Friday, July 29, 2011

The August Break

Oh, I am so glad you want to take part in the August Break here. It will encourage me to take more photographs, for a start, and maybe to start learning more about my little point and shoot camera. I am not going to buy a DSLR until I have learned more using just my little basic camera. It's a battle for me really, I love taking photographs but I hate learning how to use gadgets. Maybe I will find the time to look a few things up this month and try them. I think I have the camera manual on the laptop somewhere. I am looking forward both to taking more photos during August and also to not necessarily having to write anything, though there may be a few sentences here and there. 

It must have been so upsetting for you to lose your binders after all that work and time invested in them, that is so sad, and your Harry Potter books too. I know how much you love those stories.  I read them all except the last one (which wasn't out at the time) a few summers ago, I really enjoyed them but have to admit I don't remember much now. I have only seen the first film and the one last year, though we plan to see the current one soon. I haven't forgiven her for Dobby last year, though. Tragic. 

Saving magazines for the pictures is the kind of thing I plan, then get completely overwhelmed by the size of the task and throw them all out. In fact I did just that a few months ago, I had been saving them to make a treasure map, which I wanted to do ever since reading the article several years ago.  Maybe I will still do it, one day. Although now I suppose I could just do one on Pinterest. Hmm....

It will be so nice to have the Prof back tomorrow. During all my single years, I used to wonder how I would ever share my life and home with someone, being very used to doing things my own way. I quite like my own company so maybe it would be uncomfortable to have someone in my space all the time. Then we met and right from the start there has been an ease in each others' company that neither of us have ever had before. We both have our little foibles and habits, but happily neither of us find them intolerable. That's the trick I think - we all have our faults, we just have to find someone whose faults we can tolerate. Along the same sort of lines is this quote by Dr Seuss, which we used on our wedding programme: 

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." 

I will look forward to seeing the first of your August Break photographs on Monday. Have a lovely weekend! 

(oh, by the way - was that a live plant in the house of the Black Thumb lady? I'm impressed)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

pictures tell a story

My photo from yesterday is from an ongoing project.  Well, two really.  One is to declutter my house.  Something that is slow moving but getting there.  The second is based on the fact I am a magazine lover and have a gigantic stack of them in my closet.  I've been working hard at going through them pulling out the articles/photos I find useful or pretty, ripping them out and putting them in binders to keep.  Less space.  I've been doing this for years.  Since before my first was born.  I had about six or seven big binders full of home, cooking, holidays, decorating and gift ideas.  When I got divorced my husband took them all along with my beloved Harry Potter (British and US) collections and I never saw them again.  I don't know if he destroyed them or if they went to auction with his stuff, or what.  It broke my heart.

So I started again.  I ordered back issues of my favorite ones on Ebay (about three years worth) and have been working slowly through them.  Three years later I have about half of them bound and another half sitting here on my bedroom floor waiting to be added to the collection.  That photo from yesterday was from the last three magazines I went through.  Now not to get too excited I still have a stack of more recent magazines still in the closet here to go through and there are my magazines I refuse to take the scissors to (British Country Living, Yoga Journal and Bon Appetit) the last two because they were collections handed down to me by my mother, the first because there is just way too much goodness there to even begin to pick out, the whole magazine is delightful.

So now you know my secret obsession.  

So you can imagine how over the moon I was when I found Pinterest online.  It's the exact same thing but kept online and no scissors or binders.  It's fantastic!!  I've had a couple people look at me funny when I've told them about it, but as lovers of photos and inspiration it's a great place to be.

And it says a lot about us doesn't it?  When my husband stole all those binders I had worked so diligently on, placing those little bits I kept as inspiration or that connected with me, I felt like I had lost a little bit of myself. When I page through them now, I see things that inspire and move me.  So when you look at someone's Pinterest boards, it's almost like getting a glimpse of who they are.  I keep adding boards at a steady pace now for food and even a random board for all the stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else.

I think that if I really wanted someone to know me, perhaps all they needed to do was peruse my Pinterest photos?  Funny.  They are here.

I know you've mentioned doing photo posts for August.  I think that's a great idea; perhaps we could learn just as much about each other through photos.

On a side note.....

I'll be happy for you when you get your other half back.  In fact it makes me insanely happy that you are so happy and have that dusty professor to fill your days and nights with.  As I write this you have only one night left! I haven't completely lost my faith in love, it may be tarnished around the edges but underneath it's still there.  That's another day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Want to Ride my Bicycle

bike.jpg (JPEG Image, 463x700 pixels)
image from here

Strange that you should dream of me riding a bicycle in a race. How funny that you thought I was going to make you take part in a race, when I keep telling you to STOP doing stuff!! Isn't the subconscious mind a funny thing? Have you been looking at my Pinterest boards?  I have pinned the above picture and also a picture relating to the Race for Life, a walking/running charity event. Maybe you subliminally absorbed the information and combined it?

Ahh, bicycles. I have a dream of a owning a bicycle, like the one above, with a basket on the front and running errands riding it. Never mind that some days just walking up the stairs exhausts me, and that the traffic where we live is so manic that driving a car is like taking your life in your hands, let alone a bicycle. Never mind all that. I want a bike. Owning one and being able to ride it, and taking part in that Race for Life are both on my wish list, and something I am working toward. 

I had a strange weekend. The Prof is away and I miss him. The house seems really empty, I am not sleeping very well. We have lived together for two years, before that I lived with just the Young Philosopher for many years, so it's not as if I am not used to being on my own, but I just don't like it. Weekdays aren't so bad, as he would be at work anyway, but the weekend and the evenings are odd. Oh well, he will be home on Friday, and I have a few plans to keep me going until then.

I am glad you seem a bit more content, though you were still busy at the weekend.  Maybe it's the mental overload that gets to you, more than physical work. I could go crazy sometimes for the noise in my head, I know we we have talked about that before, and you have that experience too.

Off now to look at more pictures of bicycles.

Monday, July 25, 2011

concluding the weekend with peace.

I like your slogan.  All shall be well, may perhaps become my new mantra.  When I am at work lost in the chaos, when I am at home overwhelmed by household responsibilities, when I'm about to lose my cool with those daughters of mine, when I sit down in the quiet to bring calm to myself.

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Something to hold onto there, that one, isn't it?

I tried to do as you said.  I kept off the Internet, minus some random Facebook posts and a little time playing around on Pinterest tonight.  I love that place, don't you?  I didn't take any photos, I didn't edit any photos, the one above is one I did last week.  I didn't browse blogs, or websites, or write.  I just decided to bring myself back into real life a little bit.

But did I slow down.  No.

I did six loads of laundry, cleaned three bathrooms, brushed all the downy hair out of the dog, sorted the rest of the stuff out of my bedroom, cleaned out my cubby of papers out of the kitchen, scrubbed down my counters and cleaned out my refrigerator.  But with rests in between. Still somehow I find myself here tonight wiped out and achy, knowing sadly that tomorrow is Monday again, the girls will be home all day with my father and when I get home my nice clean house will be again in chaos.

It's 10:39 p.m. now.  The house is quiet.  Girls are asleep.  Insects are singing.  Air conditioning is humming.  I'm swaddled in clean sheets and have a cup of tea at my side.  I'm listening to the new Harry Potter soundtrack having been to the movies today to see it.  I could write a post in itself about that.

It's a good night.  It's a good time, this moment.  I'm guessing you have to grab these moments.  These little bits of time when all is calm, when all is quiet, and when I believe all shall be well.  

So how about you, is all well?  I hope so.

P.S.  I forgot to tell you, I had a dream Friday night that I was supposed to be meeting up with you in the afternoon and I arrived and asked someone where you were and they said, "Oh, she's over there right now" and I looked over and you were riding a bicycle down a steep, steep hill in a race with about fifty other people and I thought, oh no, I hope she doesn't expect me to do that too?


Friday, July 22, 2011

all shall be well....

Image from

While I was thinking about what to write here today, these favourite words of mine from Julian of Norwich came into my mind. A couple of hours later, looking at something completely unrelated on the internet, I came across that quote again. I am a great believer that if you pay attention, sometimes the answers are right there, or if not the answers, then messages, words of comfort.

I am so sorry you are so exhausted, I know how horrible and draining it is. I know myself that the more I have to do, the more stress I am under,  the more exhausted I feel and the less I am able to do. I am exhausted again today, having overdone things a bit this week. I don't have any answers really, except keep on keeping on, and hopefully 'this too shall pass'. I seem to be full of quotes today.  

Yes, the Prof is off for a week soon to summer school. I am planning to read, write, take photographs, maybe draw a little. I have new DVDs to watch, new books (and going to the library tonight for more). I am also hoping to sort out some of old my pre-digital photographs. I have a lunch/museum date with my Mum, a lunch/possibly little bit of shopping date with Julie, and a curry night at the pub date with Lisa. I hope I am well enough to do all those things, but if not, just some of them would be good.

Day by day is how you will make it, how we will both make it. The same way I brought up my son, you will bring up your two beautiful girls. There will be good days (or weeks!) and bad ones. Whining and complaining some days, smiling and looking on the bright side on others. You have come through so much to get where you are today,  I admire what a strong and loving mother you are, and how focused you always seem to be on eating well, exercising, getting out into nature.  Often I go around with my mind in a different place to the rest of me, and I miss what’s happening right now.  You inspire me to be more mindful and to try to be present.

Leave the housework this weekend. As I have said before, ten layers of dust look the same as one. Put a CD story on for the girls instead of reading, it won't hurt. Let them run their own baths. Lie on the sofa.

Relax. Look after yourself. Be well. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Letting Go.

I mentioned on my blog that I was taking a vacation from blogging.  In fact I am going to take a break from most of the online world altogether.  But somehow I don't want to take a break from this space.  I actually look forward to seeing what you send out to me each week.  Your presence here makes me feel better.  I loved reading your post about your son's birthday.  Right now I don't know how I'm going to make it into next week, let alone make it through all these days and situations between here and when my girls make twenty.  Seeing that you have done this ahead of me makes me feel that much better.

Not to mention your buddha.  I loved and needed your buddha post.  I'm glad you posted the words that went with it.  It's been stressful here and I needed to know that buddha says it's okay.

I went to the doctor today.  She laughed at me.  I sat on the crinkly paper on the table and she walked in and asked what was going on. 

And suddenly it all seemed ridiculous because all I had was "I'm super tired and my arms keep feeling like their falling asleep".   Doesn't that sound ridiculous?

She's loaded me up with tests.  I groaned.  Made a face.  She laughed she knows me well. Bloodwork,  thyroid test, EMG's, X-Rays, Sleep test.  I wanted to just run out of the office and say it's okay, never mind, silly me, I just have a stressful life and maybe if I go home and sleep 17 hours I might feel better.
She knew because she said, "we'll just take it one step at a time".

This is what I love about my doctor.  I first went to see her when my life was falling apart.  I think it might have been my second ever visit that I fell to pieces in her office, disgusting sobbing, forlorn crying.   It was when all the lies and deceit and chaos were coming out about my ex-husband's addiction; it was when I was in the deep dark void of depression and anxiety.  I basically said to her if I don't get help it's going to be the end of me.  It felt so good to finally let that go and say that to someone, to admit I needed help.

I think though more than any test can tell (besides the arm, I think that might be a nerve issue) my fatigue is coming from being overwhelmed.  Too much noise, too much static, too much stress.  There are certain things I cannot take away.  I still have to raise two children.  I still have to work, children require income to bring up.  I still have to provide food, and baths, a meal and a bedtime story.

So something has to give and for right now it's all that extraneous stuff.  Other people's stuff.  I have enough of my own stuff to deal with right now, thank you very much.  I don't need others.  My best of friends I've made here in the online world, the ones I've connected the closest with,  the ones who pick me up when I need it or tell me, hey you're doing a great job; I've got other connetions with them.  Most of them are Facebook friends, or at least we have email.  Everyone else must go, at least for now until I'm feeling better or at least a bit more in control.  I know it sound harsh, but it's true.  Along with the newspaper, the financial meltdown of our nation and all the injustice in the world.  It will probably all still be there when I get back.

I think it's funny and I've said this before.   I think perhaps you were sent to me to remind me to take it slow, one day at a time and all.  Let the dust lie, go read a book.  Take care of yourself.

With every ounce that I have, I wish that you did not have to deal with your CFS.  When I am lying here wiped out, I think about you and what you must go through.  It's a lesson for me though.  Don't take your health for granted.   When you need to take care of yourself, take care of yourself. 

So on that note, I'm thinking that the Dusty Professor, that new husband of yours, might be ditching you soon for a week or so.  So what is one newly married woman going to do with that time alone?  Or kind of alone?  You know.  What good books are you going to read?  What goodies are coming from the bakery?  I had a week alone with no girls and I pretty much read books and watched movies and ate pasta.

But you know what I'm learning that's okay too.

P.S.  I didn't post a photo today either.  I really didn't have one and I figured that could be just one more thing I let go.  If I have one I'll post it, if not, no stress!!  Otherwise there's always Wednesday right?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

a moment this week: Buddha says it's ok

Debbie: this is the Buddha who sits on my fireplace. When I was taking this photograph of him, it occurred to me that not only is he making the British Sign Language sign for 'peace', it looks pretty much like the universal sign for 'ok' too. 
When the Buddha says everything is ok, who am I to argue?

Right Now: 7.20.11

Jennifer:  Feeling Black and White

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Momentous day

I am writing this on Monday, 18th July: today is the Young Philosopher's twentieth birthday. I am the mother of an adult! Twenty has always seemed to me far more momentous than either eighteen or twenty-one. The end of the teenage years! In honour of the occasion, here's a photograph from the archives: me looking old fashioned and twee in a very matronly dress, him looking his gorgeous one-year-old self.

He is heading off to Camden with his girlfriend today for shopping and food, and we will have a little family get together with his grandparents and uncle this evening.

I am feeling better the last couple of days and had a great weekend. Highlights:

Two long lie ins 
Coffee in bed and bacon sandwiches for breakfast, made by the Prof
Doing the The Telegraph General Knowledge crossword together
Two shopping trips - clothes for the Prof, birthday presents and clothes for the Young Philosopher, new bag, purse and notebook for me 
Saturday night dinner at my favourite Indian restaurant 
Sunday night pub meal with the Prof, the Young Philosopher and his girlfriend 
Getting ready for bed early last night to read/doze for a couple of hours on the sofa

Thank you so much for the link to the video of  a cicada. I had never seen or heard one until just now (I  may have changed my mind about coming out there to sit on your porch). We don't have cicadas here. We have crickets, but where I live is too urban for them really.  No whippoorwhils here either. I can see how they got their name! We have a lot of wood pigeons here, a friend of mine used to say their call sounds like 'how awful, oh, how awful'.

That breakfast looks amazing. Is that maple syrup on there? Yum. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

the tastes and sounds of summer.

I have just officially posted the same photo on two blogs.  Oh well, it's not that I don't have other photos it's just that I like this one very much.  This morning's breakfast, that's banana there in the middle and fresh blueberries, all the farms are touting their blueberries right now.  Strawberries are gone until next year (boohoo) and blackberries are just coming on, we had some of those also, not shown.  This is the time of year that I am happy to live in the country.  Not so much in the winter when I'm sliding and weaving my way down the  back roads, white knuckled in the snow and ice home from work, but this time of year is lovely.  The crickets and the cicadas are kicking up some beautiful music at night.  I know you detest flying bugs so I'm guessing jumping crickets and giant cicada's aren't high on your list either?

But I love them.  My ex-husband hated crickets.  He grew up in the outskirts of the city.  If we got one in the house the sound made him crazy, not me.  I grew up surrounded by ten acres of woods so that is summer song to me.  We had no air conditioning and the upstairs was always sweltering and we always had the windows wide open to get any sort of breeze you could in.  Hearing those babies is like being home to me.  Add the call of a whippoorwill and I'm twelve years old again.

Last night I stood in the window about midnight, getting ready for bed and just listened and listened.  Time is going by so fast.  One season seems to roll right in to the next and then all this will be gone.  Soon though we get fall, perhaps my favorite season.  Crisp air, falling acorns, the smell of woodsmoke again, apples and pumpkins, colored leaves.

Aah, I'm in a good place this weekend, a complete opposite to earlier in the week.  Another reminder that letting go is the best medicine.  And those twelve thousand things that were waiting to be done here this weekend; they are still waiting.  I know you know how that goes.  Life is too important to let the petty stuff get in the way.  The layers of dust on my surfaces will still be here this fall and winter but a moment standing in the peace of a summer evening, that goes all too quickly.

Friday, July 15, 2011

To Be Read

Hi there. I am sorry you had such a rotten day. I just read your blog and I just love 'I know it could be worse but I don't have to like it'. I certainly know that feeling.

It would be nice wouldn't it, to move somewhere away from all the cares and troubles? When the Prof and I first got together we spent a lot of weekends at his house in Kent. I always felt really carefree and relaxed when we were there. These days I regularly run away, I guess that's what the country drives are all about.

Mrs Biddlebox sounds funny, though I am not sure my cake baking skills are up to the task. I last baked a cake in 1994!  Mopping skills not that great either, sadly...

I have just finished Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger, who also wrote the Time Traveller's Wife. I found it interesting, moving, unbelievable and predictable by turns, but I enjoyed it. Next on my pile from the library is Glasshopper, but I feel like rereading One Day so I might start that this evening as the film goes on release soon and I'd like to read it again first.  A trip to the library is in order soon, I think, maybe this weekend. I am reading so fast lately, often a book every couple of days, so I like to keep myself stocked up.

Truth be told I have books on my bookcase I have had for a long time that I have still to read - I think we talked before about how one has to be in the right frame of mind for a particular book. I will get to them all eventually! I put the book you picked up at the library on my list, it sounds interesting. I loved the Secret Garden when I was young, too. Do young people still read those old books? I know I could never interest the Young Philosopher in anything he called 'old fashioned', although he loves books.

I think I am coming out of the relapse I seem to have had, fingers crossed, I am feeling a little better today. I have decided against the few days away I was thinking about, I couldn't really find anywhere suitable to stay without a car. I think instead I will plan a few treats for that week as the Prof will be away. Seems like a good idea to me.

I hope you are having a good day today. Almost the weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm so sorry you are having a rough spell.  There is a book both I and my girls read called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; he resolves to move to Australia.  After my terrible, horrible, no good very bad day yesterday I resolved to move to an island off the coast of Maine or Florida.  Anywhere far from everyday life.

Everyday life can get you down sometimes can't it.  Last night I just couldn't take the responsibilities of work and having a home and family anymore.  It sounds childish and selfish, but I just wanted to be a child again.  Or in the case of another favorite children's book of mine, Mrs. Biddlebox, (you would like her) she takes her bad day and mops it up and bakes it into a cake.

If only we could do such things, what say you?

I didn't write this last night, like I usually do.   I was spent.  So I am writing this morning before I go to work today (please let it be better, or as my co-workers might say, please let her be better).  I'm sitting here early with a bowl of oatmeal and fresh blueberries and a warm cup of tea.  I'm hoping to have a better day today, mind shift please. 

I hope you will upswing soon.

I took my very bad mood to the library last night.  Moved up and down the stacks with no book in mind, just seeing a title or a photo and pulled it down off the shelf to peruse.  I spent about an hour there, winding back and forth.  There was an odd woman in the next aisle talking and laughing to herself which made me feel a little better about myself as cranky as I was. The library and all those books made me start to feel better and so I picked and took home this one, about an American woman who goes to care for her 8-year old Goddaughter after her best friend dies in  London.  I'm about forty pages in and really liking it.  It's a lighter style of writing given the situation compared to the book I just read and it references another book I loved growing up The Secret Garden. 

I promised to put a book page here, I will no doubt eventually get to it.

So what are you reading?

Be well, my friend.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It was a very quiet weekend. Despite a to do list as long as my arm, this weekend I have mostly been sleeping and I am still extremely tired.  After the outing with Gail on Tuesday that I wrote about, we had our regular fortnightly pub meeting with friends in the evening,  my parents came over for a couple of hours Wednesday afternoon and in the evening I had my T’ai Chi class. I visited  Gail with my other friend Lisa for couple of hours on Thursday night. Those things together were enough to wipe me out for the whole weekend. I spent most of it asleep. Recently I had been feeling better than I have for two months and I really don't want this recent exhaustion to be the start of a major setback, so I am just listening to my body and if it wants me to rest and sleep that's what I am doing. 

I know what you mean about literary criticism. I finished my rereading of the Time Traveller’s Wife a couple of weeks ago  and have been reading all the posts on the Summer Readalong with interest, but haven’t posted any thoughts on the book myself. I enjoy reading along with everyone’s reflections, but then feel I don’t have anything else to add. Sometimes it is hard to get my thoughts and feelings about a story to coalesce.  It’s easy to read someone else’s writing and think Yes! That! but less easy to formulate my own response. I do feel though, that it helps to work out what I like or don’t like about a book, so I try at least to reflect on other people's responses, even if I haven't got much to add.

I love the piece you wrote on your blog, you have a real gift for writing straight from your heart. That's not something I always find very easy. Until the last few months I hadn't written for years, so I am still finding out what I like to write, enjoying the process and seeing where it takes me. I agree that other peoples' writing, both in books and online, whilst being very inspirational to read, can just serve to make me feel worse about my own by comparison! You're right, we all need to write with our own voices and from our own experience.  I think it is often that voice of authenticity that comes across and makes a piece of writing resonate with me. 

As for the internet....yes, I have been avoiding it. I love the internet, the people I have met there, the ideas and inspiration...but sometimes it feels, as someone else said to me once, like everyone is shouting for my attention at once. Steering clear of the internet helps quieten my mind. Sometimes I get very tempted to unplug for a week or more, don't you? We had no internet on honeymoon and I really enjoyed the peace.  I hope to do more reading, more writing and to have some quieter head-space this week. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reading and Writing

Happy Monday!  It started off to be a busy weekend here.  The girls went to a ballgame and I went out to dinner with a friend from work Friday night (two nights out in one week, hey).  No great photos like you had it was dark and noisy and my friend is very camera shy.  Saturday we hauled around town, farmstand, grocery, shopping etc.

Today, Sunday, I have found myself attached to the couch.  A pillow, a book and a blanket.  My cousins daughter is here visiting so the girls were mostly occupied with her today.

I almost finished The Time Traveler's Wife today.  I'm very glad you recommended it to me, it has been on my "to read" list but that is ten miles long so it may have taken me awhile to get there.  I think I am finding a special place in my heart for it.  So having a lazy day I am almost done.  It felt good to laze about. 

I have never made a comment though on the book discussion.  I read the book discussion notes in the back of the book today as well and thought: I wouldn't know what to say about the theme of death, I just really, really, like the story.  I felt this way when I was in school and I took a Literary Criticism class.  It was all about reading what people had written about books and discussing it and it was actually the only English class I took that I disliked.  I couldn't help but feel inferior when I didn't get all these great cosmic nuances of the stories.  And who is to say that I read the story incorrectly?  Isn't the best part of reading the fact that you get to personally take something from it?  And doesn't everyone get something individual to themselves out of the tale?

So I tend to shy away from book discussions.  What I can tell you though about this book (and so many others) is they sometimes make me feel inferior.  I love excellent writing but sometimes with my favorite authors and even some of my favorite friends, I think wow, what they have written is beatiful and so eloquent I could never even hope to throw my own writing out there.

Then I realize that the literary world would be quite a dull place if we all wrote with the same voice.  What I have to remember is the words that I string together, the stories I have to tell are that, they are mine and they must be told my way, to the best of my ability.

No one could write what I write so therefore I couldn't dream to write like Audrey Niffeneger, Alice Hoffman or even you or Sara.

I have come to realize that writing for me comes from what I know best and right now that thing is motherhood. I find that is where I find my best voice, where the words tend to flow easiest from the well.  In my heart I guess I know that I should start with motherhood, with daughters, with this experience I've been given and work from there.

Friday, I wrote this piece that I have posted on my blog today about a fight I had with Emily that morning.  I wrote it at lunchtime at work, because it was still on my mind.  I don't think I could write anything with such heart that I didn't have my heart invested in.

On another note, you've been quiet this weekend.  I hope you are well.  I hope perhaps you are taking that Internet break you've been threatening.  I know I could sometimes use it myself. I look forward though to see what's going on over there across the sea.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pizza, cake and drawing on the tablecloth

Gail moved to Lancashire, about five hours' drive from here, last August. We've seen each other three times since then, once being my wedding, but Tuesday was the first time we have been on our own for a few hours since she left. We drove out to Chipping Ongar, a lovely little village about half an hour away, where there is a pizza place that does a ladies' lunch - a glass of prosecco, olives, pizza and salad for £10 a person. Of course we had to follow that up with dessert (see yesterday's photo). 

Paper tablecloths and crayons - an excellent idea for keeping children - and my slightly tipsy friend - occupied.

We ate, drank, chatted and laughed our way through lunch, then went for a walk around the village.  

Happy Days.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Home Again

{every year, when they get back from their week away, i always have a card waiting on their bed for them}

It's quiet.  I expect that my girls could walk in the door anytime within the next half hour or so.  Right now the house is clean and still.  I know soon though there will be shoes, bags, dirty clothes, stuffed animals, new things to find homes for spread across the floor here downstairs.

I've enjoyed this time alone.  Nights with movies. Mornings with only myself to get ready. Eating whatever I want when I want.  It's been nice to slow down.  With no children there was not much by way of demands outside of getting up to go to work each day.

But I'll be glad to see them home where they should be.   It will be nice to know they are asleep across the hall.  It will be nice to feel my little one's arms wrapped back around me in a hug.

I am wondering how long it will be until I'm exasperated?  How long until I lose my temper?  Probably not as long as I would like.

I'm on my way to learning though.  What I thought I should learn which is take it slow.  Don't think too far ahead.  Enjoy the moment.  Accomplish one task at a time and then be happy you've done it.

And don't take things so seriously.

That's a tough one.

Hope you are having a good week.  The days are going by so fast.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Slow days

Happy fourth! I can't believe it’s July already. This year is running away from me. Maybe it's because of my wedding in April, but the months seem to have gone by in a blur. Years ago, my auntie told me that the older she got, the quicker the years went, and I am starting to realise the truth of that. The days, the weeks, the months all speed by.  I’m sure Christmas comes around three times a year these days. I would really like to slow time down a bit. 

Sounds like you had a very busy weekend. It must be lovely now, having your living room as you want it. It looks really cosy and calm. 

It’s been a sunny day here, warm but not too hot which is exactly how I like it.  I am a chilly mortal, so cold weather doesn’t suit me, but I wilt in the heat. Today has been lovely.  I had a lazy morning, as most of my mornings are, these days. I get up when I wake, today that was 9.30. I've been writing, drinking coffee and enjoying the quiet, at least until one of the neighbours put on the album he has been listening to every afternoon for the past week, but it wasn't too loud, and I like Black Sabbath. I've done some laundry, and it’s blowing in the breeze on the washing lines outside.  For lunch I had a bowl of couscous with some olives, for dinner this evening a baked potato with butter and cheese. Simple food.

We had a good weekend, we visited my auntie on Saturday and had strawberries and cream, very fitting on the weekend of the Wimbledon final.  I took some photographs in her garden, and sat on the steps of her patio, watching bees on the lavender. One got a bit annoyed when I got too close with my camera but I escaped unscathed! We did a little shopping on Sunday, I had gifts to buy for my brother's birthday next weekend and treated myself to Hugh Laurie’s album and the film Shutter Island, which we haven't seen.

In the evening we had dinner with friends, and then a very leisurely drive home through the Kent countryside again.  I love these slow days and I find lately I am finding it easier to just relax rather than stressing about what isn't getting done.  I am savouring the slower pace, and taking time to enjoy things instead of worrying.

I am trying to focus more on the here and now. Usually my head is full of noise, things to do,  too many tangled thoughts. With the help of my notebook and my little point and shoot camera, I am making the effort to notice things around me and to just be. I like it.  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth Of July and Furniture

Well, here I am on Monday, it's the 4th of July here which means Independence Day, or the day we declared our Independence from you Brits.  I guess I may be unpatriotic because my Grandfather asked this morning why I didn't have my flag out and I thought that the only flag I do have is a Canadian one the girls brought back from vacation last year.  So what of the 4th of July?  I am escaping the madness of heading to the beach or smooshing in for the fireworks and enjoying a bonus day.  I don't have to go to work and the children are still away at the ocean so for me it means I get to sit here in the back corner at the bakery and write this with a toasted bagel and a fresh orange juice.

You asked if I got my desk?  I did though it's not visible in this photo, it's actually behind me.  Nothing more than a table with a drawer really, but at least I am not crumpled up anymore at the computer on a stand with nowhere for my feet.   But you can see what else I did.  I hadn't expected to go furniture shopping and rearrange my living room this three day weekend, but I had a little bit of a windfall and decided it was about time I put together my living space and stop looking like I was living in a university dorm room. 

When I first moved into this house after my divorce I had the this and that's leftover from the marriage.  It looked fine and I've added and updated along the way.  In fact, perhaps the openness, the white and the sparse and the simple was what I needed at that time.  My old home, like the marriage was a mess.  The house was falling down (literally) around us.  I am lucky to have found this place to rest and be welcomed.

Like I said there was nothing wrong with the place before, but the mismatched dregs of furniture have been an annoyance to me.  So this weekend, I bought some actual matching furniture, mind you from the department store and we had to put it all together (my father and I), but it matches.  It brings a certain continuity and homeliness to this place.  I'm sure the neatness won't last much once the girls get home, but for now I will enjoy it.

So for the last two days it's been loading, unloading, assembling and taking out the old dilapidated bookshelf and piling books and toys and everything else up in the hallway.  Truly as of yesterday it looked as if a tornado had blown through and still this morning some of that remains.  Today after I leave here I will pop back to get a second bookcase to mirror the one you see here.

It's been a lot of work, and not much of anything else has happened, but it makes me happy.  It makes me contented and when I walk in I smile.  Saturday night I turned on that lamp and sat down with my book and a cup of tea and read by lamplight.  We only had the overhead before, no place for a lamp, so that in itself was a delight.

It hasn't been all work, I have taken your advice and read and I watched a movie every night this weekend before bed. And right now I am taking the time to write this from the bakery.

So I have been off the grid and I hope you haven't thought I have disappeared altogether.  It's almost 11:30 am here which means you are headed to evening before I even get this post up.  I panicked when I woke up and realized it was Monday and I hadn't written my post yet, but then I gave myself a thump on the head and realized it's your own blog, just take your time.  This is supposed to be the week to slow down and take things easy (HA!)  Perhaps I just don't know how to do that.

Look forward to hearing back from you.  Reading your posts is the first thing I do in the morning before I even get out of bed and start the chaos of the day.

And in the spirit of indulgence, I have gone back for a pumpkin muffin and a cafe mocha before I head out.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The World Tour List

I will travel Ireland in  a  horse drawn caravan, drinking  Guinness in roadside pubs. I will spend a few days in a yurt,  glamping. I will take photographs in Marrakesh,  visit the ruins at Pompei and Herculaneum, and go on a boat trip on Lake Garda. I will revisit my beloved Isle of Wight, where I have been many, many times before. I will see the hot springs of Iceland and the Northern Lights. I will visit my friend who moved to Lancashire. Once again I will walk beside streams on the North Yorkshire Moors, where I walked for hours and hardly saw another soul. I'll see the Rockies, and the Blue Ridge Mountains,  and have a long weekend in New York where I will ride in a horse drawn carriage through Central Park. I will stay in gîtes and visit the medieval villages of France. I will visit Greece again and drink a glass of wine looking out to sea, à la Shirley Valentine. I will sit with you on your porch.

All of these, and more, are on my World Tour List, a list of places I want to visit which currently resides inside my head until I get around to writing it down. Some are more achievable right now, others will be possible one day, I hope, as I hope yours will be too. 

I hope you enjoy your quiet week alone. I hope you can use the time to restore and rejuvenate yourself . Read, eat good food, and treat yourself to your favourite things. Try not to worry about your girls, though of course you will miss them. The Young Philosopher went on holiday with my parents for a week when he was seven. I kept his bedroom door shut the whole time he was gone, so that in the evenings it was as if he was sleeping there in bed, which made me sleep easier. 

As I have been writing this an idea has taken shape. I have a week alone coming up soon, as.the Prof is away at summer school, so it will be just me and the Young Philosopher. He is mostly either in his bedroom or out, which is how it is when they are nearly 20. I have a mad idea to go off on my own for a few days. It is just a glimmer of an idea at the moment, but it would be wonderful if I could. I am thinking of a little bed and breakfast place in the countryside, quite near to my friend in Lancashire. I could spend time with her when she isn't at work, and the rest of the time go for walks, read, write. Treat myself to some nice meals and just be alone with myself. I wonder if I could.