Finding myself in my junk


Today I am finally making time to unpack some things that have been put away for so long that I have forgotten what all I have. It just an hour I was able to clean off  and reorganize a large metal shelf, and go through a few totes. I was lucky enough to find many things that just need washing up and donating, and bunch of derelict things that just needed to be thrown away. Good thing tomorrow is garbage day.

I also found a few things that took me down a strange memory lane. These are things I have hung on to solely for sentimental reasons. I have always said that I will find something to do with these objects, but I never really do. Now that I am really cleaning out, I really do need to find a place for these things in my home that is worthy of them.

First is a group of really old, really soft pillow cases, which have been embroidered on. I am not sure who did the embroidery, but I know that it was by my Grandmother, her sister the famous Aunty B., or their mother, Great Grandma L. img_3434.jpgI have always thought that to use them would be the best thing to go, but I can’t bring myself to use them for fear that they will wear away and the stitching  will come out causing these beautiful pieces of antique handwork to be destroyed.

I find it appalling that I have left them in a tote, or some other such container, for so many years. Having dug through Pinterest, I think I have found a solution. It seems I am not alone in my wish to find a use for these without harming them. Many people are hanging them up as artwork, and I think I will so the same. My spare room will be the perfect place to hang them up until I have access to my Older Son’s room. He is looking to move in with friends, and I’ll miss him but it’s long past time for him to move on with his life.

Speaking of Older Son, I found pieces of a baby blanket I was making for when I was pregnant with him. It was the first time I attempted a corner granny square pattern, and IMG_3436didn’t do a very good job at it. Those pieces have been in a zippered plastic bag for longer than he has been alive, and he is now 24. After he was born,  I just all of a sudden hated the colors, and so it went into the bag unfinished.

Now I look at it and wonder if these can be salvaged. It occurs to me that perhaps I could make a shawl out of them just to wear around the house. Or, I could finish the actual blanket and keep it for when Older Son may have his own kids.  I’ll need to block the pieces so they aren’t so misshapen, and hopefully I can make something usable out of them. It should make a quick winter project. I may just have to say goodbye to these crooked little shapes, and move on. More to come on that.

I wonder what else I will find in the next hour of rummaging through my very voluminous pile of dust collecting things stashed in my basement? It will be an adventure for sure. I know I am guaranteed to find more of what I call “pots of poison”, which are things that belonged to my ex husband, but I will just gather those up and send them to his house when Older Son goes to visit. Easy enough to get rid of, and so I should stop referring to them as poison, which mostly will kill a person.

Here’s hoping you find treasures in your homes that make you smile, and feel nostalgia for times and people who are no longer around, and not so much stuff that brings back bad memories. Either way, it’s just stuff and stuff that brings bad memories can be disposed of in many ways. Blessings all!

 

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My garden longs for your brains…


… but some sunshine and warmth would suffice. 

Day 16 – Need to get my hands in the garden dirt


As I sit here wrapped in my shawl, slurping my post-walk coffee, I feel longing for warmer temps and green things.

It’s about this time every year that I begin to wonder if I will have the time to garden this year and, if I think I do, what will I plant?

I always plant tomatoes. I love the little grape tomatoes the most. They are my favorite snack to eat while puttering around my back yard. I don’t often get to putter, but when I do, I have a handful of these lovely little beauties. It’s like sunshine on a vine, the best flavor, and one of my most favorite things about Summer.

This year, I think I am going to try to spruce up my front yard a little bit. It’s been a blank slate for the whole of the almost 17 years I’ve lived in this house, with the exception of one summer when I planted flowers down by the sidewalk. This year, I think it’s going to be fruit bearing shrubs. I might just get wild and plant something different like Lingon berries, and maybe some blueberries. I’m hoping to create a space that is pretty, yet useful.

Some years ago, I planted some trees on my western property line, and they have made a difference in how the snow blows through my yard. I even had quite a few Nanking cherries on my bush last year, but the birds and squirrels got them. This year maybe I will net the tree to  keep the birds out, so I can have enough to make some jelly for my Dad.

My Dad told me a story about eating Nanking cherries off of bushes as a kid, just out playing in the neighborhood. They grow so well here, that they just grow everywhere if left alone. That’s the kind of plant I like.

I have a rule for my property, and any plant that lives here. They must enjoy neglect and abuse. I am not home a lot, and anything I plant here cannot be delicate or needy.

Or, maybe I just need to be home more so I can plant a larger variety of things? That’s certainly a consideration that has bowled across my brain consistently this winter, for a whole host of reasons.

If you enjoy gardening and the itch to dig around the soil and plant things has got you, here’s hoping you have fun planning your garden. These last months running up to Spring seem to last forever! Blessings all!

 

The peace of home


Sunday mornings have become one of those times in the week where I get to have a little peace and quiet. I think the most important part of that is that I get to spend time in my house. I’m not home a lot, but that’s slowly changing, as I have been on the run with life for so long, it’s become apparent that I just really need to spend more time keeping the place up.

Line dried towelsThis morning, I managed to get two loads of laundry washed and on the line. In between, I sealed my front porch, which was so very, VERY dry. I even managed to get the bills paid. All in all, it was a very productive morning.

While waiting for my last load of wash to get finished so I could get it on the line to dry, I sat in my living room for a few minutes, sipping a fresh cup of coffee. Those few moments of peace and quiet were so awesome. It’s rare that there isn’t a radio, or Ipod playing, or sometimes the tv is running. Even the traffic was quiet. Just about the only thing I could hear was the laundry sloshing around in the washer, and the clock ticking.

Quiet, steady ticking sounds, like a clock, are so comforting to me. That, and traffic out in front of the house, is something I strongly associate with my childhood. My grandparents’ house is not too far from where I live now, and you could say I grew up there. No matter where we lived, their house was always a constant in my life. They had a cuckoo clock my dad got them before I was born, and it had the requisite little bird that would pop out on the hour. I always loved to watch my Grandpa wind up the clock with the long, delicate chains that hung down from the bottom. They lived on a very busy street, and traffic sounds were a constant.

Sometimes, if I close my eyes and just sit still and listen, it’s almost like I am sitting in their living room again.

So now it’s night-time, and I am lying in bed with my laptop, and the radio is running because I just don’t sleep well without talk radio. I have it turned down really soft, and all I can hear besides that is the sound of the computer and whatever random traffic out front. The irony is not lost on me that it drove me nuts when Grandma listened to talk radio at night, and it kept me up. Now I can’t sleep without it!

Something that is missing in my home is the solid feeling of my grandparents’ house. They had this really solidly build home, with heavy oak doorways that were darkly stained. The front door was so big and heavy that I couldn’t open it by myself when I was small. It always had this big heavy feeling like laying under layers of warm blankets on a cold night. It was a comfortable, homey, safe place, and I miss it every single day.

That home was sold in ’96 after Grandma died, and the folks who bought it take really good care of it. It got wet during the Flood of 2011, but they restored it and it looks wonderful. It broke my heart to see it under water, but I am so grateful they have taken pride in it and have made it their home for so long.

So, I wonder how it is that I can create that same feeling when I walk into the home I live in now? That’s a mystery. Perhaps it is just my perception because it’s a different house, or perhaps it’s because I have never really liked this house. I respect it because it has kept my family dry and warm all these years. It was my world during my divorce because I only left it to go to work, or shuttle the boys around, for a good two years. This crappy little fixer-upper has its charms, but it won’t hurt my feelings to leave it. I wonder how I will feel when the day comes to move? I’ve lived here 16 years, and there are a lot of memories here, good and bad.

Maybe the answer is to just spend more time at home, and stop being on the run so much? I guess I will just keep inching along, making repairs and upgrades as I go, until it feels like home. It never really has, even though I’ve lived here a long time. I’m betting that I can overcome that feeling if I try hard enough.

Here’s hoping you find peace in your home, and that it makes you feel safe and comforted in that space. Blessings all 🙂

 

Taking over my little Universe, one room at a time!


So much to talk about, and I don’t know where to start!

Well, I promised pictures from my bedroom makeover, so I will start there.

My beginning inspiration was the new bedspread and curtains:

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After I had those picked out, I chose a nice light gray paint, so light it’s almost white, and a super bright white for the trim.

I started out with a room that was painted two crappy colors of brown, and here are the before pictures. You can see where I started cutting in the new paint, and the contrast of the two tones of the brown. I think my room had been like that for 10 years or so. How freaking depressing !

You can see the new bed spread and curtains don’t look like much with the brown paint.

After a few coats of paint and a bunch of elbow grease, I was able to take this after picture. I still need to get a matching curtain for my closet door.

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Now add the new night stand and head board:

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This last picture is a little dark, but trust me, it’s like waking up in a cloud. My new room makes me so happy, and it took very little to make it happen. Sure, I had to spend some money, and there were some late nights spent trying to get it done, but it was so worth it!

So what else is new in my neck of the woods?

My new job continues to be awesome, and I have a lot of job satisfaction. I know it won’t always be this way, because life doesn’t ever stay static, so I am enjoying it while it lasts. Hopefully it will last a good long while.

Younger Son is coming home after being out at sea for 8 months. I got to talk to him on the phone for the first time since November, and it was so good to hear his voice. Just that simple act of speaking with him on the phone let off a lot of steam I didn’t realize had been building up. It appears that I was kind of holding my breath all of this time. Even with email, mail, and Facebook, it was so little contact. I don’t know how loved ones did it in the days before social/electronic media, when their kids joined the service and were gone for long stretches of time. He comes home soon, and it will be so awesome to have all of my chicks back in the nest again.

Older Son has been having a stretch of good luck in that he was able to replace an old car with a newer, cheaper-to-run vehicle. He even got a break on his insurance. Fabulous!!

The city is gearing up for the State Fair which begins next week. This year, I think we will just go for one day. Usually we go for multiple days, but it gets expensive, and doesn’t change much from year to year. I still get excited when it starts up, though. Older Son will be in the Parade this year, so I may just go watch it. This will be the first Parade Saturday that I haven’t had a prior commitment for a long time.

Well, I’m working on my 2nd cup of coffee, and I think I will finish that up and get to work on my house. The laundry needs to get going, and everything else needs picking up and scrubbing. After chores are done, I think I will go shop for a new BBQ, and plot my next home improvement project: Kitchen Part 2 – paint & floor! I feel like I am finally taking over my own little universe, one room at a time!

Here’s wishing you all a lovely, relaxing Saturday, with which you can plot how you will take over your universe! Blessings all!

Finding light in dark corners


You’ve heard me talk about procrastination quite a bit over the years in the blog. I’m a pro…just saying.

Yesterday, I had the whole day to really dig through some things and get rid of the stuff that I don’t need or want. Instead, I puttered around my house, just going from here to there, and back again, doing little things. I did manage to get the underside of my TV stand cleaned out, as well as the middle of my china cupboard. What I also should have done yesterday was clean out the bottom of the china cupboard.

But I didn’t. I found some very creative ways to avoid it.

Why, you ask? What could be so terrible in the bottom of the china cupboard that you can’t clean it out?

Probably a bunch of things. You see, I have many nooks and crannies where I stuffed things away just to put them somewhere. Also, I have a tendency to put things away to keep them safe, and then I never find them again. Oh, they are very safe, indeed…even from me!

I have a sneaking suspicion that there are a bunch of pre-divorce items lurking in the bottom of that cupboard, and I don’t want to deal with them. I have finally had a little bit of peace and it’s upsetting every time I have to deal with those things again. For instance, while cleaning out the middle of the china cupboard, I found several pictures of my ex husband, with the boys. I quickly stuffed those away in another pile of pictures so I don’t have to see them again for a while.

However, in my cleaning out of nooks and crannies yesterday, I was reminded of something. This thing, which is something I need to remind myself of, constantly, is that there is light even in the darkest of corners.

I found some interesting things that I hadn’t seen in years, and was glad to find. Pictures, without my ex husband in them, of my kids, and of other family members and friends. Batteries, which I sorely needed, and now don’t have to go buy. Paperwork that I thought was lost, but only put away. So many things that I needed to see.

The reality is that I found very little nasty dark little things in those dark, dusty corners, and found quite a bit that I needed or enjoyed. It wasn’t as painful as I always think it’s going to be. There were more blessings than not.

The bottom of the china cupboard is next, tonight, and I’ll be throwing a whole bunch of nasty little dark things away, and keeping the treasures that I find. Hopefully it will be a short expedition!

Here’s hoping that you find much unexpected light in the darkest corners of your space, and that you find many treasures to make your day. Blessings all!

 

Getting my way on Mother’s Day


Greetings all,

First, let me wish all of you Mothers in the blogosphere a very happy Mother’s Day!

I’m being selfish with my time today, because I can get away with it. Mother’s Day, much like a birthday, is a good excuse to gather with family and friends, eat good food and enjoy each others company. It’s not necessarily my favorite holiday, as that slot has been occupied for a very long time by Thanksgiving, but it does have it’s good points. Top on the list of Mother’s Day’s good points is that I get to say what goes.

Here’s my list of things I want today… and by golly, I’m going to get all of it.

1. I want to spend time on my blog (check…mission accomplished!). I get precious little time to come out here anymore, to write or to read my favorite blogs. Today, I get to spend time here. Yes!

2. I want to cook lasagna from scratch today. I love to cook, and don’t get a chance to very often. I have invited my parents over for supper tonight, and when I told Mom what was on the menu, she tried to tell me I should buy a frozen lasagna instead of making it from scratch. I was surprised at how I almost came completely unhinged. I know her heart was in the right place – she didn’t want me to put too much effort into cooking dinner on Mother’s Day. She just doesn’t understand how much like to cook, and how deprived I am in that department. That’s ok… I’ll get my way in the end.

3. I want asparagus. (Demanding wench, aren’t I?) I haven’t had asparagus in years because my picky children won’t eat it, and it really doesn’t pay me to buy it if I am the only one that likes it. Today, it’s just too bad for everyone else that doesn’t like it. I. Will. Have. My. Asparagus! In fact, I have a lovely new recipe that I found on Pinterest for roasted asparagus with olive oil and thyme. I can’t wait!

4. I want to clean my house. The boys are generally pretty good about helping out around the house, but their idea of clean and my idea of clean are galaxies apart. I’ve spent such precious little time at home lately that what little I am able to do gets undone pretty quickly. Today, that gets corrected, even to the point of scrubbing out the fridge. I think something died in there, and is crying out for a decent burial. Argh!

5. I want to spend time in my yard. Spring finally did make it to North Dakota, and there hasn’t been a snowflake in sight for a good three weeks. I think Winter is finally gone for good this year, but I’ll leave my collection of snow shovels out until June 1, because I am just that superstitious about that sort of thing. My yard needs a good raking, and my strawberry/kitchen garden needs to be weeded. There are lots of plants returning from last year, but the grass is trying to overtake them. Time to get out the gloves and open a can of whoop-ass on that nasty invader.

There it is…my top five demands for today, in all of their glorious depravity. Like I said, today I get what I want, and no one best get in my way…or else! 😉

Lilacs half bloomed on May 23rd 2010

Here’s hoping all of you Moms in the blogosphere get exactly what you want, how you want it, and when. More importantly, I hope you have a lovely day with your families and friends.