A Room of My Own

Recently, we have worked on making a space for me to piddle. I needed a desk and storage space close at hand. I also needed a spot for a small book case.

This is a big house. But, I needed a spot that could be private and closed off when visitors come. I didn’t want to have to pick up a mess in the middle of a project when having company. I didn’t want to worry about supplies being where little hands could come to harm. I need our bedroom serene and our public rooms uncluttered. I need the guest room clear of messes. His work room is too full and too chaotic for me to share with him.

There is a large pantry, or utility room, as Mother called it. I call it the wash room. Washer, dryer, second icebox, upright deep freezer, small sink, a closet with deep shelves, a built in storage pantry. Lots of room for a desk, too. I now have a spot. I am enjoying the space very much.

I am surprised at my response. It was with some reluctance I decided to try out my idea. He has been nothing but supportive and helpful. He helped bring home and put together the desk I found at the second hand store. I am typing this sitting here at the desk. Listening to the rain outside. The lamp sitting up high providing soft light to work.

I also share this room with our puppy dog. He has not bothered anything in here. I did have to move his kennel bed out. I will store it in the shed in case of emergency. We retrained him to sleep on his blanket in a different spot in the wash room.

I don’t have all my things sorted and set up quite yet. I am taking my time and arranging as I go. I would also like to get my iPod loaded up with music and have a speaker hook up to listen. I need a no-tick clock, too. I have a digital clock to put in here. But it is on the back porch. So I need the no-tick clock for the back porch when I move the other one in here.

I am hopeful this new arrangement will lead to greater creative expression. Both with words and textiles. With paper or canvas and color, too. I have things to work on. Now, I have a place to work. Oh, no. That means I have fewer excuses.

I am working through a book about developing creative expression. I have worked the book previously. It was about five years ago. I have golden memories from the first time through it. I am expectantly hopeful to have an even better experience this time through.

For anyone interested, it is Finding Water by Julia Cameron. She is better known for The Artist’s Way. I have it also. Finding Water was better for me. Although I confess it has been a long time since I explored The Artist’s Way.

So many projects in my plans, so many books to read, so many things to study, so many words to write. I am trying to keep at it. Keep showing up. Do the work. Let go of outcomes. Let Him work out what He wants me to learn. Creating with the Creator, Himself, watching and encouraging. Awesome feeling. Even when it is just a simple stitch or a few paragraphs on a blog post. Even when it is just my old coloring book and chest of crayons. Maybe is it simply the quietness that allows me to hear His still small voice. “Here, child, have an orchid.”

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Lockhart

We went to the longhorn sale in Lockhart this weekend. Got to see lots of folks we have known for these many years in the business. Sold a cow and calf; bought a cow and calf and a heifer.

I have a young friend who lives in the Northwest.   Oregon cowgirl. She came with her father again this year. We are running buddies for the sale. She and I like to go to town and do a little shopping around the old town square. This old lady loves hanging out with that lovely teenager.

This year I went with her to a new spot for me. The San Marcos outlet mall. We had a good time and it was an adventure. I picked up a few things and so did she. She had been there before and had even gone the day before to scope out things.

During the sale, we went downtown as usual. They didn’t have the soap she likes at our favorite store this time. But, we always like prowling through all the shops of both new and used things. Lots of vintage and antiques to dig through. Some of the other ladies from the sale barn had made their way to town as well.

When I go to Lockhart or to other similar environments, I always get antsy to be creative. I see things others have put together and want to do something myself.

Today, I have salved the itch with my crochet thread and Pinterest. I crochet plain old dish rags from pretty cotton thread. I don’t really know what I want to do. Plus, I have given most of my crafting things to my daughter or the charity thrift store.

But, I have made some progress. I have talked with him about an idea for a work space. We are going to try to get something set up for me. I asked him about some ideas I have and he is going to help me with them. Simple as that. Just ask. Ask for help.

Often my argument against myself is the end product. What will I do with the end product? At this point, I am not thinking too much about that. Trying to focus on ideas and go through what I have at hand. Also, I am trying to pick one idea to pursue to completion. If I find success, I will probably share it here.

Fall and Hallowe’en are nearing. I would like to do some seasonal decorating. We don’t have much company, so it will have to be for me to enjoy. Can I stretch enough to do something just for me? If he and I are the only ones to see, will I be okay with that? Must I have a large audience or can it be an audience of two? I must consider myself to matter enough for special effort. Again, this lines up with the end product issue. Doing the creative process is one thing. Having an end product is something else. The southern girl in me thinks it is all about the show. Hospitality. Setting the stage for an event. I want to do things for my own satisfaction and pleasure. If someone else sees and enjoys, fine. If not, that will have to be fine, too.

“Don’t worry. Everything is going to be amazing.” That is the saying on the shirt I bought in San Marcos. It is under the motif of a full moon. Last week’s post. Aunt’s Facebook share. Shirt. Somehow it means something special. I am trying to listen to the message. Be still and know. He is trying to reassure me. I want to open my heart to new risks, challenge my mind with new ideas, let myself feel amazing.

I am not trying to save the world or even change it. I am simply trying to be who I should be. If it helps someone else, good. I have paid my dues in life. Children raised and wonderfully successful. Parents, grandparents nurtured until they left this world. Supporting friends and family the best I could at the given moment. Even now doing more of the same. I am working on giving myself permission to be just a little selfish. To be a little self-directed. To become more me. My shirt says it will be amazing!

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Blue Winter

Silly of me to feel this way.  I have had a blue winter day.  The sunshine of the island and the false spring days we have had lately didn’t stick with me today.  The gray sky and cold rain got me.   At least for part of the day.  I let myself get blue for a while.

I seem to have turned the mood around.  I switched to the 70’s music station on the television and actually did a little dancing.  Ironically, in front of the same mirror I danced before when it was the early 80s. I didn’t like dancing alone so I always danced in front of my mirror.  Tried it today to see if it would work on my blue mood.  Yes. It did.  Thank goodness.

Every time I have a down time, I fear the return of the black depression that has plagued me on and off through the years.

Lately, I have had some down days.  But, my thoughts haven’t really been down.  I feel more like I am bored.  I am busy, but not at anything very engaging or interesting.  I am slightly embarrassed to admit this.  I believe intelligence should overcome boredom.

Perhaps, I am reacting to job stress.  Maybe I have my thought processes zoned out to keep from stressing about the upcoming audit and the needs of my current position.  Not enough hours in the work week to do all that needs doing.  No overtime allowed at all.  Period.  This will be my third such audit that comes along every three years.  I always lose sleep over it.  We have always had great outcomes.  Nevertheless, I fret.  May is forever away and just around the corner.

Perhaps, I am unwilling to do things at home to make myself feel better.  I have been reading for pleasure.  I have a simple crocheted scarf almost completed.  I have a few crafting projects awaiting.  Even better than all this I have a wedding to help put together for our daughter.  Only parents and siblings and his daughter on the guest list, but still I want the event to be special and memorable for her.

Still, I have a gap in my attention.  I pass time piddling on Facebook or Pinterest, puttering around the house trying to keep up with the housekeeping, occasionally doing something in the yard.  Mindless things.  I need something to hold my attention and get my mind focused on the task at hand.

A hobby?  Yes.  I suppose a hobby other than reading and writing.  I hesitate to delve into something.  I can’t recall how many projects for which I have bought supplies and tools yet not completed or even started.   The tools and supplies are usually passed on to other crafters.  As I stated, I have a few projects I could do but not enough enthusiasm for them to drag stuff out and begin.

Frustrated.  That is it for me right now.  I was busier with projects when the children were young and Mother and Daddy needed my help than now when I have hours I could spend creatively.

What is the problem?  What do I really want to do with my time and creative energy?  Am I overreaching the issue?  Probably.  Break down the problem.  What do I really want to do this week with my time and energy?  Do I want to work out patterns to cut felt pieces for ornaments?  Do I want to get a darker washable ink to draw on the fabric I have been trying to embroider with my own design?  Do I want to try again to smear paint on a piece of canvas?  Would I rather write a draft of a new poem?  Should I work on the painted finish of the stool in the bathroom?

I have a friend or two I need to make time to call.  I have a cousin I need to call and hopefully be able to assist.  I have a birthday party to attend.

And always, I have him…..he needs attention.  I love giving him attention.  Sometimes, he lets me.  Sometimes, he is busy with his own projects.  When my blue winter days come, he gives me attention.  He turns the blue to silver and the gleam of delight returns to my heart.  I am ever mindful of him and what he might need from me.  After all, he is my favorite hobby.  And definitely never boring!

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Do NOT Give Up.

That is what I keep telling myself.  Do not give up the fight or give in to the darkness.  I have intentions.  I have desires.  I have wishes.  I am trying to make myself let go of the side of the pool and swim across the deep end.

What does that involve?  Letting some things go and focusing on the main things.  Focus.  That is the struggle.  If I focus on this thing, what happens to that thing?  I care about it, too.  I like too many things.  I want too many things.

I have for years read about simplifying and de-cluttering.  I have done a ton of work doing just that.  Even to look into my closets, most would be surprised at how little I really have in them.  None of my closets are packed.  They are fairly organized and tidy.  I have spent ages eliminating all sorts of things in my life.

The problem, as I said recently, may lie in the goals.  I have too many goals.  Too many things to distract me.  How do I get to the point of letting go of ideas?  I don’t have too much trouble letting go of things.  But, letting go of creative ideas is another struggle.

Even this weekend, I found some items for a project.  Spent a whole dollar at a yard sale on them.  It will take five or ten more dollars to have supplies to do the project.  How in the world do I get around to doing it?

Basic living seems to take up all of my time and energy.  And still I have not found a spot to allow myself to actually do some messy work.  I don’t have a work space.  I will set out some things and work a few hours.  Then, other things have to be done.  The work doesn’t continue.  The mess is in the way.  Back to the bins and closets it will go.

I am at a standstill.  No progress since last week.  I don’t know what to do or how to get through this block.  The basic steps would be get off the computer.  Get out the tools and supplies for one project.  Set up on the dining table.  Sit down and work.  Whoops.  My mind just raced off to worry about not getting the project completed and having to leave the mess out for a day or two.

I do believe I am ridiculous in my way of thinking.  I do believe there is a deeper issue.  I do believe I may break through to the real issue someday.  Therein lies the fear.  What if the real issue is something I cannot deal with?  What if it is too deep and too painful to deal with?  What if I go over the edge?  Into that black chasm?

My aunt asked me what I do to overcome the depression.  Riding it out.  Knowing it will pass.  It always does.  He holds on to me until I can hold on again.  I write a lot that is never read by others.  The darkest goes into the fire.  The darkness is less dark than in years past.  I do not use medication.

I do not lose touch with reality.  I know that is the greatest fear.  I have looked insanity in the eyes and called him Daddy.  He could not be reached in that dark place.  I associate creative pursuit with an unstable mind.  If I don’t get carried away with creativity, I won’t get carried away.

Understanding this behemoth does not slay the dragon.  I have not yet found the sword that will do the task.  It takes more than identifying and understanding and defining the problem to solve it.  A plan of action, resources to implement the plan, a time line to follow for the plan are not enough either.

There is another element needed.  Courage.  Daring.  Audacity. What it is called doesn’t matter.  Guts to jump off the high dive.  Guts to jump off the river bank.  What is the worst thing that could happen?  Yes, all of those things.  Look them in the eye and jump.  Plunge into the icy cold unknown.  Someone is waiting to reach out and pull me back in if the struggle is too much.  He has been doing so for more than thirty years.  When I am in too deep, he calls upon his Friend to help.

Maybe this week, I will have the audacity…………………….

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Not Achieving the Goal

Well, I did not get everything done as I had hoped.  I did get rid of almost everything that is not in progress or does not fit my vision or still hold interest for me.

I will claim the rainy weather as part of the problem.  Hard to paint furniture out on the carport when it is raining.

The small box of fabric is still here.  I have not been willing to let it go.  When I went through it, the projects I want to do are still viable and I am still interested.

The ceramic mermaid is still on the counter getting additional layers of paint whenever I get a chance.  She is almost finished.

I am going to “blame” him for not cutting the hooks from the fishing lures, yet.  My cutters and my hands are not strong enough.  I plan to hang them from cord on the porch or maybe in the living room.

I did succeed in editing things.  I have let go of a few things.  I am still trying to make time and room for what I want to expend energy doing.

The main thing for me is that I have not given up.  Never give up.  Never give in.  That saying about increasing your success rate by increasing your failure rate.  Fall down seven times, get up eight.

I am closer to my final goal than before.  I am allowing a mess to be present on my kitchen counter while I experience creative expression.  I am still trying.  I have not boxed it all up and stuffed it all back in the closet and retreated to the veil of sadness.

Maybe the goal is the problem.  Maybe I haven’t set the goal clearly or properly.  Maybe what I think I want is not what I really want.  Perhaps tomorrow things will be clearer.

At least I am a few limbs higher on the magnolia tree.  I’m not sure if I have clearly explained what the reference to the magnolia tree means in previous posts.   Next week, I may try to tell it.

Meanwhile, I will continue to collect orchids as they rain down in my life.  Supper last Friday with my daughter and him, many phone calls from my son sharing his and her experiences in paradise, time in the beautiful woods, keeping company with that man of mine, tons of birthday wishes received.  Simple things.  Beautiful life.  Orchids raining.

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Bearing Fruit

My life is sometimes too simple. Translate: boring. With no one left to take care of anymore except him, I end up with a lot of time on my hands. I still have plenty to do. My nine-to-five takes up most of Monday through Friday. I cook a meal most evenings. There are dogs and fish and a cat to see about. Housekeeping and gardening and washing take place. But none of that takes all my time. The weekends are usually busy, but not overly. I have time I could spend doing rather than piddling.

But what do I do? What do I want to do? I have some ideas. But, giving myself permission to do what I want to do appears to be the hurdle. I have trouble letting myself do certain things. Things I consider self-indulgent. Somehow, sitting in the chair playing on my laptop surfing Facebook or Pinterest seems okay. Sitting in the backroom trying to work out a problem with paint on canvas or with thread and trinkets does not.

Why? The first action requires little concentration. It is something that doesn’t produce an end product that must be dispositioned. It does not require continued acquisition of materials and supplies. It does not need to be explained. The second action does all of that. Further, the second action forces me to take risks with my skill and ability to bring into reality something I have imagined.

Frivolity in creative pursuit is not something I was encouraged to do. Sewing should produce wearable clothes. Quilting should produce useable quilts. Cooking should feed as many as possible with as little waste as possible. Trimming the crusts from bread was sacrilege. Painting on canvas was an indulgence for wealthier people. Mama did not mean it the way it worked out in my mind. But, it is there.

I put my life on hold a long time ago. I have kept it there in that safe place longer than needed. Getting the children grown, bidding too many loved ones goodbye, trying to figure out and adjust to my physical illness have required a holding pattern for me. No longer on the front lines of life, I would like to play a little. I would like to explore some creative work. I have always written. I have always taken photos. But, I want something more. Dare I take the risk to bear fruit?

Yaupons bear fruit in the dead of winter. Bright red berries on bushes that are as varied in shape as snowflakes. Tenacious. Prolific. Beautiful. Life-giving to feathered creatures. Perhaps, I should hear the lesson. Bear fruit even in winter. Accept my unique sense of the world. Be tenacious. Be prolific. Give life to the feathered beauty of my imagination.