Category Archives: thoughts

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?

Save

Unraveled

I know it. I just can’t admit it. I keep getting to the end of row 5 and I fumble to finish just right. I haven’t taken the time to locate the exact spot to place my last stitch. I settle for a couple of different solutions to ending this row repeatedly and they all seem like ‘close enough’ solutions.

rav1I assure myself each time I finish the row that it will all work out in the end. I fight what I misconstrue as perfectionism. I fight the feeling that what does not feel quite right – is not, in fact, quite right.

rav1xThey are the tiniest of errors. A loop or two off. I can’t believe I have to drag out the pattern again. I convince myself there must be a way to just keep going. I am sure it’s fine.

It’s not fine. The edge of my project is working up crooked, scrunched and pulling on the row above and below it. Small errors culminate in an unattractive edge. The yarn is expensive, the pattern complicated and my intention for this garment is to bring peace, love & joy to the person I will gift it to. Excellence and solid foundation is called for and I have settled repeatedly for efforts that not only left my project misshapen and ugly, but I have tripled the amount of work required to fix it.

rav2The steps I need to take are overwhelming. If I want to fix what I have done, I need to backtrack to a place that I thought I passed long ago. I have something built and functioning ~ even if it is not perfect. But perfection turns out not to be the problem. The problem was lying to myself and ignoring the signs. Before I take such drastic steps, I pray. I pray about ripping it all out. It needs to be done.

It seems so drastic. Pulling out each stitch faster and faster and wrapping the yarn back into shapeless balls, unworked. My project shrinks to a measly couple of rows – a mere beginning of a shawl meant to wrap someone in comfort.

Staring at my unraveled yarn feels wonderful. The mistakes have been ripped out, they are gone and are not longer twisted mistakes that will go on to affect the whole rest of my work. I have stripped it down to the bare minimum and I need to begin just where I have left off. This time I am equipped with the information I need to place the stitches in the proper place. It was not even that the stitches were wrong – just misplaced.

I try again. I pay attention. I work and re-work until it feels right and looks right. It is right.

It is even and appealing and provides the solid foundation needed for the next row – which will also be appealing and solid and so on. The cumulative effect of one good choice after another.

I was scared of how I would feel if I, I mean my project, was unraveled. I would have to admit my mistakes – you know – in my project – before I could truly fix them and replace my stitches in just the right spots.

I am glad this is just a crochet project and not something so much more serious, like my life. You know?

Summer Carnage

The garden is weedy and leggy and the lettuce has bolted. Battered sneakers lay on the front steps, weathered from river walks.  Bathing suits are faded and thread bare from chlorine and salt water. My hair is dry – the texture of summer hay – designed by being out-of-doors more hours than in.

Phone messages are beckoning with blinking lights on the phone console and laundry is statically many loads short of done. Meal planning has digressed to the point that the term ‘meal planning’ cannot be used for what I am doing – which is rummaging through the freezer for appetizers and chicken wings overlooked by the last party. The to-do lists and projects remain undone. Unfortunately. Very unfortunately.

I pursue July & August like a gorgeous, popular best friend of whom I cannot get enough. Pretty and tan – I want all of her attention. I grab at the days desperately in an attempt to feed my addiction to the light, and heat, water, waves and blue skies. I both consume it and am consumed by it in a glorious paradox. Summer.

Even now, there are school forms to be filled out, appointments to be made, routines to be adhered too and activities require that I promptly get on the September merri-go-round.

Excuse me if I don’t comply. If there are sunny warm days that need my attention, I’ll have to reschedule.

September’s Summer only has 18 more days. Astronomical Autumn will occur on September 23.

If it’s good enough for the sun, moon & stars, it’s good enough for me.

“Summer ends, and Autumn comes,
and he who would have it
otherwise would have high tide always
and a full moon every night.”
~ Hal Borland

Kondo-ing

Have you read it? Do you know about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? I’ve read it and now I am putting into practice the wisdom of the magnificent Marie Kondo.

But, I did not always feel this way about Ms. Kondo. She wasn’t jiving with me. I didn’t feel her. The videos I watched on Youtube did not do her and her theories justice – or I just couldn’t ‘hear’ it yet. Then, some interesting things happened. First, although I was on the waiting list for her book at the library (36 of 52!) I found the book on the ‘It’s Your Lucky Day’ table. And it was indeed. Her written words found their way to my heart. Not coincidentally, I have also decided to engage in a particular type of therapy (the kind with a therapist) that has a lot to do with ‘unburdening’ parts of yourself.

People, if you don’t think things and clutter are all mixed up with the ‘things’ and ‘clutter’ inside of you…well, they are. This sister is more than ready to part with all the issues and stuff that rears it’s ugly head in both therapy and in the ‘Kondo’ing of my home.

So top to bottom, I am clearing out the crap. And it’s not all crap – but that doesn’t mean you have to own it. Some things are useful, some things seem sentimental, some things can still be used – none of that means you need to keep it.

“From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change. That’s why the task of putting your house in order should be done quickly. It allows you to confront the issues that are really important. Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.”
Marie Kondo

Do not take anyone else’s word for how to sort your things with the KonMari Method – you really need to let her words sink into your psyche on their own. I thought I was good at this – not so much.

Her method is better. I have done my clothes, my dresser, closet, pantry, china closet, and most of the kitchen cabinets. I am doing the bathrooms, attic and linen closets.

Here are my beloved baking supplies. I don’t even think the first picture ‘looks’ that bad. I have assumed for a really long time that all was well in that cabinet. But, Ms. Kondo has you empty the entirety of the cabinet to assess what’s going on. I swear – I thought I had this.

Above, is my spice/cooking cabinet. I thought the same thing about that. Turns out I took a whole tash bag full of things out these cabinets. I found multiple items that were grotesquely expired. I found things I had three of and donated or gifted them to friends and family. I found things that I thought I would use someday – it just doesn’t happen and it is time to accept that. Because being ‘unburdened’ feels…well…like being unburdened.

This is a small example of Kondoing – and yes, I am using it as a verb – because it feels like a verb.

She explains that this ‘cleaning’ up time is an event. You should not have to do it forever. Those methods of slow, progessive decluttering only prolong an event that could be over & done with. She says ‘organizers’ are hoarders ~ gasp!

As an chronic organizer, I have to agree. So I quit.

I am over here, Kondoing. Even the books. Yes, even those. So far, no regrets. I feel lighter, I feel freer. I just know that this is step in the right direction for whatever is coming next.

Do you think that is from the cleaning or the therapy? Maybe they are one in the same 🙂

“All you need to do is take the time to sit down and examine each item you own, decide whether you want to keep or discard it, and then choose where to put what you keep.”

Handsful

I said it right there at the kitchen counter. I just said it.

“Really Dennis! Who thought having four children was a good idea?”

Oh! Ma! God! Did I really say that?!

Just like the very young ultrasound technician who gave me the most horrified look and judgmental stares when I cried because I found out Sean was not, in fact, a girl. Get over it.

Sometimes I think unhappy thoughts. Sometimes I think downright dark thoughts. Sometimes I just wonder out loud why I had four kids. Is it really so wrong?

Today was one of those days when I had washed and dried 7 loads of laundry and there was barely a noticeable difference in the laundry room. Still so many piles.

I have a list of phone calls to make regarding medical issues and school stuff, camp decisions and working papers, appointments and bills and all manner of issues regarding….the kids. The list, printed on the cute, organizer paper labeled ‘To Call’, is a joke. Maybe a list of who I DON’T have to call would be shorter.

There is a pile of papers on my desk, leaning to one side that contains items like info on Mikey’s school trip, Gavin’s application to the vocational high school, Ethan’s prom and Special Olympics papers, library schedules and information about programs and classes. It is teetering. Like my sanity.

Can I watch a show? Where is the antibacterial cream? Have you seen an Indian Jones hat for my Lego minifigure? Is there something else, besides THIS for lunch? Unending questions. X4

It gets rough. Really rough. Sometimes it helps me to say appalling things out loud. I feel like if I say it, then I’m just not thinking it, and I can make it seem less like an elephant in the room – or in my brain. So there. I said it. I said out loud that sometimes I find it completely overwhelming that we have 4 kids.

I know enough now to know that the tide will turn. I will not get stuck with this thought. I already know, that some days (or weeks or months) get long and tiring. I know that sometimes it feels like the light at the end of the tunnel is a train and I know that sometimes, it actually is the sun.

4 sons.

I have my hands full. Really, really full.

Thank God.