty and I see possibility where others see a mess that needs cleaning. A blank surface is a creative void, begging for fulfillment and lacking inspiration. Emptiness on walls and surfaces is, to me, a cry of loneliness.
I read this recently on Maximum Middle Age:
Having stuff has never kept me from having experiences, or feeling joy. On the contrary, my things are a primary source of joy in my life, more meaningful than any expanse of white wall, any patch of “negative space.” My things are talismans, giving me luck and guarding against forgetfulness. They have brought me joy. They are worth keeping.
This is where I find myself: on a tenuous slackline walk between tangible reminders of past joys and the illusion of minimalist ease. On one end is the abode with clean, clear surfaces, no excesses, no clutter and, supposedly, no guilt; on the other end is a house filled with wellsprings of creativity and memory-keepers that also inevitably bring clutter. And I bounce in the middle, seeking to make a home and a life I love.
I can’t explain why I like my blue bottle tree so very much, but I can tell you that it makes my heart happy to look at it.
SuperDad and The Scout took the small camera with them on Monday evening when they went up to the mountain to see the Snow Moon rise.
Sunset glow from the parking lot
Since I am not at all ready to hike or ski, all 5 of the above photos are courtesy of our two adventurers. I took a few pictures of the Snow Moon from our driveway but they are still on my camera and not as spectacular as the pictures found in that link.
The past few weeks have been filled with the mundane of daily tasks, including nagging the teen about his homework assignments, keeping up with the plethora of work e-mail and assorted responsibilities that I can’t pass off to others, and various appointments. While none of this is exciting or particularly blog-worthy, this is where we live — right here in a mundane existence. This is not a bad thing, as Tracy points out in this post.
I hope you click on that link before you get back to
nagging reminding your teen about doing homework or cleaning up the pet vomit or dealing with Mt. Washmore (a.k.a., Mt. Neverrest) or washing those dirty dishes.
Thank God for dirty dishes
they have a tale to tell:
while others may go hungry,
we’re eating very well.
For home and health and happiness
I wouldn’t want to fuss
for by the stack of evidence
God has been good to us.
The above poem hung in my husband’s grandmother’s kitchen. My SIL cross-stitched it and framed it for me as a gift many years ago, and it has been in my own kitchen ever since. It really does keep me from grumbling too much about those dirty dishes.