It is 41F this morning, I am wearing a Chef hoodie, rainbow fuzzy socks and drinking my morning black coffee with my cat keeping my lap, and one hand, warm.
I’m not in Seattle yet, but I think I’m feelin the vibe.
There were a couple sketches and paintings I did when I was taking Art classes in college that were rediscovered as we excavated the library.
This one actually got into a show in the Art Gallery on campus, which was pretty groovy. I got a job at said Art Gallery after the show, which was so much fun. Neurotic. Chaotic. Horrible coffee…but lots of fun.
This was a painting I did in the oil painting class. It was pretty good for a first semester try, and I thought I was going to go into Art after this class…but I have always been a writer. So, ditched Art, studied Literature. I’ve always been grateful that I figured that out early on.
But…these are the last few things I haven’t packed. Tomorrow the movers come and load the truck.
There is no turning back.
Tonight we sleep in sleeping bags.
I have to pack the silverware.
There is no time for over-thinking things.
No more laundry to be done. The clothes are all packed.
No more breakfasts to cook. The pots are all packed.
I am up to my ears in packed boxes, and I almost thought I packed the coffee…but I am very happy to report that I wasn’t that dumb. It was just somewhere else…just like everything else that I have packed into other elses.
Our goal was to only have packed boxes in the house. No clutter, no piles. Everything is either in a box or in the dumpster, and we have done pretty well accomplishing this! The funny thing is, I had stuff laid out in front of our house for weeks with a sign saying, “Free Garage Sale,” and no one touched the stuff. But put the same items in a dumpster, and all of a sudden there are guys with flashlights rummaging around in the middle of the night, every night.
So, for a little mental break to fly me away to mystical lands where giant eagles would move me, instead of UHaul trucks, how about a couple pick-me-up quizzes for this fine Friday?
…wait, it’s Tuesday.
Did I mention I packed the kitchen calendar, and I’m all messed up?
Larger than life…I have definitely gained a few pounds here and there. Mostly on the here.
Hoarding a great treasure in the mountains…well, we are moving to a forest.
Setting my enemies on fire?….Check, check, check.
You are larger than life, stronger than most and some may say you’re hoarding a great treasure in your secluded cave in the mountains. Though some may want to slay you for your treasure, others admire you for your wisdom and grace. And if they don’t, you can always just sneeze at them and set them ablaze
The fox is very mysterious… They can be in groups of their own kind or they can be tamed. Once you look into their eyes you can see more than you would think. Also, you can see they are no different than you. They are happy loving creatures who are a lot of fun. They are also very spiritual beings. Also known on totem polls as the cunning trickster.
Unicorns are the masters of taking Emo to a whole new level.
They are pros at this “mysterious and gentle, but with a gigantic horn that can stab you” deal.
And then traipse off into the forest, without a care in the world.
You are a gentle spirit to those who treat you well, but you will hurt people who hurt you. You are a bit wary of people because they have hurt you so much. But when good people are around you, they always seem to feel a bit better. You are very compassionate and kind, even if you are a bit wild.
You are a very curious person. As a kid growing up in medieval times, you heard about a secret order of witch doctors that can heal every disease. You joined their order and learned all the secrets to this dark and lost ark. Now, you use your power and knowledge to help people. You are a truly great person!
Although, I really think I would be on par with Gawain more than, say, Lancelot.
You’re the sword-wielding slayer of the Medieval Age!You’re smart, sophisticated and loyal. You have a solid idea of morality and try your best to always do to the right thing. For this you have earned the respect of those around you. You’re very loyal and are willing to sacrifice yourself to help those you care for. You have a solid commitment to honor – never breaking a promise. When the going gets tough, you’re the one that your friends will call upon!!
If you weren’t your regular self, you would be a prince or a princess! In an alternate reality, you are destined for royalty. For all the good fortune you have had in your life, you would give back to the people with lots of charity and good deeds, and everyone would adore you.
Oh my goodness, today is the last weekend I have here.
The LAST WEEKEND. And if you think I’m sitting here, sipping my coffee in a hammock (which is harder than it sounds. #experience.) and enjoying myself, you are greatly mistaken.
No, I am sitting at my gutted desk, filleted and laid out to dry on empty shag carpets which have also been stripped of their plaskool bookshelves and rubbermaid drawers. The now moved drawers have been stuffed to the gills with patterns, glue guns, string, yarn, twine, bottle caps, stones, crosstitch projects and scissors. And fabric. And maybe a few other things. I may need bungee cords.
Last night I dreamt there was snow on the road where I was supposed to go…it was a weird dream of roads. I was running with some friends, and we were supposed to be on a new trail that looped around back to my house but I went down a more familiar trail and it took me to my office (apparently I was employed in my dream). And I was running in pointe shoes.
That’s just the kind of graceful gal I am (not).
But then I was trying to run through the city, and half of the city was covered in snow. The intersection and the overpass I needed to go over was covered in snow, so while I was waiting for the green light I started building a little snow castle with snow turrets. I spent a lot of time on the details building that castle…which clearly means:
“To dream that you are playing in the snow indicates that you need to set some time for fun and relaxation.”
Sister, you can say that again.
So, I was just thinking: there are a lot of great literary figures out there, and most of them have gone through a great move in order to build their story. Which literary figure moved the farthest?
I think it is actually Agent Peggy Carter, believe it or not.
“Carter joins the French Resistance as a teenager, and becomes a skilled gun user who serves on several operations alongside Captain America.[volume & issue needed] The two fall in love, but an exploding shell gives her amnesia, and she is sent to live with her parents in Virginia.[volume & issue needed] With Captain America thought dead, she lives a quiet life for many years.”
Carter moves from Virginia, to France, back to Virginia. That is quite some distance to travel, no joke! That’s at least 8,046 miles. …Or 12,948.8 kilometers, for those in France.
And…be straight with me people: I am feeling I could totally fill Agent Carter’s shoes. I just have this sneaky suspicion that wearing her uniform would look a little too right for me.
I may or may not be looking for it on Amazon after we move.
And after I lose these incredible 10 pounds I have acquired somewhere. (“yay, we’re moving! Let’s not watch what we eat!”)
Okay, so who else moved?
Jane Eyre: she moved from her parents’ house, very young, to her aunt’s house, to the boarding school, to Rochester’s house, back to the school, then got a boatload of money and then back to Rochester’s pad where she took over. Like a boss. (spoiler alerts)
Dorothy: From her farm, to a creepy old vagabond’s tent, to freaking OZ, back to her house. And all in heels, my friends. That’s a determined woman.
Elizabeth Darcy (nee`:Bennet): Although she didn’t exactly go anywhere in particular, other than to London for vacations…she did move in to Pemberley.
And I am pretty sure Pemberley is where my soul was born.
For the record, I didn’t rig the quiz. I am just more Elizabeth Bennet than anyone else on the face of the earth.
Heck, I even married my Mr. Darcy. BOOYA.
Which Female Literary Character Are You?
You got: Elizabeth Bennet
You are someone who is independent and likes to protect that at all costs. You are careful about who you trust and when you accept someone as a friend, you become very loyal and stand by their side no matter what. You are never afraid to express your opinions and speak your mind. You love to be around people who can handle your humour and wit.
Sometimes on a blog, you can get lost in your writing.
For the most part, the reader can get a good sense of who you are through your writing; yet, there are a lot of little things that make you up, on top of the big ones. Sure, we homeschool and have a bundle of kids…but we aren’t the only ones who homeschool with a bundle of kids. Are we doing Waldorf? Classical? Eclectic? Secular? Virtual? Charter? What do we do and why have we chosen our curriculums, exactly? I make all of our meals from scratch, but what does that mean in real life? Am I one of those neurotic women who obsess about food, and use buzzwords like kale, local or organic? Or is it just an interest? If I do make all our meals from scratch, and we homeschool, and we have a bundle of kids, why aren’t I writing more articles on organization or couponing? (this is not going to happen) I have been married for over 15 years, and together for over 20…why aren’t I writing about healthy relationships?
I like punk music, so why am I wearing mom jeans? (I’m not really wearing momjeans. I’m really wearing green plaid pajama pants.)
I drink endless cups of black coffee every day…how is this possible?
I like Science Fiction, and shun the Twilight series. Am I a snob? (yes)
I hate 99% of chick flicks, and I only watch a small handful of musicals. Am I simply opinionated, or am I a hater? (debatable)
There are so many things that make up a person,
In person, am I really an altogether groovy chick, or are you going to feel incredibly awkward when you meet me?
Who am I, really?
This question plagues me, and it is definitely the fuel that keeps this fire under me going. I have grown and changed so much in my adult life, that I wonder if I am even the same person I was. Yet, when I look back…I have kind of painfully been the same person this whole time. Some little things have changed, but the big ones haven’t.
I thought I’d break format a little today, and answer a few “Getting To Know You” questions from GoodReads.
3. What is your favorite subject in school?
English, obviously. I loved reading literature, analyzing the material and writing amazing essays in the end. It was like finishing a puzzle for me. Very satisfying to complete.
4. What is your favorite flavor of jelly beans?
I am very particular with jelly beans, actually. I like the bags of assorted jelly beans, but I eat them two at a time: coconut and lime, popcorn and cinnamon, apple and cherry. I love mixing the flavors, but it takes forever to eat a bag when you are just eating them two at a time.
5. Which flavor of ice-cream do you prefer?
I am not an exotic ice-cream aficionado, but I am particular about what I enjoy. The absolute best ice cream is Ben&Jerry’s Vanilla Caramel Fudge Swirl. It is the perfect balance of creamy vanilla, and the perfect caramel and fudge texture. This ice cream got me through quite a few pregnancies.
6. What do you think is your very best feature or characteristic?
I can adapt to just about anything. Long term is a little harder, but short term is no big deal. Snow? Water? Heat? No problem. Need and event organized? Got it. Need some ideas? I got your back. However, this makes “settling down” pretty tricky.
9. What do you usually do when you have leisure time on your hands?
I know this is going to sound crazy, but if I have free time I am either reading or writing.
14. What is your favorite home cooked meal?
Probably my rosemary and garlic roast lamb. It’s pretty phenomenal. Also my stroganoff. It’s kind of out of this world.
17. How many siblings do you have?
2, and I’m the oldest. I have “first child” syndrome in a big way. Something is happening? Here, let me take over. No, I got it…no, no, I got it give it to me, I got it. I’m learning how to back off. Sometimes.
22. What kind of vehicle do you usually ride in?
I refuse, with all of my being, to buy a minivan. I just can’t do it. It feels like giving up something…so we have a Crossover with 3 rows of bench seats, and we can fit everyone in our car. We just can’t fit anyone else in our car.
23. Do you have pets?
1 dog, 2 cats, 3 chickens.
24. When was the last time you visited a park and what did you do while there?
Last week I took the kids to the park because it was sunny, and I was talking to a grandma there about her little granddaughters, and then a mom of 2 under 2 who was losing her mind. She was just tired, and she’s going to be fine. Ah, all this experience with being tired.
27. What do you usually do when you meet someone for the first time?
I generally lead the conversation because I have found people will open up when the environment feels familiar, so I just treat people as old friends, and it is better for everyone. Which is a total INTJ response to conversations. But it works, and that is what I am going for.
30. Do you plan to go to college?
I went to college, and our kids are planning on going to college. Glenn has already told me that when he is in his office, I can call him at lunch, but not before. Because he is working. #melt
31. What job do you think you would most enjoy as an adult?
I would love to either be an editor, or go back to teaching in university…actually, I kind of like that idea better. I love the classroom. Give me a chalkboard and a projector, and I’m a happy camper.
33. What was the last item you cooked and ate?
Baked chicken with chickpeas and roasted tomatoes. It is the bomb for quick meals.
34. How many books did you read last year?
I….have no idea. But let me put it this way: I have packed my kitchen, and I have 3 boxes. I have packed all of our books, and we have over 10 boxes (I lost count). So, there ya go. Also: Kindle.
40. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own?
Maybe 5. Or 7. (counts on fingers) 2 tennis shoes, a couple heels and jellies. 41. Which one fashion accessory do you like better than others?
Earrings. Hands down.
52. Have you ever been horseback riding?
Yep. I love horseback riding.
53. Have you ever been water skiing?
Yes. I freaking hate water skiing.
54. What do you most like to do in the snow?
To stay in the car.
55. What is your favorite all-time movie?
The Philadelphia Story, with Kate Hepburn
56. Can you change a tire?
Yes. But make sure your jack can actually lift the car off the ground. Otherwise it WON’T WORK. #experience
57. Is your room more clean or more messy?
The house is okay. My room is a disaster. I feel bad about it.
58. Do you prefer a bath or a shower?
Shower. You can’t wash this hair in a bath.
81. Do you like drinking from the cup or a straw?
I kind of prefer a straw, because I have less of a chance of spilling anything on myself if I use a straw. I am a little very clumsy.
91. Have you ever won anything? If so, what did you win?
I notoriously win the body lotions at bridal showers or baby showers…and I can’t stand body lotions. I don’t really like rubbing stuff all over my skin, it just feels gross. I also have trouble smelling, so they just don’t do much for me. However, I will win them most of the time. And give them to someone who really likes them.
97. Have you ever been in a musical drama or play? If so, what was it?
Baby, I write the plays.
107. Do you know how to iron your clothes?
108. Can you sew a button on your clothing?
Buttons are easy.
109. Have you ever cut your own hair?
I have been not cutting my own hair successfully for the past million years (as in, I just don’t get it cut. Just let it grow forever. It’s getting pretty long at this point). I do trim my bangs by myself, against all good advice from serious hairstylists.
Sometimes in life, times can be hard. We all go through these times, and it is through these times when we discover who we really are and what we are really made of.
I have found, during this past week of packing, that I am more willing to pack an entire house than I am to fold one load of laundry.
Case in point: 80% of the house is packed. The laundry is still sitting next to my bed.
There is a definite comedic aspect to packing.
“Why on earth do we still have this…???” “Why would I keep this…??” “I don’t even know where we got this…” “Don’t give that to us…I’m not packing it.”
As we speak, I am packing my desk. It…has been a while since I have brought a trash bag over here, it seems. It isn’t until it is beyond the pale that you realize things have gone too far. The craft projects I have piled and stashed around my desk is much too far. I had to upgrade my grocery bag to a full on, ninja black hefty trash bag to take care of this defiled desk.
So, to lighten the mood, and so I don’t fall into the pit of despair having to fully grasp how much I have ignored my desk and the ridiculous amount of fabric, glue guns, ribbons, spools of thread, paper clips, push pins, charger cables, baskets, paintbrush containers, and who knows what else I’m going to find…I looked for compatriots with whom I could commiserate. I thought there would be more comedy sketches about packing, but I’m not really finding much out there. However, I did find one!
I completely lost it at “girth units.”
“They’re boxes! And they’re brown! And they have tape on them! Pick them up!”
And this was the place in which the busted piano had sat for the past 7 years.
I am sitting at my desk right now, and I have watched a few women taking their morning walks…and play the piano a little as they pass by. All the kids had to play a few keys when they discovered it was outside, almost as if to poke it to see if it was actually dead.
To say we have all loved this piano is true.
I grew up playing imaginary songs on this piano, and my kids have done the same. We have done a few lessons on it, but it was so out of tune, the songs don’t sound right at all.
There is something magical about a piano. Even if it is busted.
Unfortunately, we were unable to rehome this piano.
I have spent 4 months calling music stores, putting it on Craigslist, posting ads in the classifieds in our local newspaper, offering it on Facebook and to homeschooling groups. A few families have come over to look at it, but there are some sticky keys and the pedals don’t work. My last effort was to contact the local music store and see what advice they had for me.
They said it was just a dead piano, and it was time to put it out to pasture.
It was a normal thing, and there was nothing we could do to save it. Dead pianos get thrown away all the time, and it was okay to let it go. We loved it for as long as we had it, and it lived a good long life.
It was my grandmother’s piano, and it lived in my grandparent’s house. As far as I understand, it came down from Saskatchuan, Canada with them when they immigrated to LosAngeles. There it sat, and I believe my grandmother played hymns on it when she was a Sunday School teacher at her Presbyterian church. I, however, have never seen anyone actually play songs on it.
After my grandparents died, I was already living on my own, and I took the family piano.
Since then, it has gone everywhere I have gone.
But now that we are moving out of state, it is time to let my good friend go.
We have had good times together, and she has held books, picture frames and toys valiantly during her time with us.
So, with the fondest of memories, we set her out this morning to her resting place, graced with the angelic gift of silence.
And I can speak of this with lucid emotion…until this happened.
And then I completely lost it and started bawling on my front porch.
Even when you have tried every avenue possible, and have tried to resurrect its life … watching a good friend go is still a heart wrenching thing to witness.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
I revel in the simplicity of this statement.
We are, indeed, moving forward together…and thus, our success is taking care of itself.
There is an unearthly calm over me these days, which doesn’t make any sense. We have already scheduled when we are loading a truck, and what day we are driving out of state to our new home; and those days are creeping closer and closer, which is a perfect time for panic to start setting in.
I’ll be honest: the panic just isn’t showing up. I just want to get to our new home. I have grapes to plant, and astronomical groups to visit, and fishing holes to tour, and forests to explore. And the date when I can do these things is just within reach…
The funny thing is, life hasn’t stopped moving.
It is funny how life continues on, as if nothing is different or changing. The chickens got through their winter molt, and are in full force with egg laying. This makes me happy. I have let them have full range of the yard, and the three of them are finding every errant bug in the gardens.
The daffodils have begun to bloom, which I love completely. They have such a bold presence in the garden, and it is actually difficult to take a clear picture of the flower because the yellows are so crazy bright, the camera can’t capture the shadows inside the bell. Daffodils are certainly a friendly companion with whom to finish winter.
I am ditching quite a few large pieces of furniture before we go, which is going to make moving significantly easier. Both the kids’ dressers, the crib and this old blue IKEA chair are going to another family who conveniently needed some hand-me-down furniture. It has been time to upgrade some things in the kids’ rooms for quite a while already, and this will be the perfect opportunity to get bigger dressers…and the boys will get bunk beds. The boys are rejoicing, as we speak.
I have also begun the unearthly task of clearing out my desk. To say that it has been “too long” does not do justice to the insanity I am discovering. Fabric, old clothes, rogue paintbrushes, old school projects, and an endless array of books…and I am not taking anything that cannot stand on its own. The amount of books I have hidden behind my chair is ghastly, and I am curious to find out how much worth they will have once I hover them over the box…
Which brings us to the Library.
It is surprising to find out, now that I have begun an earnest packing of our home, how much we actually don’t have. Without going through anything, we thought we had “a ton of stuff.” It turns out we have “a ton of books,” and furniture on which to sit whilst reading the books, and shelves onto which the books wait to be found. I am trying to get rid of as many books as I can, since we have simply outgrown them. Baby books, early mothering books, infant nutrition books, (useless) books on discipline and sundry books we don’t need anymore. My Free Little Library floweth over, at this point.
Which leads us to the bookshelves, which are mere skeletons after I have stripped them of all their meat. Lo, the great Library of Rockwood has been sorted, dusted and packed into little boxes, and set aside. What we have left on these mighty shelves are church bulletins, W.I.R.E.D. magazines, Sun Microsystem binders and books I need to actually return to friends.
The Box of boxes stands as Ozymandius, looming over his kingdom of taped and labeled boxes:
“And on the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Goodbye, Ozymandius. Our journey is to kingdoms that can only be found at the end of roads that stretch far away.
I actually ask myself that frequently. A Pastor told me this once, and it is something that has stuck with me for the long haul. Back in the day when I was younger, I tried to fight every fight. I had this silly idea for years, and I had the passion and energy to do it. I thought I could make a difference by upholding the honor of the fight. Fighting for the little people, fighting for myself, fighting for the principle of something…it was worth it for the greater good, was it not?
It really wasn’t. And I think the only change that I really made was in myself.
The Pastor told me that my passion was good…but I “can’t die on every hill.”
And that is enormously true.
In life, there is an endless volley of trials. Although some days the Nerf-trials are easy to deflect, and they just bounce right off and you walk away unharmed, some days seem to have more spiky trials thrown at us than others; and they stick to you. If not stick in you. Those trials you can’t walk away from easily.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. “Dalai Lama
The best solution to outrage is fighting it with compassion.
I have never seen one hill that could not be conquered with anything other than compassion.
Further, compassion is certainly not something you can understand by reading a pamphlet or a tract. It is something you learn how to do over time, through both observations and experiences.
Practicing compassion is certainly something everyone should hear about at least once, just to get the ball rolling.