Trending

I have been noticing and reading about hygge.  It is trending in my web orbit on various sites.  As I read about it, I am not finding anything new to me.  The Danes are crediting with creating a way to survive the long, cold winters by doing certain things.

Here in Southeast Texas, long cold winters don’t happen.  However, we do have days strung together of damp, grey rain.  This morning is one.  Yesterday was one.

As long as I can remember, I have set myself to enjoy such days.  I have the curtain drawn back and the window open to hear the rain.  The lights are low.  A candle flickers.  My pillows are propping me up as I snuggle under my coverlets.  A cup of tea is steaming on the nightstand.  I have my journal at hand to scribble my thoughts.

I have spent time this morning thinking and planning.  Pondering where I want to go with the projects I am working through this month.  As an update, over the past week, I have hauled off some odds and ends to the charity shop.  I have added things to the costume box for our daughter’s theater.  I have dumped some projects.  I will be continuing to haul off the junk associated with those projects.

Additionally, I have determined to dump the mindset that tells me I must have everything on our place clean and orderly before I can actually feel happy, content or satisfied.  Several years ago, in an effort to fight off this very mindset, I wrote an exhaustive list of all the things necessary to achieve such a situation.  I actually included: no fire ants anywhere on the place.  We live on seven acres in Southeast Texas.  I included no fire ants.  Of course, it was one of those extreme exercises designed to show me how ridiculous are my thought processes.  In the quiet of this morning, I recalled that and laughed all over again.

What does that have to do with now?  I have some items on that very list that are not so ridiculous still holding sway over me.  I am determined to rewrite the tape that plays in my head.  “If this, then that” goes round and round.  If I could get this done, I could have that.  But, I am like the mule at the millstone going round in circles chasing the carrot that dangles on the line out in front of me.

Already I have significantly reduced the incoming flow of stuff.  I have unloaded things.  I am focusing on the things I really want to pursue.  Not pursuing them, yet. I am thinking about those things rather than the carrot dangling out there.

I am allowing myself to truly enjoy the art of doing nothing.  I am giving myself permission to be happy with being imperfect.  I am granting myself leave to embrace my oddities.  I was once described by a friend as one who marches to the beat of her own drummer.  I have tried so hard to seem normal.  To be less strange.  To not distance people with my weirdness.  I am giving myself permission to let it all go and see what stays.  See who stays.

This is a good trend to follow.  “To thine own self be true.”  What year did W.S. write that?  After 400 years, it is still a good trend to follow.

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Progress Report

I have made some progress. He helped me put together and set up bookcases to house my books and other items.  I love the way it turned out.  I have the rocking chair sitting at the bedroom window.  The view is of the woods at the south end of the house.  I get winter sun through this window.

I made my way through some areas of the washroom storage spaces. And I am pleased to report working through one kitchen cabinet.  I’m not sure how much actually went to the “out the door” pile. I did relieve some of the congestion in the space.

I am getting a clearer view of how I want the end result to turn out over all. I had cleared some areas in the washroom.  The next day, I went back because I had kept a couple of things that I really don’t want to keep.  They are now in the “out the door” pile.

I haven’t read the Konmari book. I have skimmed over blog posts and e-articles that discuss the ideas in the book.  At first, I was resistant to the concept.  And I did read an inquiry that asked how one is to manage something like a hammer or screwdriver type item.  It doesn’t “spark joy”, but it sure is useful to have around.  I suppose I would have to break down and read the book to see if that writer addresses mundane things or is she just discussing socks and how to fold tee shirts as has been related in above mentioned readings.

Somewhere along the line I have read some helpful things regarding this process on which I am working. One remark is about clutter being the result of indecision.  The idea for me at this point is simply to decide yes or no.  It is either definitely YES!! Or it is no.  There can be no maybe.  I confess I have never watched more than a few limited scenes of Star Wars.  I have heard Yoda get credit for a line that goes something like: do or do not.  There is no “try”.  I translated that to “yes” or “no”.  There is no maybe.  In this process, that means no more gray areas.  No more “we might need it later”.  Either I know we will use it and it is right to keep it or it goes away.

I will have some extra days at home next week. Those days should be the final push.  If I could complete this final process sooner than January 31, so much the better.  Then what will I do?  It will be time to dig deep and get serious about writing.  I will have to face the fear of feeling too deeply.  I will have to face the grief again.  I will have to face the demons that chase me through my dreams.  I have some special people waiting for a real story out of me.  I will have to face the possibility of them being disappointed in the story.  I will have to face the possibility of them not being disappointed in the story and pushing me to do more. To dig deeper. To pour out my soul onto the page.  To feel too deeply.  Am I brave enough to do it?

Let me get through January. In some ways, the task at hand is building my courage.  When I am able to put an object in a box to go away, I have to trust myself that it is the right decision.  February will know if I have been brave enough and bold enough.  If I have pushed my limits of comfort enough.  Everything is intertwined.  One thing builds on another.  If I can do this, I can do that.  That leads to those other things.  On and on.

There is a part of me that stands back and watches to see what I am doing. Judging me. Criticizing me.  Over the years, I have trained that part to be more compassionate toward myself about so many things.  That part of me is on the edge of her seat watching to see if I walk out on this limb and it breaks off.  She can laugh cruelly as I fall.  Compassion will be out the window on this one.  I am my cruelest adversary.

I rode up to a nearby park the day it was cold and sleeting here. The blackbirds were all over the ground.  Like a black cloud.  As I would approach, they would move is a retreating wave further along.  I was unable to capture the wave on video sufficiently to illustrate their movement.  Will I be able to capture my thoughts on paper sufficiently to illustrate my story?  I could only get a photo of them perched in the trees.  Black against a gray sky. Eventually, I will capture the stories black against a white screen.

 

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Deadline

Rather than resolutions, I have set a deadline. I have several “projects” similar to the snow village lined up to do.  I have a large ornate framed canvas with an oil painting I don’t like.  I only bought the piece for the frame.  I picked up a landscape picture about 20 by 40 inches.  There are some other things I can’t specifically recall at the moment.  Things lurking in the closets and on shelves.  I have particular plans for some of the items.  Some of the items are still awaiting inspiration.  The deadline has to do with actually completing things.

I am going to spend some moments gathering things. I will either complete the project at hand or get rid of the stuff February 1.  January 31 is the last day to complete things.  Let’s see if I can stick to this plan.

Additionally, I have set the same deadline to unload some excess dishes and kitchen items. With all my talk of decluttering, my kitchen is seldom mentioned.  Rather, I continue to add to my packed cabinets.  Dishes are like chairs for me.  Both represent hospitality and parties and a house full of people visiting.  They are occasionally irresistible. Particularly when they match or resemble things from the ancestors’ kitchens.

Another area that remains untouched is my jewelry collection. I don’t have any real stuff beyond a few rings and a pair or two of earrings.  I have piles of costume jewelry, though.  Some of it has to go.  And not to my daughter’s house.  She says it will go to the prop room at the school theater.  I’m not sure it will make it there.  She likes to collect as much as I do.

I intend to keep this scheduled deadline for several reasons. I want to resolve past projects. Either finish or eliminate them. I want to spend time working on the yard in February and March.  I am supposed to have a particular visitor coming in February as well.  By May, I will be fully engaged with another new Dream. This one a Texas Dream.

Incentive and motivation are so important in my venture. The incentive is increased physical space, less cleaning, easier cleaning, more energy, more free time, less wasting of mental energy on indecision.  Motivation is preparing for the new generation before they get going on their feet.

I have a slight hope that eliminating distractions will force me to write. Not this babbling. Not my journal scribbling.  I need to focus and write the stories.  Write the tales that haunt my dreams and drift in memories.  Write the tales that will be unfolding in the coming years.  Write the tales I want my grands to read.  Tales that will show them who we are. Show them the toughness and the love that brought us to this point in this race of beings.

Yes. I would say I have incentive and motivation to meet my self-imposed deadline. Now, if I can just pay attention long enough to get it done!

Happy New Year. May all our plans be guided by a Greater Hand and be filled with His Love.

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Two Days

I have Friday off from work. And nothing scheduled Saturday. Two days.  I am working out things to have both days to devote to home keeping.  Not housework.  That should be completed by Thursday’s bedtime.  The activity to which I am referring is more like making things pretty.

I have several projects lined up to create ornamental objects for the house. One is actually for Christmas decorating. I won’t reveal that at this time.  I will have to see how it turns out before I publish it.  A long while back I purchased some very large framed oil paintings super cheap from the thrift store.  The subject matter is not why I bought them.  I wanted the frames and the large sized canvases.  I intend to gesso over them and put my own creations in place.  I have no thought to do a painting.  But, I do have an idea with which I want to experiment.

The weather is predicted to be pleasant enough to work outside. I hope to do a lot of catching up on the yard work.  Every area is behind on care.  I have good layer of pine straw in the front yard.  I want to clean the azalea bed and mulch with the fresh straw.  The purple jew is overflowing its area and I want to move it to a better spot.  Weeds, weeds, weeds. I don’t even want to think about that topic right now.  Yard work is excellent therapy for the mind and soul.

Part of my working out being able to stay home the two days was seeing someone this evening. Someone I love is in the hospital.  I needed to see her tonight so I could have my two days without fretting about her.  She seems a little improved.  I told her I was coming.  She said I didn’t need to go all that way.  I told her I was coming anyway and could I bring her anything.  A coke from Sonic.

I hope my coming helped her. It helped me.  I recently saw a meme that reads: Find your tribe. Love them hard.  I am defining my tribe. Redefining, I suppose.  I want her to be part of it.  So I needed to do something to connect.  She always reminds us that we are strong women from a long line of strong women.  She has to be the strongest of us, though.  Frail, delicate, brave, and tougher than old shoe leather.

I appreciate him for supporting my going. I appreciate how much he supports me in so many ways for so many things.  I appreciate his never giving up on his crazy wife.  My half-baked ideas and goofy schemes make him shake his head.

The walking is going well.   I have been getting some photographs along the way.  There is so much to see and things change constantly.  Leaves turning, flowers, the sky, the light on the water.  Then, there are the trees themselves.  So beautiful and so often overlooked.  Seen as window dressing rather than a focal point.  A frame around the view.  But, I love the trees.  See…….black lace.

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Hidden Things

What are the hidden things in my mind and heart? What drives me to do things I do? What prevents me from doing things I want or need to do?

I often seek occupation with a hobby. I have tried to get involved in several different types of arts or crafts. I don’t get much further than buying some supplies. Sometimes, I do a project or two. But, then something will come up and I will have to put the supplies in a box and clear the work area. Nothing more happens. Things stay boxed up until I get rid of them. I seem to associate pursuit of artistic things as with my father’s mental illness. He would often reach for the arts when he became manic. Perhaps that is why I won’t let myself like arts and crafts enough to keep going with something. Perhaps there is some other totally different hidden thing that gets in the way.

I make lists. I have written of this before. I make lists and remake lists. I have lists of things I need to do. Lists of things I like. Lists of chores I need to do regularly. I recently noted in my journal that I feel if I could ever get the list right, or get the right list, my life would be all worked out. Life would not feel so hollow. Not sure if that is the right word. There seems to be something missing in my every day moments.  This compulsive behavior has both good and bad properties. In a sense, I rely on the lists too much. I spend too much time working on them. On the other hand, the lists keep me on course to get chores completed, to keep my nine-to-five job duties prioritized, to keep my home supplied with essentials like milk, eggs and toilet tissue. I don’t know why I list. Fear of forgetting. Struggling to put order to my scattered thoughts. I don’t know why I do this either.

I refuse to ask for help. Not in a stiff-necked way, but in an “I don’t want to trouble anyone with my incompetence” way. If I ever do ask for help, I am usually so far gone I don’t know what to have someone do for me. So, I just don’t ask and give up until I can go again. I let myself go with unmet needs because of this.

I did not learn this from my mother. She was a five-star general at getting people to help her get things done. She did it with love and honesty and great home cooking. “I want to do project X. Y’all come Saturday and I will cook a roast and some beans and make a cake.” She would get everything to do her project and to prepare the meal. Extra hands would help in the kitchen and on the project. We made grand memories in the process.

Why won’t I even ask him for help with simple things that I struggle with? Little chores around the house that I may be behind on or just need to get ahead on. I don’t know about this one. I have realized I never asked my childhood friends about anything either. They were putting on makeup and I was too embarrassed to ask how they managed to apply eyeliner. That sort of thing. I don’t know where they learned things. I just figured I wasn’t clever enough to figure it out and they were.

He gave me a generous gift card for our anniversary. I spent almost all of it on shoes. What I needed was pants. Shoes and purses don’t depend on my size. Most blouses and tops will go from one size to another without much problem. My top half doesn’t change sizes that much when I am thinner. But, my pants size will change if I ever get my diet and exercise going in the right direction. My crazy mind thinks if I buy pants now, I won’t have money to buy smaller pants. Or that it means I am giving up getting fit. Or what? What is the hidden issue here? Why won’t I buy clothes that I really like and want to wear that fit me now?

I wonder at my quirks. I don’t mind having the more harmless ones. I want to know why I do what I do. Why I behave and respond the way I do. What makes me withdraw into myself and not allow others too close. I want to know why so I can undo the more harmful ones. Even knowing why may not help me change things. But, it is a start.  I want to do better for myself so I will have a better starting place to do for others.

I don’t know why I love the full moon so much. I love her rising over the lake. Is it because my grandmother would come to visit when the moon was going to be full just so she could take us down to the lake to see her rise over the water? Did she really time her visits that way or did it just work out that way very often? My mother’s mother is the reason for many of my favorites. Full moons over the water, jungle print fabrics, canna lilies, pampas grass, cemeteries, red “tennie” shoes to name a few.

I went down to see her the other night. I had almost given up when she appeared from behind the low clouds. I still feel excited anticipating her appearance and restless when her light shimmers around me. Restless to walk along quiet, white sand roads, listening to the voices of the past echo through the stories Granny always told me. Laughing and playing. Yes. I do know one certain reason I love the moon. My granny who loved me and understood me so deeply bound me to the full moon rising over the lake by loving me in the beams of light shed from the evening sky. Here is our August moon, Granny.

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I Can’t Believe It!

I forgot to post last night.  I didn’t even realize it until he pointed it out to me!

I have been very busy with a new schedule and projects.  Plus, I have a very special event coming up day after tomorrow and I have been so focused on that, I just forgot about Raining Orchids.  Actually, I forgot about posting in Raining Orchids because orchids have been flooding my life.

I am not at a “talking about it” stage on the projects.  One you will hear about over the next couple of weeks.  The others will have to wait.  I don’t want to lose any wind from my sails by discussing it.  There is something to be said for keeping things private in the initial stages.

One thing I will discuss is food.  Meal planning actually.  I have been trying to feed us better meals.  Nutritionally better meals. I cook wonderful meals all the time, but they are not necessarily the things that contribute to great health and long life.  I have been making menu plans and preparing our meals accordingly.  I have found a product that is helping greatly.  A simple electric skillet.  It is coated with a non-stick surface, heats immediately, browns food well, cleans up instantly.

I cook every evening. I work my nine to five and come home and cook.  This evening we had stir fried chicken with pineapple, carrots and broccoli over rice.  Tomorrow will be lightly fried chicken over a salad.  We like to make a big green salad and add chicken strips, nuts, cheese, olives.  It is good with a nut and fruit only trail mix blend, too.

The meals are sometimes made up of left overs.  Or as mother called them, planned overs.  Because of his preference, when I serve planned overs, I also try to make them over.  I modify or reorganize the meal in some way.  It is a creative challenge for me.  I enjoy doing it.

Another thing that has developed with us is a planned snack in the evening.  We have popcorn a lot of nights.  Last night, it was grapes, cheese and crackers.  Tonight it will be nectarines and yogurt or cottage cheese.

By planning, we eat less and feel better.  Rather than getting a little of this and some of that and too much of the other close to bedtime, we have a healthful something to enjoy.

Enough of this.  I am getting hungry.  My week will be all messed up because of missing my Monday posting.  I will be a day off.  Now I understand why earlier I kept thinking it was Monday!    I can’t believe I am late.  But, I can believe all the things I have been doing that got me sidetracked are positives in my life.  Flooding orchids.