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.

candle

Happy Birthday to Me!

I spent the day at home. Took a day of vacation from the 9 to 5.  I sat on the deck in the heat most of the time.  I would come in and cool off and get something to drink occasionally.  Crazy. Yes. I know.  Southeast Texas in July is hot and humid. Sweltering is a good word to describe the heat.  I needed to be outside.

I have been battling the abyss some this summer. Sitting outside detoxes my mind and spirit. I spent some time reviewing my resource notes.  I like to use my birthday to reflect and assess my situation.

I am pleased at what I found when sitting and listening to my own thoughts. I am not as down as I thought I was.  I have had a few days of aggravation at the 9 to 5 and in dealing with some things at church.  The frustration was at my own performance and attitude rather than other people.  I complain about others when it is really myself with whom I am angry.  I think I have let go of the irritation and I am already feeling better about things.

There was a special set of events today that had a profound effect on my well-being. I got to enjoy the gazebo he put together for me.  Our son called and we had a great visit.  Our daughter called and we had a great visit.  Our daughter-in-law called and we had a great visit.

Another great thing for my birthday-I had an iPod that had become like an IV for my soul. I had my music with me any time I was not at the 9 to 5.  Then, I broke it.  I have had a difficult time since.  I stopped walking at the track. I feel down more than usual.  I was simply crushed without being able to listen to Dean Martin or Martin Denny whenever I wanted.  But, he presented a small package to me last evening.  A new iPod!! I am so grateful!

Now I have to figure out how to make it work again. Our daughter advised me on what to do. I want to wait until I have a clear head to fool with it.  But, I have hope for music again.  I did not realize how critical music is for me until I had it at will then lost it.

I found another gift today. As I was sitting outside, I noticed a tell-tale purple petal on the ground near the porch.  The banana tree has baby bananas!  Year before last, we ate a couple from our tree that produced late in the season.  They were very small. They had a pleasant and less sweet taste than the store-bought variety.  These have developed in time to perhaps have a full hand of them to eat later this summer.

Our daughter had sent books and movies from my Pinterest wish board earlier this month. A card and perfect gift from him.  Calls from my beloved children. Time at home feeling Texas summer to my bones.  No cake or candles. No happy birthday song. None needed.  Happy Birthday number 51 to me!  Thank you to the family for making it wonderful. Thank you to Him for making it wonderful. Thank you to him for being wonderful.

FullSizeRender (14)

Summer, again.

I miss some of the full experience of summer.  When I was growing up, we didn’t use air conditioning. We had a window unit, but it was only used to cool the living room in the evenings while we watched television after our baths.

This insulated world I inhabit does not allow the sights, sounds and smells of nature reach my senses. I don’t feel the thick tropical air of my Texas jungle home.  People today seem personally offended by the natural heat and humidity of a Southeast Texas summer.  I just take off my fogged up eyeglasses when I go outside to get in the car.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the air conditioning very much. Especially to sleep at night.  Still, I sometimes wish to open the windows in the darkness of twilight and hear the crickets and frogs sing to the stars.

When I was a child living in this very house, a pair of whippoorwills lived in the front yard near the cedar tree that is no more. I heard one a few nights ago when I happened to be outside at dusk. My heart was thrilled at the sound of music in the fading light.

Grape sodas, fudgesicles, bologna sandwiches all tasted wonderful when I was a kid. Water from the end of the water hose was the best thing in the world to drink.  I had to be careful to let all the scalding water run out before touching it.  There will never be a watermelon that tastes like the ones I ate before age twelve.  It all tasted better because my body was hot, thirsty and tired from physical exertion running and riding a bike and swimming.   Anyone who knows what it means to “smell the rain” understands the feeling of relief and sense of peace it brings.  Childhood was summer spent outside.

The world felt better because I was innocent.  I didn’t know about death and disease, war and hate, discrimination and intolerance.  I knew the clean facts of history presented in school classrooms, but never imagined all the horrors as an adult I have learned existed and still exist.

Innocence of childhood. Truth and honesty of living. I can only bare so much pain.  It is a fine balance point to remain compassionate and not become indifferent to others’ sufferings.  It requires retreating to the mind of a child.  Taking things as they come and responding with honesty and truth.  Tasting the fullness of living and not gorging on the horrors of life.

I must again express my gratitude for having a loving Father and a loving spouse. Both provide me with strength and protection from the horrors of life. When He allows or sends something into my life that is too difficult to bear alone, He and he are with me to get me through to the other side.  They help me remain compassionate and regain my balance.  I am eternally grateful for what I do not deserve.  The blessing of being able to smell the rain and hear the night creatures serenade the stars.  A Father’s Mercy and a husband’s love. I cannot regain innocence.  I can get up and live fully, engage with life to become thirsty and hungry and truly taste the fullness of living.

Connections

Sunday afternoon was wonderful! My mother’s two sisters and their daughters and I were together visiting.  Recalling shared memories and retelling family lore.  Lots of laughing and talking!   Connecting with the past and making new memories.

I spoke with my daughter this afternoon and heard from my niece the other day. Holiday plans are taking shape!  We will be connecting over the long holiday weekend.

Since there will only be 4 of us for our official family dinner, it will be a challenge for me to cook the meal. I am accustomed to cooking enough for 6 or more with enough leftovers to divide into three parts for another 6 or 8 servings.  I have some ideas forming about how to create traditional dishes in reasonable quantities.  We’ll see how it turns out!

Of course, I will have some company over the long weekend as well. So some things will work to prepare new dishes from leftover dishes.  Maybe I could do a whole turkey after all?  I have a wonderful recipe for turkey salad I got from my mother-in-law’s step mother.  Even recipes connect the generations and memories of the past.

Great food and wonderful company! Two perfect things for which to be very thankful!  Now to just figure out how to connect the Skype to get through to Maui……………..

Fall in Southeast Texas has it’s share of beautiful color……….connecting the long hot summer to the cold wet winter.

IMAG1259-1-1

Dilemmas

The weekend is past again.  As usual, I had opportunity to see friends and go with him adventuring.  I even had a full day to lie on the porch with occasional thunder rumbling in the distance.  One of my favorite things to do.  I took time to read for pleasure.  Fiction.  I haven’t allowed myself to do that much over the past twenty years or longer.

I had a brief conversation with an acquaintance about allowing one’s self to do things.  She has retired from a long career.  Children long grown and gone.  She said it took her months to get to a point where she felt it was okay to work on projects held dear but long undone.  We were not in a situation to have a real discussion about the topic.  I certainly can identify with the feeling.

I am not retired.  Working full time and keeping up with his lifestyle takes a lot of time and energy.  Though I rested yesterday, I am tired this evening.  I have a general idea of what I should change to feel better.  I know some very specific things I should change to feel better.   But, there is a big difference between knowing what could be done and actually doing it.

I am trying to get my brain to work out a plan.  A plan and a schedule and the corresponding data to eat the right way, drink the right amount of the right things, get the best type of physical activity, follow proper sleep hygiene and so on.  The first thing is to deal with the constant pain and to get the right foods in my lunch kit.  Then, by drinking enough water and less coffee I may be able to get off my duff and get the exercises done to increase my strength and energy.

Adding to the dilemma is the coming autumn.  Why does that cause a dilemma?  The holidays will be upon me too quickly.  The leaves will be falling and I am anxious to keep up with the raking.  The plants will need to come into the house.  And my out of kilter sense of things will tell me, the trees are losing their leaves so I need to lose the clutter.  For me clearing and cleaning needs to be done in the fall.  Before the brightness of holiday lights and the brilliance of elegant glittery ornaments, the ravages of summer heat must be swept out.  Living in the subtropics, the flora and fauna overrun everything in the heat and humidity.

Additionally, I tend to go through waves of collecting and accumulating then purging and tossing.  Inevitably the outgoing wave happens in the time of shedding summer.  (I have a different mood for spring when traditional cleaning happens.  Then, I can’t get enough flowers and sunshine.  Forget cleaning.  The dirt needs turning over in the garden.)   Fall is upon the doorstep now.  On the stage in my mind, I see the props and costumes needing to go.  No longer appealing or needed, things must go to make way for other things.  Pumpkin tea set, then cornucopia baskets, then the traditional antlered floral monstrosity he loves to see on the dining table.

Summer costumes pulled from the closet must be evaluated.  Do I really want to see them next summer?  Do they go into the giveaway bag or into the storage bag?   Winter costumes pulled from the storage bags must be evaluated.  Do I really want to don them for another winter?  Do they go into the closet or into the giveaway bag?

Trivial things in a simple country house.  The life I have created for myself is indeed simple.  The drama in my life stays at work.  Enough intensity and danger there.  When that red gate closes behind my car coming in the drive, I want simple trivial things.  I want to have dilemmas that I can go to sleep on and forget about in the morning light.  I want to have dilemmas such as trying to get the goldfish still long enough for some good photos.  I want to have dilemmas such as wondering what to take to lunch tomorrow.

I have had the dilemma of wondering if I would ever shed tears again.  I had cried them all out losing Mother.  Cancer can be a long drawn out affair.  Knowing the end was coming.  Not knowing when or what it would be like when it happened.  Six years of nearly constant chemo after 2 years of nearly constant radiation.  Daddy needing hospitalization for bipolar manic depression several times through those years.  Raising two children along with it.   All our parents and grandparents have passed as well as other dear family members and friends.  The illnesses and the passing have been mourned.  But, the living our lives without them will never pass.  The dilemma of needing to hold on to hope will never pass.

That is perhaps why the little ones are so terribly important to us.  They are hope.  They are proof of our faith that the tragic dilemmas can be weathered.  They are the dream.  Ultimately, my desire to be filled with enthusiastic energy and to accomplish the tasks here at home are about them.  A place to celebrate. Full of love and magic and hope and laughter and mystery and marvel.

They are the reason I deal with the fish tank.  Maybe they will enjoy the fish.  They are the reason I don’t have certain things in my yard.  Southeast Texas has everything poisonous and venomous and stinging and biting.  I do not want structures that encourage their habitation here.  They are the reason the carpet must be removed from the porch and the floor redone.  The dishes must be sorted and realigned to make room for things children like and can use safely.  The rooms must be arranged for safety and space to play.  The yard must be diligently kept to deter fire ants and stickers.

The list goes on.  The dreams go on.  A new stage must be set.  A stage for hope and laughter.  A stage for silliness and play.  A stage for games and parties.  A stage for magic and love.

 IMAG1207-1-1

 

Eight giant goldfish in a huge fish tank illuminate our living room.  Already I am wondering how to decorate them for Halloween……………they are orange…………maybe some black cat silhouettes on the front of the tank to terrorize them????   Bwahaha!   I know one little girl who might laugh at that!  Dilemmas, dilemmas……….how to set that magical stage moment……………