Tag Archives: me

40 before 40.

In the next year, I will…

  1. Pay off all of the credit cards and medical bills.
  2. Create a regular writing practice again.
  3. Go fishing with my daughter.
  4. Ride my horse regularly.
  5. Read at least 15 new books.
  6. Learn to laugh again.
  7. Create rituals and traditions.
  8. Hike more.
  9. Build my greenhouse.
  10. Eat the way I used to: homegrown produce, fresh eggs, raw goat’s milk.
  11. Eat twice a day. Off of a plate.
  12. Make sure that my voice is heard in the current political climate.
  13. Remember when to turn off, unplug, walk away.
  14. Ski more.
  15. Remember to play.
  16. Complete all of the small-ish house projects which remain.
  17. Simplify and streamline our home.
  18. Donate to causes I care about.
  19. Get enough sleep.
  20. Spend more time with Audrey, one on one.
  21. Call old friends more often.
  22. Finish at least three major knitting projects.
  23. Go on at least three local-ish road trips with the family.
  24. Camping.
  25. Spend more time looking at the stars.
  26. Keep a reasonable/normal schedule.
  27. Say yes more.
  28. Go to bed calm… No more stressing out, or binge-reading news.
  29. Find gratitude daily.
  30. Get back into a regular yoga practice.
  31. Forgive more.
  32. Organize a neighborhood “cleanup day”.
  33. Make art. At least a bit.
  34. Reboot my clothing, and pay attention to what I’m wearing.
  35. Take time to do my hair and/or throw on some makeup, at least sometimes.
  36. Rebuild our savings.
  37. Play piano/dulcimer/guitar.
  38. Take a class or start an academic group.
  39. Take Audrey to a play or ballet.
  40. Find space for tiny meditations.
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Manifesting the Universe

I have known several people who believe that if you send energy out into the universe asking for the life you want, it will appear. Some do this through prayer, some through manifesting some karmic link to their past, some through writing, and some just wish on stars. No one has this worked so well for than Duane, whose easel now sits in my kitchen, awaiting a permanent home upstairs in the office. With it are several dozen oil paints, a thin wooden pallette, and a 71 year old box full of brushes.

I am going to begin painting again. This time with oil, which I have never used. I am hoping it will go well, though I know I have so much to learn.

I am home now. While my daughter sleeps upstairs, I alternately read about repairing home coolant systems, and about thinning oil paint without muddying it. Money is tight, the list of projects and repairs here keeps growing, and I am spending my spare moments daydreaming about the changes I want to make in my life. A morning run, a quiet coffee, games with my little girl in the (as yet mostly unplanted) garden, a nice dinner with my family, a couple of hours at the easel or the computer, then knitting on the front porch swing with a cup of tea and fireflies. I want to make our clothes, grow our food, and create beautiful art and writing which will pay for those things when I am too old to make them myself. There is a lot which stands between where I am now and that life which I am hoping for, but each day is a step closer, and I am putting it out to the universe — a wish that I hope will manifest itself.

In the meantime, I will turn over more soil, build a fence. I will fix the coolant system, and hook up a dishwasher. I will plant flowers, and place rocks around them to keep them safe from the dog’s eager digging. I will play my dulcimer, and knit another row on my sweater. I will take heart in the plumbing repairs I did yesterday; knowing that I am capable of all of this, it is not impossible, though it may be slow.

And maybe, I will mix a few paints. I will learn to properly stretch my own canvas. I will be brave enough to share my work, and strong enough to use criticism for repairs. I will send these wishes out into the universe. I will hope for Duane’s luck. And then I will pull back my hair, and get to work.

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More big things.

I have been slowly taking care of the big dumb scary things on my lists. I have been doing research. I have been making plans. I have been coming up with crazy ideas. And some not so crazy. And some so crazy they’re almost sane. It feels as though I am standing on the bank of a river, with a pile of rocks and a pile of sticks, trying to find a way to cross. And because I’m me, I’m weighing every possible option. Getting a bit tangled in the details. Getting ahead of myself. And scared shitless.

I’m writing again. Two projects, now becoming three. Or, maybe just two. I guess I work that way? Or maybe I don’t. I’ll have to let you know when I figure it out. And I’m realizing that if I really want to tell these stories, and offer this help, I must find a realistic way to have a voice. I’m looking at small publishers. I’m looking at POD options. I’m wondering how on earth one does this.

So, that will be the project for this year, I suppose. I have started another blog the other day to try to help me organize (and test) writings from the second/third project. All DIY and cooking and making stuff and fixing an old, old house when it breaks. So… Mother Earth News meets Martha Stewart Living meets This Old House? Something like that. You can visit the blog here. I’ll let you know when I start posting to it in the next few weeks. And when I do, would you do me a favor and let EVERYONE know? Thanks.

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Crystal ball

It has been raining today. Quick, cold intervals when the sky breaks apart and water pounds the windows and the birds sing just a little louder. Occasionally, the sky breaks apart so quickly you can hear it, and lightning burns across the clouds. And then, in a moment, it is gone.

I remember the rain in the jungle we explored together nearly four years ago, in the giddiness of being newly married. The rain there fell every afternoon, a warm, silent, heavy wash. The monkeys would fall silent in the trees, and the parrots would sing a little louder. It seems ages ago now.

It’s funny the things you notice to mark the passage of time. My daughter, one year ago rolling herself over, is now trying to run. This results in a hundred mini-crises a day as her head and feet go at different speeds or in different directions. It’s amazing how we can lose track of our feet once something catches our eye. The baby chicks, just a couple of months ago tiny balls of fluff, now scratch and peck and swarm the backyard, their tiny chirps resembling clucks every day. The woman in the mirror has laugh lines I never really noticed before this year.

We have had quite a bit of rain lately. Often just a quiet shower the birds gather in, but more recently thunderstorms which rock the house and tear branches from our old maple tree in the front yard with each new crack and gust. As I gather them, I try to count their rings. How old is this guardian of our threshold?

I have been so busy lately, though I find it hard to point to what, specifically, I am doing. I have two writing projects, both in their infancy, that have been pulling at my mind. I am organizing, organizing, organizing. I am redefining things again. I am trying to find clever ways to do everything. To find a way to give my family everything, without sacrificing anything. And I am so acutely aware lately of the days as they pass, the tilting of the sun and clouds, and so determined to make certain that all things in the future are accounted for; all loose end tied up.

Meanwhile, the rain pats a quiet rhythm on the roof: tick, tock, tick.

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Chop wood, carry water.

A few pieces of today.

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I have been busy. Writing a resume. Writing essays. Learning how to wire a chandelier. Finding wonderful new projects. Scavenging windows, doors, canning jars. Dreaming. Dawdling.

What have you been doing?

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Becoming…

I am still here; stumbling rag-tag and bewildered after a never-ending list of menial tasks, piecemeal dreams tumbling over each other like bubbles, little breaks of sunshine, and laughter from family which both shocks and thrills me.

Lately, I am a thousand pieces glued haphazardly together: a snatch of melody from a lullaby I have sung every day for seven months, the smell of fresh sourdough, pullets pecking in the strawberry patch, a dream of the next big thing, thoughts of suits and heels, the persistent rhythm of my running shoes on pavement, a glimpse of acceptance and forgiveness.

This month, a road trip, an anniversary, a new best friend for the three of us. I need to put this all together into something tangible, to find the words to describe it all, gather the fragments into a shape without gaps or holes. Soon. Maybe, soon.

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cultivating gentleness

The last several months around here have felt very raw and awkward. There is a fragility which hangs in the air of my house, and surrounds each of us in it’s own way. He retreats from it. I try to fight it. I have always been that way; prone to clawing back when I am hurt, like an injured animal. Just as he has always responded by running to a quiet place and waiting things out. When the two of us are both in this space, the result is cyclical and terrible.

I have always been fairly organized with my time, and always overly ambitious. I have had a great deal of trouble adjusting to the fact that I now have so little control over my time, and it seems I never, never finish things in the time frame I would like to, if at all. My solution to this, of course, is to work harder. To do more. To be even less forgiving with myself and everyone around me. It is a terrible habit of impatience.

And so, I am trying to remind myself to cultivate gentleness. To be kinder with myself, and especially with him. To remind myself to carry his heart like a bird, rather than a stone. To remind myself to carry my own heart the same way. To be accepting of the imperfections of this life. It’s surprising to me how difficult this can sometimes be. How much tending this gentleness requires. How tender it is, and how fragile.

My hope is that in time, we will see this collection of misplaced words and grudges against ourselves as something which adds a richness to our lives. That someday we will feel less ragged and threadbare, and more like an old weathered chair whose velvet seat has long ago worn bare in spots, but whose softness is unmatched, and whose worn wooden arms have a warm smoothness to them which aligns perfectly with your hand.

I am trying to do little things to get us there. Extra reminders, small kindnesses. Daily tending of us to keep away the frost, provide just enough warmth and light, and strengthen our roots.

What little everyday things do you do to care your family or yourself on those days when everything feels tenuous and frail?

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