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.
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.