Tuesday, June 19, 2018

paths and bridges


For a flatlander and a non-traveler, I've had an unusual fascination with paths and bridges. I suppose a guy could attach some meaning to that, but I'm not sure what it would be.

I've often thought if it had been up to me to blaze a trail into the new world, I'd still be sitting by the farm in the sod hut in Norway.

I had my third drawing lesson yesterday. My teacher calls herself my mentor which is probably accurate because our conversations are far reaching and as much about life as art. Michelle encourages, through her home and her person, an artistic view of the world.

I printed several path and bridges photos I've taken so I can practice drawing this morning. I've found that if I sketch something then set it aside for a few days, it looks different. I take photos of sketches, too.

I see many comparisons to writing in the process of creating art. I suppose that seems obvious to some but it was a surprise to me.

We've had a string of many, many gloomy days. This is not good when we should be storing up Vitamin D for the winter. Blech.

Off to sip coffee and sit in front of the window to draw. Ah, retirement.


Saturday, June 09, 2018

more thoughts on quitting stuff


For today, at least for this morning, I quit getting dressed or being mobile. I'm glad it rained this morning because it is more acceptable to be slothful on days when it pours and thunders.

I'm going to work at 3, so I will be dressed by then.

It's been very interesting to live each day through a lens of quitting. Some of the quits are good ones. I'm trying to quit worrying and I am trying to quit feeling responsible for everybody's everything.

I've explained it this way. All of this is valuable real estate...in my head and in my physical surroundings. Why do I let that stuff live here, in my head and in my physical surroundings...mostly rent free. It's a good perspective.

The other day, I told someone that I had quit holidays. She responded: How did you get by with that? Whoa. I could ask her: How did you get stuck with that?

And there is the tricky part. Much of those kinds of things are enjoyable. There was a time when I loved all my holiday bric-a-brac. I loved baking fourteen kinds of cookies and planning a menu that would feed the Russian army. So, I don't want to imply that I always disliked all of it. See?

Quitting things allows me to choose how gets space in my head.



I'm reading a book by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu. Their message is how to live a life of joy amidst sadness and death and destruction. I'm only on the first chapter but there is much to ponder here. This week has been rough so it was a good recommendation from my friend, Jane.

I have a new volunteer gig. I'm a new docent for the walking sculpture tours in Mankato. You can check it out here as the site doesn't allow me to steal pictures. Imagine that.

Well, I'm off to clean up and get dressed. Enjoy this rainy day!


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.