With Thanksgiving

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving if you are in the U.S.  After my whiney, pitiful last post, I’m happy to report that mine was very nice. Stress, exhaustion and the impending cross country move of my son was not a good combination. I would like to say that would be my last pitiful post but I still have Christmas to get through so no promises.


I did get to spend about a week and a half with the “boy” and his girlfriend came for a visit and had Thanksgiving with us. My daughter and son-in-law made it as well. It had been since May that I had seen them in person. Arden and I got in a 4.5 mile hike together along with my grandpup, Rainey. We had a houseful of people and 5 dogs so there were no dull moments. Top all that off with our well pump dying and life gets really interesting. Two and a half days without running water! Why do things like that always happen when we have people in??

Slowly, ever so slowly things are wrapping up with my SIL’s estate. Every week we think we are done at her house, but then something else needs to be done, looked for or moved. We have an impending deadline so hopefully this Satuday will be the last big day over there. Lots of furniture moving to be done as we get the last of the major items out. We are VERY tired of moving furniture! 

Somehow in all of this (I still have a job that requires my attention too) Miss L and I are making Christmas gifts, the Christmas tree is up, I am cleaning out our storage unit of unneeded furniture and the people and animals still get fed. Poor D. hasn’t had a day off in literally months. Even on his days off from his job he is moving furniture, working on the barn, processing deer meat for a few friends and working on the Honey Do list.  When he decides he can squeeze in a few hours of hunting I figure that’s as close as he is going to get to some R&R for another month. We will all be very happy to see 2017 go bye bye!


I wish I could tell you about all sorts of cool, creative things I am doing but I don’t have much. I finished my second pair of knitted socks and plan to start a sweater next and I got in a drawing though it’s not finished yet. There are big plans in the works and hopefully I can share at least one of those next week if all goes well.  Right now the biggest thing I want to accomplish is getting my house clean and catching up on the laundry that piled up during our dry spell! 

My apologies for the same drawing twice. I can’t get it to delete!


Have a great week and be grateful for clean, running water. 

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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.

A Wedding and Other Life Events

One week ago today this happened!


I will have to post more photos later because my photographer (also known as my son) has not finished editing them.  Everything went as planned except for the 95 degree weather that kept us under the pavilion most of the time.  It was relaxed and stress free with some quality family time that we don’t get all that often.

Now the wedding and the move is behind us. This coming week we will be on our annual mission trip with Appalachia Service Project.  I will try to at least post some photos from there but if you don’t hear from me then we did not have cell service. 

After ASP we are looking forward to life settling into some sort of normal. I am itching to get back in my studio and make things. It is summer so here the garden will be taking up some time unless the rabbits and lack of rain finish it off early while we are gone. Here is some of the summer beauty happening  at the moment.


You get short and sweet today.  We have had a week filled with paperwork and now packing. If I don’t get back here next week, I hope you have a wonderful couple of weeks.  

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

Patience required

Life seems to require an ongoing, endless supply of patience.  I’m sure there is something right now that you are having to wait on.  You would think that as the decades fall behind you that patience would get easier.  Maybe it does to a small degree, but overall it seems to be just as difficult at every stage of life.

There are huge “patience required” problems such as waiting for medical test results, medium level problems along the lines of trying to sell a house and the average low level patience trials of traffic, slow service, etc.  Often all of them are happening at the same time!  Why is it surprising that we are all walking around stressed?

First apartment, here she comes!

Today I have a list of low level stressors that are just aggravating the heck out of me.

  • A pile of boxes waiting to go to a recycling event tomorrow, but I still have to wrangle more out of the storage today.
  •  Another pile of boxes that are part of the “slow move” that I keep tripping over.
  •  The one room that still is not finished with the tiling. I have soooo much more to do and this one is taking forever.
  •  Several client jobs that are on hold until decisions are made or meetings rescheduled.
  •  A landscaping project that is on hold until a large water trough can be moved.
  •  Flowers and herbs that need to be planted, but we have a cold snap at the moment so it’s too cold to plant.

There are a few more, but I will not bore you with all of them. Then I remind myself that there have been many times where my patience was required for the HUGE level items.  Yes, I have waited for the medical results.  I have waited for payments from clients while wondering how the bills were going to be paid.  I have waited to hear from kids who were driving alone at night for the first time. Why, after all of these big ticket issues do I continue to let tiny day to day things try my patience?  I should be in Zen mode most of the time!

Bad Bob

Last week I did discover a new method for relaxing that surprised me.  I took a break from tiling floors and wandered out to the barn where D. was doing some work.  As always Big Bad Bob was there offering his equine help.  He was a muddy mess so I got the grooming bucket and intended to just clean him up a bit.  An hour later we had three spiffed up horses and I was the calmest and most relaxed I had been in months!  I don’t know if it was the concentration required (you don’t want to brush a big horse in the wrong direction) or the big, warm creatures who let you know when they appreciate a good scratching or exactly what the combination was, but it worked wonders on me as well as the horses.  I think Bob, KC and Christy will be looking better on a more regular basis from now on.

Well, it’s time for me to head out and face more tiling adventures.  I hope you all have a wonderful week.  Don’t let the little stuff get you down and if it does, find a horse that needs detailing.

Overwhelmed

I’m itching to finish the drawing I’m working on, but I am surrounded by piles and piles of boxes and can’t think!  Both kids are moving out this week, but for a few more days I am drowning in BOXES!

First apartment, here she comes!
First apartment, here she comes!

This is just a small part of what has taken over my home.  There are boxes all down the hall, in the living room, EVERYWHERE.  Tomorrow the majority will be gone when we move my daughter into her first apartment.  By the end of the week it will all be gone and it will be just me and the dog.  I’m not sure how either of us will handle all the peace, quiet and open spaces!

 

 

Here is a little detail of what I’m working on and ready to finish.  It’s soooo close to being done.

Gwen's Lilies
Gwen’s Lilies

Next week there will be a MAJOR CLEANING so my brain can focus again.