Bits of Bliss

I don’t get a lot of downtime and I am rarely alone. Quite frankly, I don’t often sit down and silence is a strange and very unusual sound for me. I do not have significant blocks of time to myself.

I am though, cultivating my ability to savor tiny, miniature moments that I can carve out of my days here and there. I grab these little moments where and when I can. When that’s all that you have, you hang on to them tightly.

On Monday, I decided to clean the pool. When I don’t want to do other chores, I clean the pool. I sprayed and scrubbed, skimmed and vacuumed. As always, I brought my favorite, waterproof speaker with me and tuned Pandora to ’80’s Pop’. When I realized the sun was strong and hot, I decided my bathing suit was in order – because the more skin I can get into the sunshine, the better! I noticed the pool was sparkling blue, clean and clear. I also noticed that no one was calling for me, my Adirondack chair was within reach and ZZ Top, Robert Palmer and Culture Club were streaming from my speaker. I had the ingredients for a delicious little break.

So I plunked myself down in my yellow chair in one of my favorite spots – my tiny deck, in the tiny yard of my tiny house with my favorite decade of music swirling around my head. I put my feet up on the warm, wooden railing and tipped my head back. With my eyes closed, it might as well’ve been Tahiti.

Dennis asked what I was doing. ‘Nothing’, I said literally. I did that for the 17 minutes it took my phone to run out of batteries. My perfect little capsule of leisure came to an end and I commenced my ‘real’ chores and the rest of my day.

On another day, I found myself kidless (what?) with a few extra moments between appointments. My sister called me on my cell and asked me what I was doing. What I was doing was sitting in my car in the Shoprite parking lot with the AC blasting, eating a salad that I didn’t make, listening to Neverwhere by Nail Gaiman on Audible. All. By. My. Self.

My sister laughed at me when I told her I’d have to call her back.

I adjusted my chair for maximum legroom and adjusted the temperature controls further towards the little blue snowflake. I snapped open the clear plastic lid of a super-market salad bar salad. No chopping for me – just pure enjoyment. Neil Gaiman’s dreamy voice and fetching accent narrate his own books. Thank God. I’ll save Neil Gaiman for another post – I am late to discover his cache of books and am REALLY sorry about that.  I had exactly 20 minutes to kill. Just enough.

And it is just enough. But I have to watch for the moments so carefully. They are like the little blocks in Tetris that begin to pass in front of you so quickly and if you don’t watch carefully, you are not sure how they fit in until they are going so fast they stack up and end your game! I watch for them coming and realize I can fit that little piece in – right here, right now.

Because those little moments of bliss –

You gotta grab ’em.

Sometimes it takes a set back to realize we need to slow down and replenish, we can't do it all, here's an honest from the heart post about creative burnout

Queen of the World

I was once Queen of the World.

You don’t think so?!

Check out the entries on this very blog from September, 2010 or July 2012 or June 2014. Farms and experiments, day trips and tiny, adorable children dot those pages. Easy, breezy fun happened at ever turn and all things were new and exciting. I had little kids whose needs, quite honestly, were easily met.

Even if I was not Queen of the World, I was, at least, Queen of Pancakes, Playdates, Parks and Picnic Blankets – and that is saying a lot.

I haven’t blogged much over the last year, because so much has changed and I now live on another planet. The terrain is unfamiliar and the atmosphere is completely different. Ethan is now an adult and I like to vent my frustrations write about this new world at Living With A Happy Man.  The system in which we are dealing and the emotions that I am contending with are running a tight second to the disconcerting first few years of his life.

The smiling, muddy homeschoolers who were the muses of most of my posts became teenagers and went off to public school. They took to that like fish to water, while I was left floundering a little in a very different role. Definitely NOT Queen of the World. More like waitress and chauffeur. I could not have known the immensity of the statement ‘little kids, little problems’ and the converse about big kids until now. I have really, really good kids – and this teen parenting thing is intense. Emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually, I am always reckoning with an issue with or for one of them.

The adorable, miniature accessory I used to have, otherwise known as ‘Sean’, does not even resemble the skinny little toddler who graced my pages with great photos entitled ‘The Daily Sean’. He is 8 and thinks he’s 12. No kid shows or toys for this one. I’ve been cheated. Homeschooling alone is nothing like the homeschooling a passel and we are trying to find our footing on this new planet I told you that we now inhabit.

This one will ALWAYS pose for a picture! Makes me happy 🙂

My teens do not love me sharing their personal information or letting me take photos for that matter. I feel like an era is over and that has made it hard to continue here in my little corner of cyberspace. But, I’ve been soul searching and going to therapy, which turns out are the same thing, and I realized that writing is my jam. I acknowledge that I like it, love it and really want to hone it. What better place to do that than here.

So it’s back to the drawing board, literally. My goals is to write about what is in front of me – the sights, the sounds and the experiences. My goal is to be authentic and get a little (or a lot) personal.

My goal, really, is to write.

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Blog Envy & Love

I am a people watcher in every sense of that term. Whatever your lifestyle – I’m interested. I especially like to watch people that live nothing like me. I love to peak into someone else’s corner of the universe. I am always inspired and entertained by other people.

So if you’ve painted every piece of furniture in your home or your kids have never had a grain of sugar, you live full-time in an RV, are a missionary, a vegan, a Mormon, or you live off the grid – I’m intrigued. I read blogs by moms of children with fatal diagnoses, who have adopted many special needs children and moms who have their own disabilities that make parenting exceptionally hard.

I often hear moms comment on how certain blogs make them feel inadequate. Most comments center on how perfect someone makes everything seem. I just don’t see it that way. Maybe by the time you’re looking at the beginning of crows feet in the mirror, you’ve come to terms with the fact that there is no such things as ‘perfect’ and if it look like there is, someone’s about to have a psychotic break. Oh, I’ve seen that first hand too!

I am glad that people go out into the blogosphere to share their lives, talents, strengths and struggles. I see the posts as snapshots into a part or piece of their lives, not their whole lives. I’m grateful that someone else has figured out the copycat recipe for the Coffee Coolatta, logged 24 videos on learning to crochet, reviewed 10 apps to monitor your teens online, shared their financial plan to stay in their RV six months out of the year and how they chalk painted their dining room set – because I want to do some of it too! Most times when I think of something I want to have – a cleaner house, more patience, an early-morning routine – I look for a blogger who has it and has done it. When Dennis and I wanted to take a cross country RV road trip, you can bet we turned to the bloggers. Instead of envy – I ALWAYS ask how!!

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If I spent my time on jealously instead of capturing the information on how they do it, I’m missing out, not them.

I’ve looked back over this blog to see what I’ve chosen to highlight – and it’s usually the high points. I love taking a tiny piece of my life, making the effort to snap a photo, and then hanging on to one wonderful facet of the day or week by memorializing it in blog form. I love expanding out the moment with the attached feelings and emotions to process these brief parts of my life. For myself, it is not an effort to make my life seem perfect (Dennis reminds me that it would be impossible to do that with our life) but an effort to remind myself – and you – that although life is not perfect – there are moments that are deliciously perfect.

There are also the times that I’ve blogged about being SAD or how overwhelming I sometimes find my family. As I mentioned, Dennis said I could never look perfect anyway, so you’re safe over here.

Here’s my theory – I believe mothers, as a group, have been divinely imparted with all the knowledge necessary to get our jobs done. I know how to do a bunch of things well. You are probably nailing the things that I am not. I see it! I believe we have everything we will ever need – you might just need to turn to the mom next to you…

or the next blog over.

If you read a blog that you love – link it in the comments. If you have a blog you that grates on your nerves – send that to me too 😉 

 

The Voice In My Head

To The Voice in My Head,

Please excuse me while I attempt to discern whether you are friend or foe. I need to know if you are intuition revealing to me the secrets to my success or a distant cousin of OCD promising me ridiculous, infomercial-type control of my environment.

Are you here to inspire, lead and direct or distract and pacify my anxiety. Please tell me so that we can carry on, would you?

You insist that if I devote time now to putting systems and plans in place (and that will be A LOT of  work), I will have more time for the rest of the year to do some things I want to do. You say if I declutter, sell, donate, give away and otherwise dispose of extraneous items from my house and put cleaning, meal planning and other nasty little chores on automatic systems, I can be relieved of some of the burdens that are giving me a pain from the inside of my left shoulder blade up to the back of my head.

You assure me that ‘Spring Cleaning’ is not, in fact, reserved for Spring and NOW – right now – is the time to wash the cabinets, mop the floors and wipe down baseboards. You are completely certain that one full, top to bottom scrubbing of walls, windows, shelves and anything that will stand still is the answer to even my most existential questions.

Do you really have answers or are you trying to make me crazy?

The thing is, I am starting to believe you. Now, do you happen to know where I can get seven, magical days in which to clean & organize everything I need to make the year easier? Does anyone know how to stop space & time? Message me.

New Year

What’s so good about the New Year?! Only EVERYTHING.

It’s like ‘Hope’ in a bottle. ‘Hope In A Bottle’ is not what caused my party-goers to fall down the front stairs, doze off on the couch or take a little rest on my front lawn. It was beautiful revelry – with a side of Karaoke. Totally my cup of tea.

partyroomThe dates leading up to the New Year…28…29….30….ah! They call to me. ‘Look! A blank page, a new start, a chance to begin again.’ Dennis laughs and asks me if I realize that I don’t need to wait for a date on the calendar for all of these things. Of course I do! There is no avoiding it – it really is 1/1 and to me that is exciting.

The day is a tool. Aren’t they all? It’s a reminder, a symbol and a beacon. It is a clear demarcation – a line in the proverbial sand? Do you know how much I love sand?

I use today to set intentions and solidify my ideas. Last year and this year I used Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year workbook. I unraveled, raveled and developed a word for my year. No, I can’t tell you! It’s super-secret. But it’s awesome.

I have a new pen and a new notebook. I have plans, dreams, resolutions and goals neatly line up. I have big ideas that are full tiny details. I am constructing lists. I am one big walking, talking and breathing New Year’s cliche and I love every minute of it.

Happy New Year everyone. You don’t have to do it my way, but do it someway. Sure, it’s just another day, but it is all that we’ve got.

Can you guess what one of my New Year’s Resolutions is?

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Sunday Scenes – Cleaning on a Sunday

Here is what I saw and photographed on Sunday.

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My Xbox Avatar – I like her!

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A common sight to see – the back of Ethan as he walks into my mother’s house. His favorite place to be.

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He had to see if he still fit in the sink. Why?

My brain told me to clean the living room.

I tried tidying.

It said ‘clean’ – as in move furniture, wash floors, cull books, dust lightbulbs (yes, my brain is like that) and clean the windows. If you don’t have a shred of obsessive-compulsive tendencies, you would not understand a brain that tells you that if you comply, and do what it wants, all will be well and right with world.

All will be right?! How could I not?

As I cleaned, I found a tragically lost library book. If you know anything about my library habits, I have on occasion had 99 library books out at one time – and I DO NOT lose library books. I searched for it and made it the topic of prayer ~ and here it was wedged behind a small book shelf partnering up with silvery gray dust bunnies in an effort to hid itself.

Now it is found.

All is right with the world.

My brain is good like that.

Sunday Scenes – As Is

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A mess to clean

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Sick Boy

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Dinner Entertainment

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Geeky Cuzzy Luv

Cabinet of Curiosities. Dusted.