Thursday, May 24, 2018

sigh. i tried.

I'm taking drawing lessons from a fabulous and very encouraging teacher, Michelle. As I have accumulated drawing supplies, I have tried a couple iPad drawing...things. I don't even know what to call them. This morning, I plugged in a tablet (bamboo, I think) but only gave the youtube tutorial about five minutes. What the hell. I have reached my lifetime technological quota.

I reluctantly allowed Alexa into my life and I turn the living room light off at night by shouting at her. But that's it. When I look at spending an hour trying to learn to use a table with a stylus thing when I could just pick up a piece of paper, my head starts to make a hissing noise and I want to take a nap. Sigh.


Michelle is encouraging me to think about ways to combine photographs, drawing, and words. I sent her this from 2014.


It's one of my favorites. Too bad I don't remember how I did it.

Regis had his second sleep study done last night. The doctor was insistent that he use the bipap machine tonight. The first medical supply store we went to was ho-hum, maybe in two weeks when the guy comes from St. Paul to write the order. WTF. I am usually patient, but I said that was unacceptable and we left. I'm ready to go to the cave, my friends.

In fact, the little room where he did the sleep study was quite adequate. Wonderful sleep number bed, small private bathroom, a tiny television so we could watch MSNBC when the shit comes down as it surely must be about ready to do.

I'm thinking more about quitting stuff and valuable real estate today. It makes sense in a physical space sense and in an emotional and mental work sense. If I am repeating this from yesterday, it's because it's important.

I think I'll go take a nap in my chair until its time to go to work.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

quitting stuff- first draft

This post is going to be a partial, not-fully-formed, stream of consciousness post about quitting stuff. I don't like calling it that, and have had conversations with people who don't like this title either. The connotation is bad, they say. Quitting sounds negative and implies that you were meant to do this thing and you are rebelling and not doing it anymore. That's kind of it, though.

I've been thinking about this for several weeks and probably even longer than that. I couldn't get my head around the idea fully and so kept trying to think it though before I touched the keyboard. Some ideas are not meant to appear on the page fully formed, though, so here goes.

Thinks that make it difficult or hard to define:

  1. People take it personally if you don't want to do all their stuff anymore. They take it personally when you say you are quitting cooking. Or quitting holidays. They think it means I am going to hermit in the woods and never communicate again with the people I love. Not true. None of it is personal for you. It is personal for me.
  2. It's a long process. I started getting rid of stuff years ago, probably when my kids left home. I realized that I didn't need to be responsible for the emotional and physical work it takes to catalog all that stuff. To clean around it. To drag it out of the basement at the right time and then to store it all again.
  3. It's very rewarding. Deciding that I am quitting something always leaves room, physically and emotionally, for the things I would rather do or "store". Getting rid of stuff on a shelf also makes room in my head. Gathering up all my writing projects from the past thirty years means I don't have to feel guilty because I'm not doing what I always intended. They don't go to the recycler today, but they go to the basement for a waiting period. Then they go permanently away. It's cathartic.
  4. I have strong emotional ties to some of the stuff I am quitting. I have a collection of binders for my holiday cooking. Seriously. I have one for Easter, one for St. Patrick's Day, four for Christmas, a couple for Thanksgiving. Last fall, my daughter-in-law, Emily, took over responsibility for Thanksgiving and Christmas so I didn't even look in the binders for those holidays. Not very many years ago, I wept when I thought of not having holidays at my house. It felt like I wasn't keeping Christmas and keeping Christmas was my role, my responsibility. Now, it feels liberating. The binders are going to the basement and then to the trash.
  5. Some things I keep just for memories, but now I'm asking myself how much worth does it have even as a memory if it's on a shelf in the basement. 
  6. Why do I have a whole room for eight big chairs and a table when it's rarely used? Valuable real estate put to poor use. What would it mean if I just got rid of it and turned that room into something else? Regis and I both have hobbies that have to be packed up and stuffed into tiny closets because our rooms are full of stuff we don't use.
No doubt, there are more questions.

I can see I need to do some thinking about what I do want in my life. What are my priorities for my physical space, my emotional work load, my mental work load?

This is my first draft.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

signs of spring in February


  • I'm feeling some renewal of my urge to purge. The pile of empty boxes and the stuff on the shelves in the basement are calling to me. I run out of gas in the winter...probably starts about November but I don't really feel it until January. I always blame it on the lack of sunshine and maybe that's it. Or maybe I'm just lazy.
  • I can hear birds singing outside the window. Cardinals have been calling since January but this is a new sound. Lots of birds at the feeder and the squirrels are ravenous. And mangy looking.
  • You're either walking on dry pavement or ice. Nothing in between. It's ten degrees over night then rapidly goes up to forty. That makes for lots of meltage and lots of slippery. Walk like a penguin.
  • I get a few ideas about home improvements, DIY stuff, you know. I usually loathe that stuff but if I can figure out a was to make life easier, well...I'm all about that as the kids say. My current idea is to have a row of hooks installed on the south wall in my living room so we can hang our bags and purses there instead of piling them on the floor and the bench which is what we do now and which looks like hell. Like this. Only lower and without the shelf.

  • I'm thinking about the gardens and our plot in the community garden. I'm curious to see if all my new hostas and ferns made it through the winter. We have a twenty-square foot plot at the community garden and I have been researching what to plant. Planning is not my forte so I need advice. I always over-buy...dirt, then pots, then plants. Elliot wants to grow peanuts but peppers, beans, and peas are my priorities. 
  • Winter clothes are starting to feel itchy and uncomfortable. Mittens are easily lost because I need them in the morning and by afternoon, I don't. My heavy wool coat is too heavy and too warm. Yesterday I pushed the stroller to the community center in my heavy coat and almost had to strip once I got there. Wool socks are too warm. Yay t-shirts! Yay sneakers!
  • Thoughts of winter foods are disappearing over the horizon. Chili and meatloaf and heavy soup doesn't sound a bit good. We're yearning for burgers on the grill, smoked ribs, and fresh strawberries.
  • Woodrow is feeling the call of the wild. He spends a lot of time perched on the table behind the couch, eyeing the birds and squirrels. Every time a door opens, even if he is sound asleep with his paw over his eyes, he bolts for the door.
  • Our neighbors are seen outside without a snow shovel in hand! Sometimes an ice buster but it doesn't happen overnight, you know.
  • You need to warm your car up in the morning but by afternoon, you can turn it off and open the window if you aren't going too fast.
There you go. I could probably think of a few more, but I have to go to work. Go out in the sunshine today, my friends!


Monday, February 19, 2018

is it the memory that fails?

We braved the icy roads this morning to take Gus for his grooming. (I had to point out that we go to a lot more money and expense to have our dog groomed than we do ourselves.) Then, because the cupboards are bare we headed to Mankato to buy groceries.

My list making habits are constantly changing based on HyVee marketing. Currently, I browse the print ads and make a list on a notebook, but I also use my phone to make a list and download coupons. The problem with that is my phone has to be out and visible.

This morning we finished our shopping, loaded the groceries in the trunk, I put the cart away, and down the road we went. I was digging in my purse for my phone. Calmly, then frantically. There were only two places it could be...on the checkout counter or in the cart. We find the cart corral and I find my cart...and there's my phone sitting in the freezing rain and snow. Good thing I didn't wait until I got home to look for it. Sigh.

I have kind of a day off today (after the morning fiasco) and there are many things rolling around my head that I could do. The problem is that when I have time to do them I don't feel like doing them. But here goes. To the kitchen I go.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday psychosis

I'm sure I've written about this before...Sunday psychosis. When we were fresh out of college and the working life stretched out endlessly into the future, my good friend Mike talked about the dread of Monday as Sunday psychosis. He said it was so bad he would see amoebas. I'm not sure exactly what he meant but we thought it was hilarious. Still do.

I dislike writing more than two sentences on an electronic device. I see kids type with two thumbs and they seem to be pretty fast, but I'm a one-finger typist on a device, something my typing teachers railed against.

My computer gave me a couple signs that something was amiss. Black screen? Unrecognizable language? So...I'm lounging in the tub, late on a Sunday morning, typing my blog post on my iPad. Sigh.

I've done a couple of the necessary things today like scoop the cat liter and get dressed but now I'm kind of done. Regis got my computer back on the rails. He says we should plan ahead for it going kerplooey, as it surely will one of these days. I love a desktop computer and could easily do without an iPad. I don't read on it anymore so it's really just a fancy way to play Scrabble.

It's gray and sloppy outside. Regis washed my car for me in the middle of the night but I went through one puddle and woosh...the end of that.

I had a drawing lesson this afternoon but that didn't inspire me much either.

I wish someone would invite us to dinner.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

time passing


Many things have been conspiring lately to force me to recognize just how fast time goes. Other people's children who I thought were still small enough to ride in strollers are off to high school, or college. I see high school friends of mine have children in their forties and some of them are great grandparents. And then there is Ella.

Ella was my first granddaughter and I was waiting in the hall the day she was born. I heard her first cries and I wept. She had food allergies as a tiny baby that caused her much misery. We would stare at her little sleeping face and talk about how sweet she was, but when she woke up and started to howl, our eyes bugged out and we froze.

Then she was a little girl who liked to play with makeup, dress up fancy in long dresses, hats, and jewelry. She loved the camera. She loved to bake and cook. She loved to read books in bed.

Suddenly (to me) she is 12 and she wears heels when we go out for dinner. I'm shuffling along in flat, fur-lined boots and she comes down the snowy sidewalk in 4-inch heels. She's almost as tall as I am and she's pretty self-sufficient.

The past two days she came to the Arts Center with me and learned the docent duties...how to open the doors and turn the lights on, how to check the mail box in the alley, how to empty trash and recycling, how to keep track of guests in the gallery and in the clay studio. The Square POS, which has caused no end of consternation among our older staff was a snap for her. Less than five minutes and no instruction and she had it down. She was amazed that I was amazed.

Alex and Elliot turn ten this month. Easton is almost walking. Zoey has dance recitals and walks to school by herself. The two babies, Sully and Natalie, are doing something new every time we see them.

It's wonderful and it's scary.

I talk to my friends and to Regis about how we don't feel old, but I guess we kind of are. Not that there's anything wrong with that.