Christmas crazy

HI Everyone! 

I hope you had a lovely week. Once again ours was busy and involved moving furniture and boxes. I keep telling myself it WILL end eventually. My back is sore and stiff from three days of moving stuff. I should have lost weight and look like a body builder by now!

I’m not sure I have much to report that is news worthy or all that interesting, but for the sake of consistency I will fill you in.  

We got the Christmas tree up and all was good until two days ago. We now have a half lit tree (no alcohol was involved). My other lights are in our storage unit. I was planning to go get them today but now it is SNOWING and I lost all motivation for leaving my cozy wood stove. 


Did I mention it is SNOWING? I’m one of those weird people who like snow. I don’t like winter, but I do like snow. It’s even better when there is a ski slope under my feet! I’m hoping these two days of snow will bring in some Christmas spirit. It has been MIA and I am alternating between Scrooge and Grinch. I haven’t purchased the first gift yet and now the Christmas stress is setting in.  Ok, I know the economy supposedly would crash without the December buying frenzy, but I really think most people would enjoy the holiday sooooo much more without all the gifting pressure.  I like the decorations, limited amounts of Christmas music, a hefty amount of Christmas goodies and visiting with family and friends, but I hate to shop. I especially hate to shop for gifts that I know people don’t really need or often want just to be giving a gift. I don’t want to receive something I don’t need or want just to be given a gift.  I am then stuck with gift guilt because I either keep it and it takes up valuable space or I give it away and then live in fear that the person who gave it to me will ask about it. I’m a terrible liar and then have to confess. LIFE SHOULD NOT BE THIS COMPLICATED! 

Miss L. and I are making gifts for the people on her Christmas list and I do enjoy that.  She is learning how to sew and seems to be enjoying it most of the time (the machine sewing is good, but she is not into hand sewing). We have had a few pretty comical moments during our marathon sewing sessions. We have had two machines going at once and the time I accidentally stepped on her pedal could have been a bad moment, but luckily it left us in laughing stitches instead of emergency room stitches!  I know that many people don’t like or appreciate handmade gifts, but I personally think they are the best. Someone really cares about you if they make you something and often the supplies that go into them actually cost more than store bought. I have to wait until after Christmas to show you our projects.

I am going to wrap (pun intended) up for today because there is a good chance the school will call for us to get the kids out early due to the snow and I need to be set up for more sewing when Miss L. gets home. Hopefully I will have more Christmas spirit and shopping done by next week.

Keep southern California in your prayers. Those folks are in a bad situation. 

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November?

Hi Everyone!

I am getting this week’s post done pretty much on time. Well, it’s 10:30 pm and I can’t get to sleep yet so I might as well be productive.  I also have plans to go hiking tomorrow with my son and need to clear some things off my To Do list so I can hike guilt free. 

Is anyone else wondering where the month of November went? How can next week be Thanksgiving?? I feel like I have been inside a tornado for months and things are whirling past me. I see them go by, but barely. 

This week has been another one of THOSE weeks where every day includes hours of travel and a stack of paperwork. I think we are almost done and then something else needs attention. I cannot begin to tell you how much I hate moving furniture right now, and boxes. I have temporarily cleared our guest room and main living area of boxes so that my son has room to function while he is here, but this weekend includes more furniture moving and even Thanksgiving day is likely to find us traveling Beverly Hillbilly style to and fro. Aaarrggghh! My goal for 2018 is TO NOT MOVE FURNITURE ANYWHERE!

On Monday I decided to at least give myself a short amount of time to enjoy a lovely Fall day and hiked around the farm and the neighbors’ farms. Tomorrow I am going to take time to enjoy some time with my son before he leaves for Hawaii the first of December. It will be almost a year before I get to see him again and dang it, I WILL NOT move anything tomorrow. Yes, I’m sounding a little stressed and frustrated again. This too shall pass.


I did manage to start a drawing and I’m still squeezing in a little knitting and quilt piecing to maintain my sanity. Next week begins the holiday cooking and decorating. I AM NOT READY! Can I just skip Christmas this year? For many reasons I just don’t want to do Christmas in 2017. 

I apologize for being such a downer this week. I got a little taste of normal life and then the abnormal moved back in this week with more furniture, boxes and people who don’t do their jobs. I will be taking a break next week. Both of my kids will be in for Thanksgiving and since they will not be home for Christmas I am going to try to get in as much quality and quantity time with them as I can. I have not seen my daughter since May and am not sure I remember what she looks like.

For those of you in the USA have a lovely Thanksgiving and for all of you everywhere I hope you have MUCH to be thankful for. I will be back in a couple of weeks and hopefully in better spirits. 

I see Normal!

Hi Everyone,

I’m running a little late this week but better late than never. I hope you had a great week!

As we are winding down this last week of October, off in the distance is a glimmer of light. That thing called Normal Life is coming into view!

Now of course Normal is as subjective as Olympic ice skating, but we all have our own normal. Our normal has forever changed, but we have a good idea of what we want it to be now.

This week we end the weekly and sometimes twice weekly trips to my SIL’s house. There is still more to do but the worst is over and what needed to come out will all be out tomorrow. We get our Wednesdays and Saturdays back!!!

Miss L wraps up her soccer season this week so we get our Tuesdays and Thursdays back!!!!!!!  If we weren’t so far behind on all the things that need to be done on the farm and house I might think we would be bored. Nope. Never happens around here!

Tonight kid# 1 is helping with her National Honor Society Club chicken stew and won’t be here until late, kid #2 has a bonfire/dance/chicken stew at her school (like I have explained in previous posts, chicken stews are a BIG thing around here) and the two exhausted adults are going to enjoy a do nothing evening.

Soooooo, hopefully you all will not have to hear me whine and complain much longer and I can get back to doing the fun, artsy, creative stuff I’m supposed to be writing about. I can tell you that those creative things are going to be taking an interesting turn by the first of the year. I’m so excited to start some new stuff!!!

Have a NORMAL week!

Photo credit Matt  Kochar

Time warp

Hi Everyone,

My apologies for going missing last week. I finally got the Administrator paper for my SIL’s estate and jumped into action to start processing all the pieces and parts.  My week was full of constant phone calls, paperwork and appointments with a full day of volunteering at our Chamber of Commerce golf tournament thrown in.  Oh, work. I even managed to squeeze in that darn work that helps to pay our bills. Don’t ask about sleep. I have given sleep up until all this is over.

This week has been more of the same but with the addition of school shopping thrown in and our internet being down for almost three days. Miss L. starts school this coming Monday. We got the school supplies on Monday and we got school clothes and soccer gear yesterday.  Neither of us enjoy shopping for clothes and were both wiped out by the end of the day.

Several family members came to help clean out J’s storage units and we managed to get one clean completely and have to get the other one finished this weekend. We now have boxes piled in the house and soon in the barn. Everything has to be out of the unit by the end of the month and we have limited time to do it. The rest of the sorting out of stuff will happen here. I cannot stand “stuff” out of place or laying around for very long so my mission is to focus in and get this done as fast as possible.

Sooooooo, my apologies, but this is as good as you get this week. There is more on the schedule than I have time for. Hopefully next week will be better as we settle into a school schedule.

Take some time to slow down this week…for me as well as yourself!

Sanah Suvarna

Shifting

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well in your world. We are only 8 days from Christmas and my week is centered on wrapping, cleaning, cooking, etc. while juggling the normal chores.

D. and I celebrated six months of married life this week. Six months ago I made huge life changes when I married him. The married part is great. Adjusting to the changes in everything else is beginning to be a struggle I think. Maybe it’s just winter. If you have read any of my previous posts you know I suffer through winter. I’m beginning to suspect there is more to it than just winter aversion though.

I have moved many times now and generally look at a move as a new adventure. I did the same this time. I jumped into country living with both feet. What I am discovering now is a need to adjust to a completely different stage of life not just a change in location. Quite frankly, I’m finding it difficult.

“What the heck is she talking about?” you ask. Well, first, my entire career and most of my life has been time oriented. Deadlines are the second most important part of my work, creativity being first.  Then I spent years and years hauling kids to sports practice, youth church meetings, chorus and choir practice, tournaments near and far. In between all that I squeezed in the practical chores of laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, ect. always with a eye on the clock to get everything done on time. In the middle of all this I was usually also working a second job.  Downtime was a rare, rare thing and when I got it, sleep was involved.

Suddenly I find myself living in an area where I’m not sure they use clocks! There are no deadlines. Estimated time at best. A fifteen to thirty minute visit seems to be the norm before getting down to business.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it has caused me some very frustrating moments in my time oriented brain. Time is so ingrained in my system that I physically cannot sit still when my internal alarm starts blaring.

Have you ever thought about your conditioned responses? Time is just one of my issues. Having been on my own as a single parent for thirteen years, I evidently developed some coping mechanisms that are no longer serving me very well. I’m used to making decisions without having to consult anyone else. I’m used to doing things my way and my way only. I’m used to things getting done on my schedule. All these I’m having to change if I want to stay married!  Massive, sudden changes are tough!

If all this wouldn’t push a girl over the edge, we have a LONG list of remodeling and farm projects in various stages going on at once.  My strong preference is to take on one project and complete it then start the next one.  D. is more flexible than I am in that regard, and due to time and/or money constraints and season/weather our projects switch back and forth. So virtually nothing has been finished in the six months I have been here except the floors getting tiled. If I can hold it together until mid-February we will have a dishwasher again! I AM finishing the baseboards in the guest room and the painting of the bathroom in January!

Internal, long held habits and responses are extremely difficult to work through and change. I happened upon a book (will discuss next week) that actually made me realize what was going on.  I was clueless about why I suddenly turned very cranky and I’m sure, difficult to live with. Now I am trying my best to be aware of what is going on, my response to it and why. Hopefully I can start chipping away at these habits and replace them with more appropriate ones for my new life.  I could hardly stand myself so I’m sure D. will be happy for me to have an attitude adjustment.

I am planning on getting in a post next week, but kids start coming home this weekend, deer season is still going strong around here and there is still a list of things to do before Christmas.

Just in case a post doesn’t happen.  Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it and Happy Holidays to all.

 

Photo credit

Get lost. Slow down. Change directions.

sunflower 2016
My sunflowers are enjoying the heat. They are at least 8′ tall and still growing!

I hope you all have had a lovely week. It has been a typical July week here. Hot as Hades all day with a late afternoon thunderstorm that hopefully cools the air a little. Often it doesn’t. Sometimes the air is so humid and thick after a storm that it feels difficult to breathe. You would think you could squeeze the juice out of it. My poor bees are spending more time on the outside of the hive than inside. I’m thinking I should get a tiny air conditioner for them. No, I do not spoil the creatures that live with me (much).

The past couple of weeks have been spent getting settled, finding my way around and meeting people. If I counted correctly, this is my tenth move in my lifetime. Most of my moves have been within miles of each other, but this is the third move to a completely new area. My first major move was as a newlywed to a different state. My then husband was working third shift, the company had put us up in a hotel until we could find a home and I knew no one. I couldn’t stay in the hotel room during the day while my husband was trying to sleep, but I had no where to go.

This was before cell phones and we had two not-so-great cars. So, I did what any bored, fearless (you have that in your 20’s) young woman would do. I got my car keys, filled the car up with gas and proceeded to drive in and out of town until I was hopelessly lost, then figure out how to get myself back to the hotel.  Honestly, it was a huge adrenaline rush. Sometimes I barely made it back before my husband got up to go to work.  By the time we moved out of the hotel three weeks later, I rarely got lost. I found all the important places (Town Hall, library, the MALL) and lots of scenic areas of the countryside.

I have been using this same technique with slightly more common sense this time.  Lately our vehicles have been just as bad (except for THE BEAST, our F-350 pickup that I LOVE to drive), but I do have my cell phone and AAA card with me now. I found the library. People seem to think that libraries are not important anymore. I beg to differ. The bulletin board alone was a wealth of information. Local events and services that I had not been able to find online were on the bulletin board.  So, I have the library, found the arts council, town hall, pharmacy, car mechanic and our local state park for hiking. Hey, not a bad start for two weeks of being lost!

ghost flowers 2016
I discovered Ghost plants on our way to pick blackberries this week. They are such an oddity with all the color this time of year.

The harder adjustment I am having to make is the pace of life here. I’m pretty sure it was the same way when I was growing up out in the country but I wasn’t aware of it. EVERYTHING is slower. I have been in Surburbia for twenty years. I have worked two jobs for about twelve years. I shuttled two kids to thousands of practices and events for eighteen years. All that has come to a screeching halt. I often find myself standing somewhere in disbelief that there is nothing on my To Do list that HAS to be done immediately. Trust me, I’m not complaining, but after decades of rushing around and working under endless deadlines, it is disorienting.

Now that I have said that life has slowed down, just this week events have fallen into place for D. to start a business he has been planning for about two years. Originally he was going to start it next year after he retires, but an opportunity presented itself that was too good to pass up. This means that for about four months I will be back to working two jobs again as we start this while he is still working full time.  I will fill I the details as this moves along.

blueberry jam 2016
More slow stuff. Making blueberry jam.

I need to mosey on now to finish tiling these floors (they WILL be done by the end of the month!).  I’m going to leave you with some hard earned wisdom. If life is a little boring or drab, or the creative juices have quit flowing (they do sometimes), literally get in your car, on your bike, take the bus, use your feet and go get lost. The change in scenery and the adventure will do you good. Don’t use the GPS. Use your God given instincts!

zinna butterfly 2016
Just one of the hundreds of butterflies that have been visiting my zinnias this year. I have never seen soooo many in one place before!

All photos by Christel D. Huttar.

Seeking normal

Hello everyone! I was determined to get a post in this week. Better late than never. Last week we did not have any cell service at the school where we stayed so I could not post anything.

Wedding over. Move over. Mission trip over. Now it is down to finding all my stuff, creating a realistic schedule and settling into a new normal. This week none of that happened. My car has been undergoing repairs the whole month of June. Changing my name has taken a ridiculous amount of time. The garden has required work to get it back in shape after being gone for a week and unexpected farm chores and family/friend visits have slowed down planned projects.  Maybe this IS the new normal!

I did get my work space somewhat workable, found my paints and managed to squeeze in time to do these tiny paintings this week. It’s a start!

First painting in my new home and new life.
First painting in my new home and new life.

Here are some pictures of our life events of the past three weeks.

My bouquet and table arrangements
My bouquet and table arrangements
Our walk in the woods to the ceremony.
Our walk in the woods to the ceremony.
Vows by the lake.
Vows by the lake.
Our simple, vegan wedding cake made by my daughter.
Our simple, vegan wedding cake made by my daughter.
There were threats involved here. It was too hot to have chocolate cake smeared on my face.
There were threats involved here. It was too hot to have chocolate cake smeared on my face.

The ASP mission trip involves a caravan of rented vans to get all of the humans and equipment to our destination.

Our customized ASP van!
Our customized ASP van!

This was my 7th and Danny’s 3rd year on the ASP trip.  Each year there is a core group involved who believe in having a good time.  Pranks and jokes are daily occurrences.  One of the men stated that he laughs more in this one week than he does the rest of the year.  This year… well see for yourself.

First night at the center we found this in the hallway.
First night at the center we found this in the hallway.
Can you read the sign? Honeymoon Suite
Can you read the sign? Honeymoon Suite
Who can beat this for honeymoon accommodations???
Who can beat this for honeymoon accommodations???
Our team hard at work on dry wall.
Our team hard at work on dry wall.

We got home Saturday and slept the whole afternoon and most of Sunday as well.  There isn’t much rest on ASP.  This week I managed to get my office/studio is some sort of working order and just had to get my hands on a paint brush.

 

If all goes well, I will be back on schedule next week.  For my American readers, I wish you a fun, safe July 4th weekend.

Moving. The good, the bad and the ugly.

I am in the final stages of my third move in four years.  I refer to it as The Gypsy Years.  Moving is hard on me.  As a person who starts to take root in a place if she stands still for too long, the constant uprooting is mentally, physically and emotionally wearing.  This one is a big emotional move.  I have lived in the same town for almost twenty years and am now heading out of town into the country.  It is not as bad as when I sold my home of fifteen years, but close.

So, I am trying to stay positive as once again I sort through my stuff and put it all into boxes.  Depending on the day, I could be excited, depressed, frustrated, snippy or a complete basket case.  D. has had his patience tried a few times with my whining.

The ugly part of moving to me is:

1- Canceling / transferring utilities and mail.  There seems to be a huge margin of error involved here.  I have spent up to six months trying to find my mail and have had to make frantic calls to certain utility companies that did not get the change info correct.  Nothing like not having water or electricity when you need it!

2 – Finding homes for all the stuff.  This move is especially bad.  We are trying to cram 10 pounds of poop in a 5 pound bag.  One of my recent homes was 1300 square feet.  For some reason I was able to live very comfortably in that space with both my kids.  This time D. and I are having an awful time trying to meld our 30+ years of household stuff into roughly the same amount of space. It will just be the two of us 90% of the time!

3 – The decisions.  All this sorting, packing, storing requires enormous amounts of decision making.  It wears a brain out.  How many glasses do we need?  Whose glasses do we keep?  What do we do with the glasses that we don’t need?  Which kid could use more glasses?  Where should we donate the glasses?  When do we take the glasses to Goodwill?  Multiply this a few thousands times and you have a couple of frazzled, brain fried people you do not want to spend time with!

bonfire photo-1445820258694-73a1d5609fb9

The good part of moving:

  1. Letting go of what you don’t need anymore.  This process can be physical and/or emotional.  I had the very freeing experience this week of actually lighting a fire in the fire pit and methodically burning two large boxes of legal and financial records that had very bad memories attached to them.  That was a great way to start a new phase in life.

2.  Finding lost things.  Every move I find something that I thought was lost forever.  Usually it is a sentimental item that got packed up in a weird place.  I love those little surprises.

3. Shaking things up.  A move brings new routines, new furniture arrangements, new places to explore and new people to meet.  These are the things that I enjoy about a move.  I get to look at my old possessions in a new light as I find a new place for them and I have already discovered a lovely new garden nursery and met the owners.  There is a growing list of places I intend to go draw and paint and a coffee shop and a fabric store that is calling my name.  I also love to take a road I’ve never been on and see where it goes. I have plenty to choose from this time and all with beautiful views of mountains and forest.

Next week is shaping up to be the pinnacle of all things happening at once.  My Dad is bringing my bees (will post about my beekeeping escapades soon), hay is being cut and will have to be put in the barn (not my favorite farm chore) and all my big furniture has to be moved.  Keep in mind, we still have to work.  There is a high probability there will not be a post next week.  I’m sure there will be good stories to tell the following week though!

Until next time, have a wonderful week!

 

 

Photo by Dominik Lange

Floors and bees

Happy Friday!! It is a rainy one here.  Good thing I just have TILING on my To Do list today. Yes friends, I actually stuck tile to floor last week! Check it out.

floor 2Here is what I have learned so far if any of you happen to want to tile your own floor.  1) It is not hard.  2) It IS tedious.  3) It IS messy.  I am still quite the novice at this and have not started cutting tile yet.  If you notice in the picture I just got the whole tiles down.  Today’s challenge is to test the cutter out.  I have a manual cutter and hopefully that will work for the most part.  There are a few pieces that will have to be cut lengthwise and I’m 99% sure my cutter will not do those.  Bless my friend Helen. She has a wet saw we can borrow.

floor 1

My goal is to get all the cut pieces down and mortar set so by Wednesday I can start the grout process.  I need this first room done before we can move on to the rest of the house.  You know, that whole move stuff out of one room so you can do the other room process.

All artwork is on hold probably until July.  There simply is no time.  It is all I can do to keep up with my design work right now.  Gardening season is upon us and D. is chomping at the bit to get seeds in the ground.  I am throwing a box of stuff in the car every trip up to D’s in my attempt to make a SLOW move this time.  My last couple of moves have been fast and stressful. Now that process is reaching critical mass and we are having to make more and more decisions on what stays and what goes and how fast can it go.

Next week my town is having a recycling day.  I am dropping off a carload!  The next weekend the theatre company I work for is having their annual yard sale.  Guess who will be dropping off a TRUCK load?  Can you tell I am beginning to feel a little overwhelmed???

With all this going on I have avoided thinking about spending any time drawing or painting and started distracting myself with gardening ideas.  Too much time on Pinterest will make you crazy.  I started studying medicinal herbs, and decided to expand my herb garden this year.  That started me thinking about my future bees and how to help them.  That lead me to studying permaculture and now I have another whole list of projects for the farm.  Someone please take my ipad away from me or slap me when I am on Pinterest or YouTube!

beephoto-1437514805204-ae0a51951572

Soooo, about those bees.  I spent Easter with Mom & Dad.  Dad got me the bee hive for Christmas and has it put together now.  It’s time to get the bees for it.  The plan was to hopefully get a split from one of his hives.  No such luck this year so I told him to go ahead and get me a nuc when he and my brother-in-law pick up their order next week. Then I asked him when we can get the bees settled in their new home.

Dad sort of hesitated and replied “Well, I need to keep them here for a little while so I can keep an eye on them and make sure they are alright.”  Ok, I have to admit that my thought at that moment was…”Dad, I got your grandchildren to adulthood without losing, starving or maiming them, I think I can handle some bees.”  I refrained.  MAYBE I will get bees these year.

Since I have been slack for the past couple of weeks about including some environmental information I will recommend the documentary Vanishing of the Bees.  The link take you to the website, but you can watch it on Netflix.  We need the bees.

Have a wonderful week and go plant some flowers for the bees this week.

 

Flooring photos by yours truly.

Bee photo credit.

 

 

A diligent hibernation

Every winter I wish I were a bear.  The perfect winter in my world would consist of one good snowfall in the middle of the week that would make the roads in the direction of work impassable but the roads to a ski slope open and clear.  After that one snow, sixty-five degree weather would return and winter would be over. If I can’t have it my way, then I should at least be able to eat until I’m fat and happy, then settle in for a long winter’s nap!

Now back to reality.  I have at least been productive so far this winter instead of curling up in my fuzzy robe and hibernating. Not that I have much choice considering in four months I have to move again and throw in a wedding and house remodeling to boot.

purple fabric

Here are some of my accomplishments since January: Hand dyed fabric for a big, upcoming project that I will show you eventually (yes, the purple fabric here),  the wedding invitation designed, kitchen cabinets painted, in the process of learning pattern design, more pillows being made for my Etsy shop and various and assorted art pieces that may or may not see the light of day.

Upcoming projects for February: Probable website changes in works, this weekend begins the priming and painting of two bedrooms, we have to get estimates on some floor repair and pick out new flooring, planning on some socialization time for Odie dog at the park (he seems to be getting more anxious and fearful) and of course the dreaded taxes need to get finished. Whew!

What hasn’t been happening?  House cleaning is at minimal capacity, dogs are not getting their full walks (it’s been cold, wet and nasty many days), cooking is uninspired and limited, social engagements are slim to none. There is always a trade off for productivity.

Things that mess up your tightly packed schedule? This guy!

Bad Bob

Yep, Bad Bob. This week I got a text from D’s neighbors that his horses were out of the pasture.  He was at work, so I got to drive the hour to his house, try to get the three escapees back in the pasture. I was woefully unsuccessful if you must know.  After some discussion with the other neighbor, we deducted that Bad Bob had figured out how to unlatch the pasture gate and had done so twice in less than 24 hours.  The neighbors had already put them back in the pasture once already early that morning! Then I got to drive back the hour home.  About a three hour glitch in my plans.

I have come to conclusion that every living creature has it’s own unique personality complete with good and bad traits.  Bob is eat up with mischief. A horse his size can get into a pile of trouble with that much misdirected smarts.  I think this summer Bad Bob is going to begin some serious training and I’m going to find him a job!

Have a great week! Stay warm wherever you are.