News from the one left behind

The comings and goings have peaked and eased. Over the course of the weekend we burgeoned from a household of 4 up to 11 people — and briefly even an additional dog — before settling down to only 3 of us on Sunday afternoon.  My BFF stopped by for lunch on her way home from the airport to pick up her plants. She courageously entrusted me with plant-sitting her herbs and tomatoes; thankfully, they weren’t forgotten in the heat, we watered them daily and found them some extra shade, and they are now safely back in her care.

Little Foot at wedding

Little Foot at the wedding (cell phone picture. Obviously.)

The entire clan (dh’s side) was in town for the nephew’s wedding. I was really impressed when the photographer managed to get Little Foot to look at the camera, and even more impressed when he easily managed a gaggle of additional 6 kiddos and their adults — a total of 33 for the big family photo.  I’m looking forward to seeing the results. Also, I fibbed: we were missing one person; there should have been 34 of us but our niece’s husband had to stay back home and work. We had a wonderful time at the wedding. We danced, and I paid for it with a swollen ankle that is still a little sore tonight, but how often is there a party like this?  

 

 

IMAG0607 WEBSIZED
We stayed until the music took a decided turn for the younger set (wedding party members and friends). My MIL seemed to be surprised that I danced, but I’m equally surprised that the 80-and-above folks were looking fresh at 11pm when we walked back to the car.  

Last minute packing, T-minus 90 minutesIt occurs to me that some of you may wonder: did the 24yo wear shoes? And yes, he did! (Footwear was policy at the event location and it was a formal event.) However, I’m pretty sure he took them off as soon as he was out of the building. He left earlier than the rest of us and walked the 3.5 miles home — ostensibly to pack, but that didn’t begin until 2 hours before his bus was scheduled to leave on Sunday morning. At that point SuperDad was by his side, putting his own expertise to work.

 H-J came home via Greyhound Bus, carrying all he needed in a small knapsack. For his return trip, he was joined by his brother hoisting a somewhat larger pack. Yes, The Barefooter is off on his big adventure.

PCT-ready, 9 July 2017 WEBSZED

This next week will be a return to our new normal: family dinners for three; work and time spent on beading (I’ve got a special order for this week’s market), card-making, and reorganizing my crafting area at home for me; The Scout and SuperDad getting that Eagle paperwork completed and preparing for the last hurrah of Boy Scout camp.  We’ll be busy but it will be quiet.  I might need to take a nap first…

 

MTM: Exhibit at the Brewery

1475880014812You could call it “stepping out in fear and trepidation” or you could call it “making the leap”  — or any of a number of other phrases — but last fall I committed to being the artist of the month at my favorite local brewery.

After much thought and procrastination, I chose the photos that I wanted to display and then had them printed and matted. A few were from (or will be on) the walls of my own home.  All of them are for sale.

DSCN3048 Websized, Multnomah Tree

This picture of trees in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon (above) normally hangs on my living room wall. It was the only one that I had already shelled out money for — the rest of them (twenty-nine 8×10 prints, plus some larger pieces on canvas or metal) were paid for over the past two months in the hopes of recouping at least some of the cost in sales.

DSCN3041 WEBSIZED, clothesline, pink floral

These photos of my artwork were taken prior to adding labels with the title and price of each piece.

DSCN3046 Websizedm bird house, hummingbird wings

For the 8×10 photographs, I had them printed at a local shop on metallic paper and then a local gallery matted them and added hanging hardware on the back.  I’m really thrilled with the results!

DSCN3049 Websized, Palouse Barn and grain display

I spent 4 hours hanging out at the brewery on Friday evening. Two friends from Canada drove down to surprise me, and my good friend ~A~ stopped by for an hour after work.

DSCN1659 websized, first Friday at Bellwether

I’ll be popping in to visit off and on all month. While I hope to sell at least a few pieces, it’s exciting to just see my photographs hanging in a public space.

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Your turn:  What’s something you’ve done lately to step out of your comfort zone?

 

 

Wilderness in the City

SuperDad has been playing Pokemon GO — which I find somewhat amusing and only slightly annoying. His phone is the only one in the entire family that can support the game but we all joined him in exploring a new-to-us city park on Sunday evening.
DSCN0649 Upper Lincoln Park, resized

The upper portion of the park has been primarily left in its natural state.

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DSCN0669 Peek-a-boo Lincoln Park pond, resized

Peek-a-boo view of the natural pond

DSCN0635 Lincoln Park pond, resized

DSCN0634  Reflection, Lincoln Park pond duck, resizedIt is easy to forget you are in the middle of a city residential area while walking through this park. It was established in 1913.

Beacon Hill, left foreground, and Mt. Spokane, right background

DSCN0644 Hiker's view, upper Lincoln Park, resizedThe view from the cliff wasn’t too shabby either.  The zoomed-in photo shows Mt. Spokane in the far distance to the right (the bare portion is the ski area), and Beacon Hill (which had a fire burning on the back side of it just one week ago) is on the left — it received its name from the lights that shine from the tips of the signal towers at night.

DSCN0689 Moses and Boy, Lincoln Park, cropped, resized   Moses was happy to be with his boys. I imagine that both he and The Barefooter walked a little gingerly on the basalt trails.
DSCN0683 late summer, upper Lincoln Park, resized

I didn’t need to use a cane for the flat road that rimmed the upper park, but it was needed and helpful for the trails and downhill sections.

DSCN0691 Lower Lincoln Park, rest rooms, size comparison, rock, evening sun, resized, cropped 4x6

Behind this large boulder is a timber-and-rock restroom, built in the early days of the park.

DSCN0697 Lincoln Park house for sale, websizedThe lower park had lush green grass, a playground, restroom, and picnic tables. By this point my ankle was done (nine months post surgery and I continue to be very limited in activities), so I walked to the edge to sit and wait for the others to bring the car around.

Before driving home, we admired (from a safe distance) this home for sale. It is only a block down the street from the traditional portion of the park and it backs up to the cliff on which the upper park is situated. Designed by architect Kirkland Cutter and built in 1916, it has 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and 6,200+ square footage on 3.16 acres. The woodwork is exquisite, the setting is private and there’s even a guest house. It can be yours for 1.18 million dollars.

DSCN0700 late summer sunset sky, vapor trails, home, resized

Then we drove home and appreciated our own humble abode and the sunset sky. The view is free.

Slackline

DSCN2849 waterfall

Niagara Falls, August 2009

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?

Life is Good Camping imageGoogle & 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.

DSCN2513  Bedside Books 4x6

Ye old bedside table overfloweth

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.

DSCN1354 2013 Slackline World Cup

photo taken at the 2013 Slackline World Cup tour in Spokane, WA