Walk, write. Just get off your ass.

I should go outside today and walk.

The cold isn’t quite as bracing as it’s been the last week or so for my west coast bones, and I’m tempted to stretch them in the warm, bright sunlight somewhat like a fat, old lazy cat.

Tempted would be the key word there.

But if I ventured out to traipse back and forth through my old walking course in the neighborhood across the street, what would I think about?  The thought is almost as scary as being stuck on an airplane without a book — nothing to occupy my busy brain.  Nothing to worry about or to plan for, to gossip with a friend over.  Just quiet.  Well, and the occasional home owner who seems surprised to see a human walking down his street after his garage door opens just enough to allow him a line of vision.  Interloper that I’d be, my presence would put him in the awkward position of making eye contact and possibly uttering a greeting, or more commonly, have to avert his gaze so as not to invite one.

I could use the time to prod myself over writing if I went for a walk.  Or organize my plan of attack on the area of our house that is supposed to be a garage and is more like a junkyard right now.  Or make some kind of a schedule for something.  Anything.  You know, so I can have one.

Aren’t people supposed to have schedules?

I think people have schedules to have them — not because they’re necessary.  It takes time to plan them, and keep them, and check things off as you complete them. It fills the time in a day so that when your head hits the pillow at night, you can feel like you’ve been a good productive human instead of a lazy ass.

If I had a schedule, I would be well into it today, have my grocery list made, probably already have purchased and put away those groceries, and be up to my very sore elbows in some new recipe.  (Minestrone sounds heavenly right now in case you’re wondering, but I’m struggling to decide whether that lentil recipe with orzo would be better….)

But I’m here instead, thinking about next week, yet another new year, and the overwhelming possibilities that come with that inevitable flip of a single calendar page.

All I have to do is reach out and choose.

It’s amazing, isn’t it?

For instance, I could write a book.  I keep threatening to, but know that I’ll get around to it some day — after I have a schedule.  The world needs another book about yet another human who overcomes challenge and adversity and still has a positive outlook on life, right?  I’d definitely need a schedule to complete this daunting task, and would absolutely need to walk every single morning to get it done.  I know this.  Walking helps me sort out the tiny details as much as it also helps me unravel huge structural knots.

I could finally upgrade this site to 2.7 because I should have a long time ago.  But where would the spammers get to park their disgusting crap?

I could flip the switch on my food blog since it’s been ready and waiting for the domain I’m paying for and haven’t used so far, needing a week to work out all the kinks I never quite understand.  Actually, I will be doing that next week.  Yikes!

I could make a list of resolutions to consider, but I’m never very good at that, so wouldn’t take it very seriously and would struggle not to put something on it like, “I will make sure I change out of my pajamas every day all year before 2PM.” What’s the point of taking off flannel bottoms if all I’m going to put on is yoga pants?

I could get a job, but then I’d have to have a schedule, right? And clothes, and, and, and…I’m still removing suit coats and trousers I no longer wear.  Why would I want to start that all over again.  God forbid having to worry about whether my sweater is five years old, or my shoes are not quite fashionable.

I could go on a health-nut get-into-shape change-my-life type permanent binge, but then what would I do with a new body?  Write a new blog so I could tell others how they, too, can have killer abs?  I know mine are under my middle age spread somewhere.

I’d rather say, “Let’s not and say we did” to it all right now.

But that walk is sounding kind of nice about now.

Home for the Holidays

It’s been quite a lot of work, and has taken all the patience I’ve ever had — okay, so maybe not counting pregnancy — but the work on our house is done.

Happy Holidays

For the past week, I’ve been fixing and cleaning and enjoying the new look just long enough to put off that not only did I need to sort through the mountain of stuff in the garage, but also pull out all the holiday trappings.

My sister and her family are coming to spend the holidays with us this year, so I’ve also had to venture into my son’s area and sort of detox.  Good thing there’s new carpet and paint, right?

So welcome to our home and Happy Holidays!

Ahhh…no more barf stains from the cat. Nice.

And then there’s that area that the pets used to love to deposit their *ahem* on. It was beyond gross. But no more. Bwahahahahha!
And then there’s the powder room down there.   Just a tad different…

So nice not to have the carpet. Love the wood. Love it.  And there’s still a rug for the ani-mules to lay on when the sun shines through the skylight.

Not missing the ugly fireplace at all. Can’t imagine why.

And I’m loving the new dark, dark red wall in the family room and my kitchen — and a freshly painted ceiling with no remnants of where I started to paint three years ago and then pooped out.

Not quite a perfect reason for not writing here, but nearly. I can blame the rest of my time on that food blog. I definitely have to get my priorities in order for the new year so that I can get back to writing about something other than food. For those of you who stop by and still read, I appreciate it quite a bit.

Thanks for not giving up on me — yet.

Here’s to you and yours. Have a lovely holiday.

Dust, Old Things & Memories

Somehow when we started all of this construction business, I figured it would be fun to post the ups and downs of going through the mess I know is involved.  Best laid plans.  What seemed like forever was really only about six weeks, so I should have been able to write about some of it, but it’s not like we were renovating the Taj Mahal.

I guess putting up with this most recent mess isn’t such a bad way to live if in the process I can once again discover the joys of good housekeeping.  *insert loud snorting and guffawing here* But I tell you, the old body just isn’t what it used to be.  Hauling furniture up and down the stairs may sound like a great idea for working the glutes, but I pay for whatever gain I may get with excruciating pain in my arms.  Imagine a hot pole being stabbed through your arm every few seconds if you type, or cook, or grip anything.  Lovely.  I am seriously good at sucking it up, however.  I come from a very long line of women who just grin and bear it.  Imagine the badges we’ll get when we reach those pearly gates.

But I am enjoying putting things back in order.  Having to look at all of it in dusty piles and eliminating a few places I used for storage has forced me to reconsider some of my possessions.  If I actually knew how to use eBay and didn’t mind mailing things, I’d have a roaring business ahead of me, but it’s more challenging than that.

When I look at many of my things, I can’t say they have any but sentimental value.  For the most part, they remind me of times in my life that were filled with hope and some dreams that never quite came to fruition.  When I look at them, I smile, remember, and know that it’s fine that none of it happened, but stuffing it all in a box to sit in the garage doesn’t seem right.  So I’m sorting through it all and wondering what stays and what goes.  What matters and what doesn’t.

What matches…

Because when you get right down to it, if I don’t think it matches, it’s outta here.  Well, maybe not quite that harshly.  There’s more of a routine that goes something like this:

1)  Move the item to a spot where it’s less noticeable — like the office upstairs.  It’s the “I love it, but there’s no place to put it” graveyard.  Nobody ventures up to the land of the Resident Teen but us, so I can put my items up there to sit for a while.  A long while.

2)  After I’ve given the item all the love and attention it’s going to get, and the layer of dust on it makes it appear somewhat like a chia pet, it goes in a box that’s headed for the closet. Any closet will do.  It’s still in the house, and maybe comes out at certain times of the year — maybe —  but clearly, things aren’t looking good for it.

3)  Once the box is full, it’s moved down to the garage to sit along side other similar boxes.  When I walk by the boxes, I’m reminded how much I liked those items, and oh aren’t they cute and I should go through them to decide what will stay and what will go.  Later.  Much later.

4)  When we get tired of not being able to park both of our cars in the garage and actually clean it, I sort through the items, keep a few for old time’s sake and donate the rest.

The time is seriously now for one of those donations.  I will wave lovingly from the garage as the truck pulls away with my memories hoping they will find a new home.


Is it Christmas yet?

As I think of the weeks that lie ahead, many things cross my mind.  Yes, Christmas is upon us again, but it hasn’t quite descended upon our home life yet. I know it will in a week or so, and have spent much of today feeling the beginnings of worry I’ve grown accustomed to over the years related to “getting ready.”  But I’m thinking I need to get rid of the worries, and know that everything always works out.

I head outside for my nightly visit with the sky and am surprised by the wind.  The palm fronds are tapping insistently against one another, and I inhale, expecting the slightest scent of the ocean, but instead, it’s someone’s late night dryer load filling the air, making me think of the laundry I didn’t do today.  The sky is a ceiling of clouds tonight, so there will be no gazing or counting of lucky stars.  The air is lovely, and not what you might expect on an early December night — even here.

That means the windows will be open again tonight, and at some point, one of us will get up to silence the clacking the blinds make against the window sill.

It probably won’t be me.


Construction and Ugly Cookies


I’m exhausted, and I’m always surprised when I realize it.  Like someone who doesn’t spend 12 hours a day at the office shouldn’t be tired — ever.  So not only am I exhausted, I’m annoyed that I’m exhausted.

It’s pretty pathetic.  No, I’m pathetic.

To give myself half a break today, I’m looking at the disaster area that used to be my house, realizing that my black mood is most likely the result of construction that isn’t due to conclude for another two weeks — well, and deciding to engage in nearly two weeks of baking and writing about cookies.  What in hell was I thinking?

It’s always exciting when construction begins, but I’ve been through it twice before, so know that it gets stressful. I should know better, but the last two times, I was out of the house all day and didn’t have to watch and worry.  As nice as it is to be able to see all the changes happening each day, it’s not pleasant to see all the kinks in the plans, as well.  Add this additional cost to that additional cost, and the persistent drone from the talking heads on the television about the nation’s economic woes only makes it worse.  This morning I wanted to pull the covers over my head, wish the crew could let themselves in, and let them work as if I didn’t exist — which would be a bit strange considering the lump I’d make on the bed sitting in the middle of an empty room.

Our room is the only one in the house that’s nearly empty.  The others have all had our possessions shoved into them and smaller items perched on top, stacked in ways I’d never have attempted in any other situation.  We’ve been lucky that only one thing has been broken, and it wasn’t valuable from a monetary sense, but did have some pleasant memories attached to it.

There’s dust everywhere.  Even though plastic sheets are draped from time to time, it seems not to matter because the garage door is open, and the constant breeze through the house just distributes the particles everywhere.  In the beginning, I tried to vacuum at the end of each day in the small area where we can actually move around, but have given that up since I’ve run out of space to set things that weren’t packed.  I have dishes that have survived more than 100 years sitting in the middle of my family room.  As I stare at them, I wonder what I’m going to do with them.  Even if I purchased more boxes, there’s no more room in the garage to put anything.  And next week, the painters come.

Being the foodie I am, you’d think that sitting in front of my Mac tending to my food blog and cooking to my heart’s content would keep me happily occupied, wouldn’t you?  And it should, but at this point, I’m tired of that, too.  In fact, I’m so tired of it, I’m questioning why I’m doing it — and not just the cookie making.  Somewhere along the line, it has consumed my entire life and I make time for little else.  Like I said — pathetic.

All I want to do is clean my house.  I want to organize the piles and go through boxes and stacks.  I’m supposed to be choosing hardware for the doors and stair rails, but I’m not.  I should be tossing things we don’t need, and organizing yet another donation of items we no longer use, but can’t.  There’s no space to do it in.

Taking a shower is a pain, and putting on makeup or doing anything with my hair involves squeezing into a little space in front of my mirror in between the cat food tray and litter box, so I don’t.  But when I have to, there are usually strange men walking back and forth and it’s not that comfortable acting like I don’t care if they can see me putting on my eyebrows or peering at the wrinkles under my eyes in my magnifying mirror.  But who cares, right?

And the scariest part of all of this — Christmas is how many days away?  I can’t even imagine how I’m going to pull that off.  But I’ll try, and it will be great *whips superficial happy face from back pocket.* If one or two — okay, so maybe three bad days in the course of this is all I’ll have, then I guess that’s not too horrible.

I just wish the intensity wouldn’t build up in me like it does, surprising me when I should come to expect it.

And when it finally wraps its ugly coils around my throat, I don’t want to have to squelch my anger, or feel guilty over it and have to go into my “count my blessings” mode.  I don’t want to have a little heart to heart with myself about how nice it’s going to be when it’s all finished, or be thankful for what we have because we’re so fortunate, because I’ve already done that.  I do that every single day.  Relentlessly. It doesn’t erase the upwelling of ugliness that permeates every pore in my skin, and so I give in to it.

What I do want is to take a hot bath.  I want bubbles, and candles, and wine with that bath, please, and a book that almost reads itself.  Just one bath.  That’s all.

Maybe then, my mood could possibly improve to grey with chances of silver linings.

But writing it here helps, and eating five or six of the ugliest cookies I’ve ever seen.

Okay, so, maybe only sort of ugly.

But ugly.