Tuesday, November 06, 2018

And The Election Is Finally Here


Have you voted yet? Even though early voting has become very convenient, I usually like to vote on the actual day. So on Tuesday, November 6, I will take the very short walk to a neighboring church and cast my vote. And I'm hoping my team wins. I know you all may feel the same about your choices, and I am trying my best to respect them if they are not the same as mine. But I find it very difficult. It still surprises me that two people can listen to the very same words, yet hear such different things.
The first time I voted was for George McGovern. I stayed up most of the night listening to speeches. During the years, I have probably picked more losers than winners. There have been candidates I have loved. There have been others that scared me. This year I really don't know about the outcomes. I have tried to listen to both sides. Yet, at the same time, I am weary of all of it. I really don't remember a time when there have been so many issues  and so many strong opinions. And these are only the midterms!
For most of my voting life, my husband and I had nearly the same opinions when it came to politics.  We didn't usually talk about who we were voting for ahead of time, but we always found out it was the same candidate. I remember one year when I didn't really like any of the major choices, and so I voted for either the Green Party or Libertarian candidate. I don't know which. And then I discovered that he voted for the same one! We liked the same news shows, and the same political commentators. He watched a lot more tv than I did, and was very well informed. Discussing politics was always fun and lively. We both had a lot to say, but we didn't usually surprise one another.
I can't say that this year. John and I both believe in the importance of voting, but I am pretty sure most of our votes will cancel one another out. He surprises me all the time.  He's also very well informed, and he makes me think. But I don't think he'll try to change my mind.  He just wants to hear my opinion.  And that's okay with both of us. I'm looking forward to more surprises ahead.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Revisiting the Past


This is the Flynn Mansion at Living History Farms. It was built in 1870 by a railroad contractor and was a very modern house at the time. Hot and cold running water! Indoor bathrooms! Gas lighting! I was privileged to work here as Supervisor for several years, and often thought that being an historic interpreter was the best job in all the world. I miss it.
During my time as "Mrs. Flynn", I studied Victorian crafts, housekeeping,and manners and morals. I know a bit about such topics as proper wardrobes, tea parties, etiquette, setting a table, cooking and baking on a woodstove, managing servants, and many kinds of needlework.
There was a time when I could tell you the high points of decorating. I used to call this the fruit, flowers, fringe, feathers, fur, and fainting couches tour.
I knew Queen Victoria's Secrets.
I could make a hat, starting from a buckram foundation, and finishing with the trimmings. I knew exactly what a lady would keep in her reticule.
I knew the proper games for boys and girls.
I could send messages with a bouquet of flowers, or a fan.
And I could make jewelry from hair.
I recently went back for an afternoon and demonstrated hairwork. Although most jewelry was made with human hair, we use horsehair to show the procedure. We can buy it, cleaned and ready to use. (Disclaimer: No animals were harmed during this process.)
Hairwork was very common from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century. It was at a height of popularity during the Civil War. A sentimental lady could weave lengths of her hair to make a watch chain. Whenever her beau would look at his pocket watch, he would be reminded of his sweetheart at home.

The table is used to make the chain. A pattern is laid on top of the table, and the strands of hair are twisted to form the braid. The book on the parlor table is a reproduction of "The Art of Hairwork", written by Mark Campbell, and first published in 1867. It has instructions for a table, many patterns, and was also a catalog of jewelry that could be ordered.
At one time I collected jewelry. Here are pictures of the pieces that I have. The chain is for a pocket watch. Most of the other pieces are brooches. These are beautiful gold pins with compartments to hold a tiny bit of hair. The hair was often made into small flowers, braids, or curls. Many of these were mourning pieces, with names and dates engraved on the back. Some are reversible. It was possible to show the contents, or to wear it with the precious memory close to one's heart. Hair jewelry was a very sentimental decoration, and the pieces were treasured.
                                   
 Hairwork flowers are made with knitting needles. You may have seen these formed into a wreath or other design. This one is always on display at Flynn. Many shapes of flowers can be made from a basic gimp, which is formed over the needles, and secured with a thin wire. Wreaths were often formed in an open, horseshoe shape. This meant it was a friendship wreath, made from hair collected from friends and family members. When the circle was closed, it was a memorial wreath.

Here are some of the many flowers that can be made. Beads and tiny artificial leaves can be added for color. The song  is from the nineteenth century.
When I demonstrate hairwork, it is one craft that is very high on the "Ick" scale. Today, many people think this is just a little too unusual. I have often seen visitors jump backwards when I explain what I am doing! And yet, these same people are often the ones to tell me that of course they saved their babies' curls!                                    

Friday, August 10, 2018

Anniversaries

Today is my 50th wedding anniversary. At least it would be if there were still two of us here. Jim has been gone for seven years now, and my life has changed at least 77 ways in those years! A golden anniversary is a pretty big thing, even if only one of us is can acknowledge it. I tend to mope around a lot, play sad music, and just be generally depressed and totally miserable on all our holidays. Tonight, I will even be working at Hamilton's, which, by the way, is the last place I saw him. I know, bad choice. I really wasn't looking at my calendar when I said yes to that one. Even though it sounds strange, working at the funeral home has been very healing for me over the past few years. I just don't like to be there on my own significant days. Oh well, as my mother-in-law used to say: "Offer it up". See what I mean, I dwell in the past on days like today.
But, this year everything feels better. I've mentioned here before that I am seeing someone. I really thought that I could never care for anyone else, and it surprises me all the time that I do. And, sometimes, I feel guilty and that I shouldn't expect to have any happiness again. Yet, I feel so lucky every day to  have found such a nice man, and that he cares about me, and that we enjoy being together. Thank you, John, for coming into my life.
And, so, along with the sad songs, and the memories, I am listening to new songs. And I am enjoying making new memories. And feeling alive. And looking forward to the future. Happy Anniversary to me.
"The broken will always be able to love harder than most. Once you have been in the dark, you appreciate everything that shines."                Zachry K. Douglas

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What a Way to Get a Bouquet.....or Always Carry An Epipen

Sunday was my birthday. It wasn't the big one, but close enough. I had a lovely party with my family. I received a beautiful necklace from my special someone. And my frat boys left flowers at my door. Life was good.
Monday was not so good. I have had some serious allergies for many years. And I have had testing more than once. I've had an epipen for over 30 years. Not the same one, of course. They are only good for a year, and cost a few hundred dollars each time. I have never actually injected myself, but have practiced. I have, however, been to the ER several times over the past few years, and stay a few hours while they monitor me and give me iv's.  I am always very careful not to eat things that might be dangerous for me, but there is something out there. We can't yet figure out what it is, but it is trying to kill me. I can always tell immediately if I have eaten the wrong thing.
This time it was a little different. I was at the grocery store, and my eyes started to feel puffy. Usually it begins with itching in my ears and my mouth, so I just took a Benedryl and started to drive home. About ten minutes later I decided to keep on going to the ER, I thought I was making a good decision, but I have been lectured several times today by doctors and nurses that it should be epipen in one hand giving myself a shot, while I am calling for an ambulance with the phone in my other hand. 
I spent the past three days in the hospital, mostly in the ER, and Intensive Care. I was in severe anaphylactic shock, and was sedated, and on a ventilator for sixteen hours. I know it brought back some terrible memories for my kids. This was the way Jim died, almost exactly seven years ago. He was on life support, and we had to make the decision to let him go. I know they had to be thinking of that time while they watched and waited with me day and night.  I am sorry to put them through that again. I am looking pretty bruised and battered, and full of medicine, and a lot less blood than I had in my veins a few days ago. Lucky for me, they didn't have to pull that plug. 
And I got flowers:
 


I'm sure there must be easier ways! I want to say thank you to all the wonderful staff at Mercy Hospital. And to my children, even though they didn't recognize me and told the nurse that I wasn't their mother. To the people who did see me, I hope you forget. It was not pretty, but I am glad to be here and grateful for all the caring messages I received. And once again, Life is Good!

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Jigsaw Puzzle Decorating

When I was about twelve, my dad gave me a box filled with lined cards and dividers. The cards were smaller than typical index cards and the box was about fifteen inches long, with a fitted lid. On the first card I wrote the title "Revelations of My Soul". I had borrowed those words from a vampire story I had recently read. I thought it was fitting. For the next several years, I filled those cards with thoughts, and quotes, and many, many revelations. When I moved away, I had a little ceremony, and burned the cards, along with all my teenage journals. It felt like a very grown-up thing to do. But, it never stopped me from collecting files. Over the years, I have had a variety of boxes, indexes, and furniture files. My first four drawer file was a Christmas gift, and I was thrilled with it. And I have always loved to write info on index cards. And drawers with labels are their own particular sort of heaven, I think. I am sure it seems disconcerting to a lot of people, but I am comforted by paper. Now that I live in my tiny space, you can see that there isn't a lot of room for furniture, but I employ my own kind of jigsaw puzzle decorating. I long for "white space", and fantasize about becoming a minimalist, but obviously, I don't want it enough to leave any gaps unfilled! If I can find a way to fit something in, I will do it. My granddaughter used to call our house the house of doors and drawers, because I had so many cupboards and drawers in it. I don't have a lot of cupboards and drawers anymore. I only kept my favorites. And I have found a way to fit them in to my space. My latest treasure is shown above. I fell in love with this metal file cupboard at a store nearly a hundred miles, away. And it took four trips to get it home! The first time I had to find a place that it would fit. The second trip, I went back to see it again, measured and purchased it. The third trip was a miscalculation. We found it was just a smidge too long to fit in my daughter's vehicle. And after the fourth, and final trip, it came to live with me. And it is perfect. It has thirty six pullout drawers, and holds file folders and magazines. All of them are labeled. I do love labels.
The picture below is a cupboard I have had for many years. It is oak with sliding doors below, and seventeen drawers above. All labeled, of course. It also has two pull out "bread board shelves", so I can use it as a desk. Some people may think that is a lot of file drawers for a tiny room, but I've never made a secret of the fact that I would live in a library if I could. For the first two years that I lived here, this favorite cupboard was in storage. And finally, I decided to move some of the more traditional furniture, and find a place for it. My rooms came furnished.  Very new and nice, but never to my taste. I've lived here now for three years, and keep adding my own things back in. I think of myself like Mary Kate in the movie, "The Quiet Man". Do you remember how she just wanted to have"her things about her"? John Wayne wasn't enough. She needed her antique furnishings too.
I know it looks very crowded, and my style of decorating these days is layered, labeled, and stacked. Sometimes, I think that everything I have is on top of something else. My rooms are actually taller than they are wide, so it seems that the only way to go is up.

Friday, April 20, 2018

News on the Homefront

Image result for top secret stamp
In case anyone has noticed, I haven't been writing very much lately. My last post was in January. The reason isn't because nothing happens in my life. To the contrary, I have been pretty busy here in 2018. I just don't have a lot that I feel like I can write about!

I am still a fraternity House Director, also known as a frat mom. I am just about to finish my third year. The house is still standing, so I guess I am doing an okay job. I enjoy living with all this young energy, even though I sometimes wonder if they notice that I am here. Even though I have been a mother for most of my life, I was pretty naive about many things when I moved here. I see and hear  many things that surprise me, and I have a lot of amusing and heartwarming stories. But I feel like they are not my stories to share. So I don't really say a lot about these young men, except to brag about them sometimes.

I have another part time job that I never really talk about. Since a few months before I "retired" from the pediatric clinic four years ago, I have been working a few days a week as an FSA-family services assistant, at a funeral home. I have a variety of duties. I take photos and arrange flowers and mementos, move furniture, and make coffee. I pick up tissues that grieving people don't even realize they drop on the floor. I have written obituaries and designed folders. I am there to help make things easier for families at their worst times. Often I have situations that I never, ever thought I could handle. And I always hope that I have learned to face those occasions with grace and compassion. And I have lots of stories, some heartbreaking, and some hilarious. (Nothing makes a person value and appreciate life more than working with death.) But, once again, I don't feel like they are my stories to share.

And the third reason that I have been so quiet lately.......I have a boyfriend. A gentleman friend. A companion. I'm really not sure what you call it at this stage of life. Boyfriend sounds silly. Gentleman friend is a little old fashioned, even for this victorian gypsy. And companion makes me feel like Tonto, the faithful companion of the Lone Ranger.  Are we going steady? I'm really not sure what it is, but I know it has changed my life. It took me a long time to become accustomed to being an independent woman, who didn't need anyone in her life. But, just when I was sure that my life was never going to be any better, it turned upside down.

It's been a long time since I felt happy for no reason. But now I do. Everyday. Tonight I saw a friend I hadn't seen for several months. She commented that I looked so much happier and younger! I don't look any thinner though. I guess that might be the next step. I spend a lot more time going out to eat than ever before. And I am even thinking about remembering how to cook again. That isn't too easy though. It's been three years since I had a kitchen! 

The oddest thing about old people romance is that it sometimes makes me feel like I am a teenager again, uncomfortable and awkward. But it can also be more comfortable, and refreshingly candid.  We both know what a good relationship can be. And we know what it is like to care about and build a life with one special person since the time we were very young. When I was a teenager, I never thought about getting older, or my future health and longevity, or what my children would think about me caring about someone new. As for my children, who are now middle-aged, they seem to be fine with it. As long as I don't talk about the details. My friends, on the other hand, want details that I don't even have.

And that's all I have to say about my secret life. For now, anyway.




Saturday, January 20, 2018

Spinning Around

Well, hello there. It's Saturday again, and I am writing. I did miss about eight weeks, just after I told myself that I no longer lived in a fog! (See last blog post, Nov 18 "Best of Plans".) I see it was all about finding contentment in my life just the way it was. So, of course, that same life did its' famous spin around and about--just as soon as I wrote those words.
I spent two wonderful, glorious weeks in England, which I think everyone must know is my favorite place in the world. But just before I left, I received two surprising messages. I am still trying to process one of them so I will leave it for another day. The second message was from an old friend. It was an invitation to dinner. This may seem like very normal to most people, but please remember this: My last date was in 1967. Yes, it had been a while. And do you know what happens when someone like me suddenly has a date? I will tell you. Dating advice. That's what. And times have changed. Of course, there are still the basics, and I would like to share what I have heard from friends and family.

Here are TheTop Ten Rules For Dating When You Don't Know How
1. Don't shave your legs. (This will keep you from making unwise decisions.)
2. Be sure to shave your legs. (Just in case you want to walk on the wild side.)
3. Get a pedicure. (Okay, I can do that.)                                                 
4. Buy new underwear. (Whaaaaaaatt????????)  
5. Remember "Netflix and Chill" is a code. (Neither of us knew the code, so that was ok)
6. Don't dress up too much. (You'll look like you are trying too hard.)
7. Don't wear jeans, sweat pants, or leggings (Not caring enough)
8.Don't talk too much. (I probably failed that one. I talk a lot. And then I worry that I talked a lot)
9.Be cool. Don't ask too many questions. (Failed that one too. I always want answers.)
10. And my favorite-- Don't wear your Death jewelry. ( I probably do have way more "death jewelry" than the average person. It's all those years of Victorian influence)

The evening went very well. And I'm happy to say there have been more very pleasant evenings. Sometimes, I feel very, very comfortable with the whole situation, and other times I feel like I am 15 again. I think I am finally learning to put the Past where it is supposed to be, and really living in my Now. I still don't know about my Future, but then we never do.

Message just pulled from the Wish Bottle: What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
                                                              

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Best of Plans

A few weeks ago, in a very productive moment, I made a commitment to write here once a week. It seemed like a good plan at the time! And now it is Saturday again. My mind doesn't exactly go blank, but I never know how to cohesively put things together, so that this writing has a theme. Tonight, I think that the theme is just my life and muddling through, with a lot of surprises along the way. Years ago, when I began recording my thoughts, I thought this would be a creating, crafting, homemaking blog. Well, since I don't really have a home, and now I don't even have a kitchen, that isn't happening.
 I miss having a real home, more now than when I first moved here. I was in a fog for such a long time, and nothing meant much at all to me. At least I have finally gotten past that (mostly). I enjoy living here in the fraternity. I like all the background noise, really. I like the energy, and I like the friendly hellos.  It is good for me, and contrasts and balances well with my other work. I have realized I am in a time of contentment with where I am right now. And every day I try not to envy what I don't have. And of course, I'm not so happy when the fire alarm goes off, or someone presses the elevator panic button. That hardly ever happens, except for the past two nights! Maybe contentment isn't quite the right word. Adventure? Sleep Deprivation?
I heard something today that I will remember. Somebody said to Outlive life. That probably means something different to everyone. But to me, it means that we can have lots of different times in our life, and we should make the most of them all. Even when our plans don't happen the way we think they should.
A Saturday Wish: Reach for your dreams. They contain life's magic.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Shopping Adventures


 I am not sure if I hate to shop, or if I just hate the idea of shopping, but it is something I do as seldom as possible. I wait, and wait, until it is absolutely necessary, and then I buy whatever I see. I prepare, I make a list. I know what I need.  I resolve to come home with the perfect much-needed travel worthy coat. Instead I end up with a poncho in the same color I already have, and a very expensive nail treatment for my damaged fingernails. (Yes, I smiled a friendly greeting at the pretty young woman in the kiosk, and before I knew what I was doing............) And, if I trouble to try it on, and it fits, suddenly it is mine. I like to look at things, and I like to do it quietly. If I were prone to panic attacks, I would have one every time I go into a mall. The fact that salespeople always want to help me makes me want to palpitate. There are many reasons for my reluctance to shop, and nearly all of them began a few years ago.  My happy, cozy, comfortable life changed drastically, and crowds and happy people, especially during the holidays, made every little memory and emotion a thousand times worse.  Because of this, I mostly shop online, even now. And in bookstores. One of my happiest moments ever was probably when someone thought of putting a coffee shop into a bookstore. Traditionally, no one asked to help you in a bookstore, but I am afraid that is changing. I have started to spend more time in libraries, but it isn't the same. No coffee, and often there is a wait list for favorites. People don't talk to me though, and I like that. And there isn't any danger of buying the wrinkle cream that I will probably never use anyway.
 I don't dislike people, and I really do consider myself to be friendly. I just don't seem to be a social shopper. As soon as I make eye contact with a sales person, I buy. Maybe, because I want to leave, or I want to be-lieve every thing they tell me!
I usually shop alone. When I go with a group, I am never the one who finds the bargain, or the perfect treasure. I know women who have a great talent for that, and I do respect them for it. In fact, I will soon be spending two weeks with two of the best shoppers I know. (And dearest friends)  I am hoping that some of their expertise settles on my shoulders. And that I am wise enough to remember that having an extra suitcase costs one hundred dollars in baggage fees.
Christmas Shopping in England. This may just make shopping fun again

Saturday, November 04, 2017

The Vagabond Traveler

I have been working on a little project called "The Jessie Chorley Friendship Quilt". It isn't finshed yet, but I thought it would be fun to share, along with some exciting (for me, anyway) news. I ordered a kit for this embroidery and pieced quilt from one of my favorite shops in London. I haven't been there, but I think it is probably tiny and quaint. The embroidery templates, thread, and some fabrics came in this little canvas bag. The idea behind it is that people work together and share materials to finish their quilts. Her shop was a bit far for me, so I just worked alone, while I watched British mysteries on the telly.

 They aren't very big. I think it will measure about 14 inches by 22 inches when it is finished. Mine will go on one of my walls. Most of the fabrics are vintage and it is very primitive in design. I am hoping to have lots of embroidery included. The exciting news for me is that I will take it with me when I visit London, and hope to get a photo opportunity in her shop.
Yes, I am going to England again. I always think that maybe I should visit someplace else, but I am drawn to England in so many, many ways. And there are still so many places I haven't seen, or need to see again. This time my two traveling friends and I are visiting small villages close to London, and spending two days in the city. We will be living for two weeks in Hollow Tree Cottage. Part of the cottage was built in the sixteenth century and has a thatched roof.  I'm hoping it isn't too cold, because we will be there the end of November and first part of December. Yes, in just a few weeks. I usually need a long time to plan a trip. As much as I would like to be a spontaneous traveler, I am not one. But this journey came about very suddenly, and everything fell into place. Sometimes life can be grand!
My Saturday Wish from the WishBottle: Nobody really cares if you are miserable, so you might as well be happy. Cynthia Nelms

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Saturday's Wishes

 I have been challenged recently to write on a regular schedule. I am starting with Saturdays. That may change as my schedule is different every day of the week. I am trying to add a little more routine into my days. Hopefully, I will soon be writing more than once a week, but, right now, this seems like a giant leap for The Victorian Gypsy.

Many years ago, when I thought I would become known for my crafting and creativity, I made what I called Saturday's Wishes. They were whimsical little messages and quotes rolled up into beaded scrolls and put into a decorated bottle. I thought they were marvelous and magical and quite the best thing ever. I had a large cupboard with 49 labeled drawers just for the bottles and beads and papers and magic wands, and everything one needed to make bottles of Wishes. Star confetti included.
Times change. Years pass.  I now have a tiny little cupboard in my entry with room for a few of my favorite things. Some of them are gypsy, of course. And a bottle of Wishes. The tag is there to remind me:
"Any day can be a Saturday!!! Inspiration and Whimsy To Take As Necessary". It is time for me to add both inspiration and whimsy into my life again.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sandi's Queen Sweep Story




I haven't written much at all on my blog, but I wanted to see if I could share this video. And I think it worked!  I belong to an online group started by Anna Kunnecke.  It is about housekeeping, getting your life in order, and just being a part of making the world a better place. It is very unconventional, but I love being a part of it and learning about others, and the way people think. I even have a tee-shirt that says EFBA. Don't ask-it stands for one of those words I don't say, but I certainly do hear it a lot in my frat house mom life. And Anna can tell you things so sweetly and so fiercely, and get right to the core of who you can be.  Anna and her family may not be everybody's cup of tea, but you are really missing out if you don't discover her for yourself.
Anna asked for volunteers to be interviewed, and I thought it would be a good time to give my comfort zone a push so I did. Here is my video.
As has sometimes happened with me in the past few years, I talked a lot about grief, and change, and friendship, and housekeeping.  Giving things up, letting go, moving on, and trying not to hold on to every little piece of the past have a lot to do with housekeeping and getting your life in order.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Another Year


A year has passed since I published "Sixty Seven Rules of Life". My life, that is. It wasn't easy to come up with 67. I've never been a person who could make a list of 100 Things. I tried once and quit after 25. And now, it has been another year (Happy Birthday to Me) and I told myself that I only needed one. And it isn't easy. But here it is:
68. Keep trying. No matter what, no matter how hard it seems, just keep trying.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED:
1.   It is never about things.
2.  Always try to leave it better than you found it. (Thanks, Gerry)
3.  Everyone has a right to an opinion.
4.  Opinion isn't always truth.
5.  Eat dessert first.
6.  Love is always the right answer.
7.  Younger isn't better.
8.  We waste too much time wishing things were different.
9.  Just because they sell it in my size doesn't mean I should wear it.
10.But, if wearing it makes me happy, I shouldn't care what other people think.
11.I can't help it, I still stand by #9.
12.The world is scary for everybody sometimes.
13.We all deserve a chance to sparkle.
14.Discipline can disappear after just one day of not following your plan
15.It's okay to be different.
16.We should all probably take a break from Facebook.
17.I probably won't be able to think of 67 things.
18.Good thing I'm not any older. I would be here all day.
19.Sisters are the bestest friends.
20.My computers always do strange things. I swear, it isn't my fault.
21.My children don't want me to get near their electronic devices.
22.There is a lot of truth in Tarot.
23.I think people should read things til the end.
24.We are all afraid of something.
25. We all hear the same thing differently.
26.It is good to know what your truth is.
27.Everyone doesn't have the same truth.
28. There is no happiness without sadness.
29. Doctors don't always make it better.
30. Sometimes we just have to trust.
31.And sometimes there isn't a reason. (Hardest life lesson that I have learned)
32.Sometimes we have to depend upon ourselves.
33.Money isn't everything.
34.Having money helps.
35.Music always cheers people up. Unless it makes them feel worse.
36.Traveling gets us out of our comfort zone.
37.We learn our limits when being tested.
38.We never really know how we feel about something until it happens to us.
39.Most people have very limited vocabularies.
40.The word f*ck has lost its' shock value for most people.
41. I miss having that one bad word that you only said if you were REALLY upset.
42.Still works for me. I just shocked myself.
43.I'm not sure if dieting is worth it anymore.
44.Making things is a form of meditation.
45.So is yoga, but I have better luck with making things.
46.I still don't understand the point of coloring just to color. A journal page, yes. Coloring book, no.
47.I think it's funny that everyone is suddenly into planners again.
48.I like rules. I wish they would stop changing all the time.
49.I really miss my furniture. It's the hardest part of downsizing.
50.I want this to be the year where I am more care-full of and cherish my friendships.
51.Fifty was actually my favorite age. I would do that year again.
52.I would love to have written a book. Not so sure about actually writing one.
53.I really want to have a plan.
54.Can you plan to be spontaneous? Think about it. This makes me laugh.
55.Forgiving might be just as important as loving.
56.When we create something that lasts, it makes us feel good about the future.
57.Make a quilt, plant a tree, have a baby.
58.If you can't have a baby, hug one.
59.Nobody is really paying much attention to you. Go ahead and dance.
60.I want to start mailing all the cards that I buy for people.
61.Stop and look at the sky.
62.I promise to walk more. Even without a Fitbit.
63.If you look at people with love in your heart, maybe the differences you see won't matter.
64.Time expands when you have less to do.
65.The world is big. There are places to go and things to do.
66.Religion isn't the same as God.
67. Next year, I will only have to add one thing to this list.

Friday, January 20, 2017

This Land Is Our Land

Today is Inauguration Day and I am torn. Part of me wants to watch it all because I like to see history in the making. Another part of me wants to stage my own little silent protest and not watch any of it. I am truly afraid for America's future. I am afraid of the things I have learned about my country's leaders, but, most of all for the truths this election has shown me about our people and our values. I want to give everyone a chance, but I am afraid of being too complacent, and not knowing when it is time to stand up and Resist. What if we are all like the frog who stays in the boiling water until suddenly it is too late? One of the scariest things I have read since the election has been that it is the "nice" people who can be the most dangerous. These are the people who look the other way as long as injustice does not affect them directly. It is easy to be one of the nice people. I have always felt more comfortable being "nice".

I am a little bit political. I don't want to try to convince others to change their views, to knock on doors and make phone calls, but I have always had an interest in the way our system works. Twice in my life I have had jobs at our Iowa Capitol. During the legislative sessions of 1967 and, many years later, in 2010, I learned a tiny little bit about how government does and doesn't work. I know our leaders don't always do what they say they will do, even when they really think they can. I know that there are checks and balances and I hope that will be enough.

So, today, I am doing my own little bit, and making (incredibly unattractive!) pink hats for the marchers tomorrow. I will be there. I will be one of them, and I will be uncomfortable, because I still believe in people, and I hope we will all know when not to be nice.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tiny Bits of Christmas

 I live in a teeny, tiny space, and, as much as I may try, I will never be a minimalist. And I love to decorate. Most of my Christmas things are still in storage, along with my memories, I suppose.
Here are a few of the items that make it feel festive here.
 A few of my ornaments, and what I thought would be my only tree, on a shelf in my entry.

I made this chain my first Christmas alone. The fabrics are saved from bits of pieces  of crafting projects and family clothing. (I used to sew a lot as a young mom, and thought I would turn all those leftovers into a quilt at one time. Never happened.) I got a new sewing machine that year with alphabets, and each of these patchwork rings contain names, dates, sayings I like, family information, etc. They all button together, and were made as a garland for my tree. It was a project that kept me sane during a very dark time. I deconstructed it, and now it hangs on a tension rod in my entry.
 My sweet daughter in law decided I needed a bigger tree, so she brought one, complete with ornaments, lights, and tree skirt. Yes, I am a little crowded.

Garlands on Cupboards
Tiny Trees and Nativities
                                     
Another little bit of cheer.

                         It's pretty obvious that my decorating isn't what it used to be, and I don't do a lot of entertaining within my little space. It's cozy, and filled with old things I love, and just outside my door is the rest of the world I live in now. I had a lot of fun decorating the fraternity house for the holidays. My life is a study in contradictions, but I am content. Happy Holidays to all.