This little flamingo wind-up toy is just one of many 'toys' you might notice if you prowled around our house for a bit. The toys aren't overt. It isn't as if there was a giant toy box in the middle of the living room. But they are tucked in here and there all over the place. And furthermore, I am absolutely unapologetic about them.
I have been accused many times of being childish and they always say it as if it was a bad thing. For example, I have been straight up accused of having the palate of a child - which is sort of true. I'm not very adventurous about food and I am resistant to the concept of eating healthy food simply because it is healthy. If I'm eating something, it's because I like it and it tastes good. If it also happens to be healthy, all the better. But no way am I eating yucky food simply based on it's determined health status. Nope.
Additionally, I cannot begin to enumerate the number of times I was told that I wasn't dressing my age or acting my age. My response was, and still is, "since this is the way I am acting (or dressing) and this is the age that I am, obviously I am acting (or dressing) my age". I guess this idiosyncratic behaviour has carried over to the way we have chosen to decorate our house.
I did not wake up one day and decide to eat a certain way or dress or act or think as certain way because someone has decided that it is a childish way to be. It's not rebellion. Not at all. I am just being true to myself. And the older I get, the determined I am to be who I am. Which is funny because I told my own children their entire lives to "be who you are" and "don't let anyone else decide who you are". And yet, it's taken me a very long time to do that for myself. To be comfortable just being who I am, making no excuses and no apologies.
Personally I prefer to think of myself as being quirky or perhaps a little whimsical. Other folks have called it weird. And my feeling about that is, "Luckily for me, you have no vote in my personal choices".
I have no idea why these silly little things appeal to me, but they delight me beyond measure. All of them were gifts and I treasure them. In fact, because they were given to me, sometimes even were made for Tim or me, they mean even more.
Like I said before, these things aren't heaped in a pile somewhere, they are randomly placed here, there and everywhere. Most of them are fairly subtle and you might not notice at first. Here are a few of the things you might spy:
There is a toy cat's paw by the landline in the living room. If you pull the trigger you get either a purring sound or a kitty growl.
There are a few stuffed bears around. One of them, the original "little bear" of the Little Bear children's book series, sits guard on the book shelf dedicated to children's books. Which makes sense to me. Two other bears are hanging around on the self with the photo albums. Who knows what sort of mischief they get into when we aren't looking?
There is a tiny ceramic fish in the guest bathroom instead of a bar of soap because, well, why not?
I seem to have a number of things that spin. Not sure why that is so, but it is. They seem to live in unusual spots:
There is a kaleidoscope in the cookbook section of the bookshelf. Why? I don't know, for inspiration purposes? So I can take a moment to see things differently? I t's just where a kaleidoscope seemed to belong.
And there is a sailboat on the table beneath the mirror in the entry
Not all of the whimsy is actually toys, some of it is just stuff I love and cannot bear to part with. Things like, oh, I don't know, jars of things. Why do I have these ? I honestly could not tell you. But they make me smile and that matters.
There are a couple of unintentional collections of things: seashells, which at least makes sense since we live by the beach and pinecones because, I don't know, why not pine cones. I especially like the jaunty blue jay feather:
There are two 3-D cards that I love so much I have permanently integrated them into the decor. Decor? I'm not sure we have decor. We have stuff we like but I'm not positive it could be called something as lofty as "decor". Anyway, the cards:
There is a small lobster trap sitting atop the books about Maine, what appears to be a red swirled hershey kiss in the kitchen windows sill (it's actually a ring holder), a dragonfly shaped item that I believe is supposed to be for keeping earrings but instead it's in the bookcase on the "reference" shelf and a small sequined "christmas tree" in the pencil jar on my desk.
So I suppose you could say that we are childish or maybe child-like, which is far more charming. Maybe odd or eccentric truly is the correct term. Whatever it is, it's part of who we are. And we have surrounded ourselves with the things we love, which in turn, makes us happy.
In the end, isn't that really the most important part?
A Ceiling Fan! Down here in the Sunshine State, fans are absolute essentials. We have ours going year 'round. In the summer the fans are in addition to Air Conditioning, in winter of course, window open and without AC. We have ceiling fans in every room of the house, except bathrooms. And this weekend, they got a real workout.
The weekend started out great! Saturday was a Minock Day! We drove up to our friends house, a couple of hours away, and spent a wonderful day with them. We had lunch at a charming little place beside a river and we ate outside under the trees while watching turtles swimming by (and one alligator). We talked, we laughed, we caught up and had the best time ever, as we always do. We left much later than we intended (Time really does fly by when you are having a good time!) and got home a little after 9.
Once we got home, in very short order, we realized that it seemed to be warmer than usual inside. Tim did a little checking and oh yeah, it was a whole lot warmer than usual. Somehow, the Air Conditioning stopped working shortly after we left in the morning. Oh dear. Tim did what he could to try to nudge it back into functionality but nope, it wasn't happening. This was a problem.
It was hot outside with almost no breeze and it was equally hot inside but at least inside we had the fans. The fans were only circulating hot air, but a breeze is a breeze. After a little testing, it appeared that the coolest room in the house was the new room, the family room, so clearly that was where we were spending the night.
It was 85 degrees in the family room (once again, the coolest room in the house) so getting comfortable wasn't easy. I settled into my usual spot on the sofa, layed back against the cushions, closed my eyes and tried to think cool thoughts. Poor Tim was miserable. He tried and tried to get comfortable but it just wasn't happening.
Neighter of us really slept, we merely dozed and sweated, alternately. Tim ended up laying on the floor which was probably the coolest spot (cold air sinks y'see) but any improvement was marginal. It was a Long Hot Summer Night and not in a good way.
By dawn's early light, with gritty sleep deprived eyes, we gave up trying to pretend to sleep and got set up for our day. Tim resumed trying to get the AC to behave and I tried to think of something to do that didn't involve heating up the house even more. So no doing laundry and No cooking. Hmmmmmm.
Eventually, after all other attempts had failed, a phone call was made to an emergency AC guy. There comes a point when you gotta call in the experts and this was one of them. The technician promised to be there by early afternoon. So what do you do while you wait? Not much. We both attempted to do useful things, stuff on the gotta-do list but realized very quickly that once we started getting heated up working, there would be no way to cool down. This was going to be a day of laying low.
I wore the coolest clothes I could think of and pinned my hair up. While we waited, mostly we sat on the sofa reading, watching old re-runs on TV and sweating. As the sun came up and got brighter and higher in the sky, we also watched the temperature gauge rise. It was maddening.
At long last, our hero arrive in a white vehicle (not a white horse of course, but still thematically correct). It took him about an hour to check and test, check and test so many different parts of the system and then finally seize on where the problem originated. Once discovered, it was simply a matter of fixing it. Which he did! We gratefully paid the outrageous cost and sent him on his way with many thanks.
Afterwards, it was just a matter of waiting for the temperature to start to go back down.
Just so you know, it took all day and well into the night.
As I said, it was a long hot summer night and honestly the only difference between this event and the 11 days without AC after Hurricane Irma in 2017, was that this time we still had power so we were saved by the fans.
I have seen so very many decorating shows where the first thing the experts say in any room is to get rid of the ceiling fans. I vote no on that. Not just no but hell no. I don't care how they look esthetically, our ceiling fans stay.
Hope your weekend was much cooler :)
Welcome to another Photo Safari Report! Despite the rising temperature, strong breeze and overcast skies, Joy and I headed out on another hike. This time, at Joy's brilliant suggestion, we specifically went to Myakka State Park. There is a driving road that goes all the way through this beautiful place with lots of little trails leading from it. The reasoning was that we could hike for a bit and then cool off in the car as we drove to the next spot over and over. Genius! A great way to avoid heat stroke. Therefore, I am calling this the Air Conditioned Hike!
Even though we arrived plenty early, initially we were a little disappointed. There didn't seem to be many photo opportunities. Well that's not fair. There are always pretty things just begging to be captured on camera. And of course I did get those. Ferns and reflections and interesting trees and the endless fields of yellow wildflowers...... Gorgeous!
Speaking of flowers, while most of them were those bright golden ones, there were a few others here and there:
But what we were looking for, hoping for, really was wildlife. And initially, nothin, not even birds! What the what? Where did everybody go? Eventually, Joy's eagle eye spied this adorable sweet baby trying to stay cool in a shady spot:
It was as if, once we finally found one, suddenly, there was no end to the wonderful creatures we saw. They were everywhere and in every direction:
And then there were the birds. Oh my gracious, so very many wonderful birds! Including, my very first Meadowlark ever! Their reputation for having a Beautiful song is well deserved. And in fact, at first I was so stunned by hearing the song that I couldn't remember to take a doggone photo. Joy had to prompt me (thank you Jo). I just stood there like a dolt, listening and marveling. Anyway, birds: (I will identify the ones I know for sure - the rest- I'm not positive)
Not only did we not get too miserably hot and sweaty (and worn out) on this Air Conditioned Hike, we also got some great shots and got to spend the morning together which is always a good thing.
I will leave you with a few rando photos and wishes for a terrific weekend!
Hurrah for Father's Day! Hope all the Dad's in your life were well celebrated. Neither Tim nor I have a father to celebrate on that day any longer, sadly. But! Tim is a Step-Father and that counts! So I, for sure, wanted to make it a special day for him.
In our family, we kind of let the person being celebrated own the day. It's all about them. Whatever they want to do, wherever they want to go, they are in charge completely. They dictate the foods, the activities, the tone of the day.
Tim is a really easy going guy and he didn't care what he had for dinner or dessert. He didn't have anything in particular in mind so I made grilled chicken burrito's and loaded them up with so much stuff! Refried beans, spanish rice, sauteed onions and peppers, cheeses, avocado, shredded lettuce and, of course, the chicken. Top that off with hot sauce and you have a very filling meal! Chocolate cupcakes with white icing for dessert. He was happy with that!
As far as Father's Day Activities go, well, since it was up to him, he decided that there were a couple of things he wanted to get done that were weighing on him. Just little housey things off the gotta-do list. That's what he wanted to do and it was his choice entirely. So Ok! And then, he just wanted a nice, relaxing, easy peasy, restful remainder of his day. Since it was a super rainy day, that worked out perfectly. Watching TV, reading, playing a few games, maybe sneaking in a little nap too. Rainy days are kind of automatically restful. We were well planted in the house for the day. In fact, the only time we left the house was in the morning. We dashed out through the pouring rain to get donuts. They were dang good too!
And there was the gift. We don't usually do anything big for each other anymore. Not for any traditional gift giving day. At Christmas, we only exchange stockings, for birthdays it's usually something very small, flowers, candy, maybe a book. So for Mother's Day or Father's Day, or any other remotely gift giving sort of day, we normally go even smaller. Cards for sure and then maybe one other tiny thing.
This year however, on Mother's Day, Tim didn't just get me flowers, he gave me FLOWERS! An enormous gorgeous lush bouquet packed with two of my favourites: Roses and Hydrangea. It was in a lovely, huge vase and the fragrance filled the entire house for more than a week. Wow! He outdid himself. This was not little fistful of carnations and freesia (which I also love, don't get me wrong) So I felt compelled to respond in kind and do something BIG for him as well. And that's where I got stuck.
Here is a confession. I'm not a very good gift giver. I'm just not. I don't know why. It's not as if I'm terrible at it. I've heard stories of people receiving old used out of date pantry items as gifts! Gosh I'm not that bad. But I'm not great either. Somehow I was just not blessed with the sort of creativity and genius that so many other people in my family have of choosing the exact perfect, thoughtful, inspired gift that stays in my memory and heart forever. Dang it.
I've been the delighted recipient of many of those sorts of gifts and I so wish I could respond in kind. For example, all of my kids are brilliant at gift giving. Every gift I've ever gotten from my children is that thing I never knew I always wanted! I do so wish I could do the same for them.
It's not as if I don't care, I care!!! It's not as if I don't try! I try, I try like crazy! And I search and I shop and I wrack my brain 'til it about explodes and still, either whatever I select is just okay. When I try to think of an idea on my own it ends up being a kindly 'thank you very much' sort of gift because my children are very polite. But I can tell. I can tell when I've missed the mark ...............again.
When they were little, I would have them make up a wish list and then I would select three items off the list, one from Santa, one from their dad and one from me. That way, they definitely received something they really wanted. BUT it wasn't a surprise y'know? Now that they are grown, at my request, they still send me wish lists, which I REALLY appreciate. I select from that wish list, order it online and have it shipped directly. They receive something they really need or want and there is nothing wrong with that, but again, it's not a surprise. It's not that thing that they do for me, the thing they never knew they always wanted. It's it makes me so sad that I cannot seem to do it back.
I am the same way with ever gift I give and it gives me such gift-giving anxiety! ARGH!
So here I am trying to think of something extra special to do for Tim for Father's Day. Not just the usual small thing where he already probably knows what it is. I wanted to surprise him for once! And I thought and I considered and puzzled for weeks and came up with nothin'. I was resigned to picking up a usual boring thing until one night, as I watched him have a little snack of cheese and crackers and this word popped into my head: Charcuterie. Yes! That is Tim. That is a perfect idea! It's certainly different than any other idea for him I've ever had.
I did a little online research and found that 1) Wow! Expensive! 2) not everything in a pre-made charcuterie package is something he would want and 3) $$$$$ holy crap! At first I was a little discouraged, and then it occurred to me that I could custom create a Tim-centric charcuterie. I spent some time searching and selecting thing locally, chortling with glee the entire time. Finally I had enough stuff to call it good.
The trick now was hiding it until Father's Day. The non-refridgerated stuff was easy. The refridgerator stuff was a little trickier. I ended up depending on the honour system. That stuff went into a bag within a bag within a bag, at the back of the fridge with two giant notes on it saying, "DO NOT TOUCH" with multiple exclamation points.
He was good and did not touch. But he did wonder :)
In the end, he was indeed surprised and pleased with his charcuterie bowl (I presented it in a pasta serving bowl). Let's call it a charcuTIMerie. heh It pleased me so much to finally, finally, FINALLY come up with an idea on my own that was a good one. A gift that he did not expect, totally deserved and was a happy surprise!
(Late yesterday and early this morning I thought of multiple other things I could have added, but of course afterward the fact. Not when it would have been useful. (sigh) My brain is so strange.)
Anyway, here is what I put together:
This was, the one and only time, in my entire gift giving life, that I pulled this off so don't get your hopes up people. This was a fluke. It's like putting an infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of keyboards and assuming that eventually one of them will present Shakespeare.
I will always give gifts and I, hopefully, give decent ones. But not creative, wonderful, inspired gifts. The gifts that my loved ones deserve and I wish I was capable of providing. Still, this one time, I did do it.
Hope your Father's Day was wonderful for you and the Father's and father figures in your life! (and that you are a better gift giver than I am!)
Ok here's one for you from the "Duh" files. Or at least the, "You don't know what you don't know" department.
This is where I iron. I know that most people do not iron anymore, but I do. It's a house chore that I not only don't mind, I rather like it. I bring order out of chaos, tidy out of not so tidy, smooth to the wrinkled and well, it's a pleasant chore for me. Yeah, I know, I'm very odd.
ANYWAY, Way back when we first moved here, I always dragged the ironing board, hangars, the pile of stuff all out to the family room from the utility room (where that stuff otherwise lives) each time I was going to iron which is generally, twice a week. I did that so I could have some old movie or the TLC channel or something I had recorded and saved on the TV to watch or at least listen to and semi-watch while I ironed. And then when the construction on the family room began, I had to move my ironing station to the kitchen where I am completely in the way of anyone (that would be Tim) who wants another cup of coffee or a drink or water or to go out to the utility room or...any number of other things.
Now the family room is back and I find myself reluctant to return to ironing in the family room. Not because I enjoy being in people's way (although in a passive-aggressive way I suppose it's a bonus) but because I don't' have to haul all the equipment alllllllll the way through the utility room, the kitchen, the eating part of the kitchen (ok we will call it a dining area) and the living room to get there. It's a shorter trip. I'm lazy, so sue me.
So what happens is, I bring in the pile of stuff to iron and hangars, set up the ironing board, plug the iron in to the outlet on the end of the peninsula and I'm ready to rock'n'roll or at least, I'm ready to iron. I've been doing this for quite some time now. That same outlet is where I charge my camera, plug in my giant mixer and you know how often I use that (all the time!!), and occasionally, plug in my hair dryer if the bathroom is otherwise occupied. In short I use that outlet a lot. Every day probably.
Well, today I set up the ironing board, plugged in the iron, selected my first item to press and, and, and, nothing. Iron was just as cold as a frosty morning. What? Did I kill another iron? I am not certain why, but I do seem to use up irons far more frequently than seems strictly necessary. ARGH! I hate wearing wrinkled clothes and I hate even more offering Tim wrinkled clothes to wear. Dang.
"Well", I thought to myself. "There's nothing to be done about it right now. Perhaps over the weekend we can go out and buy a new iron". I resigned myself to being wrinkley for a few days and started to put things away. And then it occurred to me. What if it's not the iron? What if it's the outlet?
So I experimentally plugged the iron into the outlet in the bathroom. Worked like a charm. The problem was not the iron. But if the issue is the outlet, that's electrical which means calling an electrician which is expensive and, oh dear, oh dear. Then something else occurred to me. Once upon a time, we lived in a place where for some reason, the light in any room had to be on for any outlet in that room to work. Could that be the case here? I mean, this is an older house which also means a quirky house.
Now, a side note. Lately our electric bill has been insane. Just absolutely crazyinsane. So in a desperate effort to offset that expense wherever we can, I find myself walking through the house turning out lights and remembering my dad doing the same thing. He would walk through the house, turning out lights in empty rooms, muttering under his breath something about "every dang light in the house is on". heeheehee. What a way to remember my dad. The thing is, I love light. As much light as possible. I love lots of windows, all of them thrown open, curtains pulled back, shades up and if that doesn't give me enough lights, yup, generally lights are on. But I am trying, really trying to live with darker rooms. Gloom. Sigh.
At any rate, because of my 'great efforts' the living room area had no overhead lights turned on. Because I was only working in the kitchen area (even though it's essentially all the same room) I had only the kitchen lights on. Hmmmmmm
So I walked over to the switch, turned on the living room area lights, then plugged the iron back in and sonuvagun, it works. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! How is it possible that we have lived here more than 7 years now and I just today learned that the living room area lights and that end of peninsula outlet are connected????? I guess I always used to have the living room area lights on?
My dad always used to tell us that we needed to learn at least one new thing every day. I guess this was my one new thing today :) Thanks Dad! Works out nicely in honour of the upcoming Father's Day, doesn't it :)
Have a great weekend y'all! Learn one new thing and celebrate all father's and father stand-ins. Me? I'm going to finish up the ironing.
I am rather tickled with myself right now. It's a lovely feeling and I want to savour it. And it's funny that I have such big feelings about such a relatively small thing. Still, it's the truth. It's not pride (which goeth before a fall) it's just pleasure.
And what is it that has me so very pleased with myself? Well, on Saturday, I dug a swale. That is not a typo.
If you are unfamiliar with the term, a swale is: "A swale is a shady spot, or a sunken or marshy place. In US usage in particular, it is a shallow channel with gently sloping sides. Such a swale may be either natural or human-made. Artificial swales are often infiltration basins, designed to manage water runoff, filter pollutants, and increase rainwater infiltration".
In short, it's a path for water to take through our yard and back out into the bay (which is behind our house) where it belongs. It's a good thing.
When we bought the house, there was already a swale in place. And it works great! Even though we live in a place that, during the rainy season is prone to rain storms that are locally referred to as "gullywashers", the rain stays out of the house and also does not create itself a pond in the yard somewhere. Nope, it just goes right on past the house under the fence. Bye bye !
But somewhere along the line, during the construction/deconstruction necessary for the project room, a considerable amount of dirt got moved by the builder guys with their big old diggery machines and they, inexplicably, moved the dirt to the side of the house, effectively filling in the swale. Hmmmm. Our assumption at the time was that when the project was done they would take the same big old diggery machines and move the dirt.................elsewhere. And of course we all know what happens when we assume.
Since they never finished the project, we will never know if they intended to do anything about the filled in swale. But clearly, we needed to. And not just because it's one of the many things that gets inspected before the project is officially complete, but also because we don't want water in the house! That's a firm rule.
So digging out the swale was on the list of things that still needed to be done. Saturday was a pretty day, not too horrible yet to be doing an outside project. Even though it's very definitely getting warmer, the humidity hasn't climbed to the top of the pile yet. And that is something to take advantage of while we still can. Tim elected to finish up work on the fascia of the exterior. And since that involves being way up high on a scaffold which requires climbing a ladder to even get to, and my general feeling about heights, I volunteered to dig.
I can dig. We own a shovel. I've planted flowers and vegetables before. I've planted trees and shrubs! And I have shoveled snow from more walkways and driveways than I care to recall in my lifetime. So I was not remotely concerned about whether or not this was a task I was really able to do or not. The fact that I am an out of shape, nearly 70 year old never once crossed my mind. Not sure if I am in denial or delirious but over breakfast that morning I just casually said, "While you are working on the trim, I think I will dig out the swale". To his credit, Tim did not scoff. He looked at me for a long minute and then (very wisely) said, "If that's what you want to do".
In preparation, I put on my junkiest clothes, loads of sunscreen, a set of sunsleeves and a pair of gloves. See? Even though it's been awhile, I remember some important parts to the art of shoveling! I grabbed the shovel and headed outside, ready to get it done. I was ready to knock this out.
The first order of business was a size up the task. I approached the filled in area from every direction possible until I had an idea of the width and depth that needed to be moved. Then I pulled over my little garden cart. It's easier to move than a wheelbarrow as it has 4 wheels instead of three and is, therefore, far more stable. My idea was that I would shovel the dirt into the cart and then pull the cart to a different, non-swale, part of the yard to dump it. Good plan.
Everything was set up and in place, I was ready to go.
I began with great energy and good attitude, shoveling dirt into the cart and then pulling the cart to the opposite side of the backyard and dumping it over and over, spreading the dirt all along the side, under shrubs and trees. I didn't want the pile of dirt to be all in one spot. Sometimes this meant getting whacked by tree branches and stabbed by thorns. No matter, the job was getting done.
Occasionally, Tim would climb down from his perch atop the scaffolding and offer a gentle suggestion but otherwise, he allowed me to be me and do the job my way. He is a smart man and we have been married a long time. He gets me.
I began to run out of steam in shockingly short order. About an hour in, I had to take a break. I needed water and I needed to just not be shoveling for a minute or two. I stepped back into the house. I carefully stayed just in the kitchen because at that point, I was beyond filthy. Digging is dirty work. I was also so sweaty that it was making my sunscreen run into my eyes and if you've never experienced that little bit of delight, let me just say that it stings a bit.
After I cooled off a bit, I took a deep breath, re-did my ponytail which was trying it's best to go AWOL, went back outside, grabbed my shovel and got back to it. I said I was gonna do it, so I was by gawd, going to do it. I can be very stubborn.
With far less energy and enthusiasm I continued. If it was just shoveling perhaps it wouldn't have been quite as difficult. But it was the shoveling, plus the removing of rocks. I'd dig into the nice soft sandy soil for a few shovelfuls and then "clunk" I would hit a rock. And the thing about rocks is, you have no idea how big they are, or what shape or how deep or, well, anything. There is nothing to be done but to take the time to dig the rock out and remove it. Then what do you do with the rock? Well, in my case, I tossed it to the side along the fence where, to this day, they still remain. There are now enough rocks along that fence to build a small rock wall if I was so inclined. (by the way, I am not) Then of course there was the pulling of the cart to the side and dumping it. Over and over, again and again.
Eventually on one of Tim's check in's, he proclaimed that I had dug deeply enough and that all that remained now was to smooth it out. Apparently I do not dig neatly. So I got a rake and smoothed things as best I could. I filled in a few spots that were too deep and lopped off the top of a couple of places that we a bit too high.
I stood back and checked it out from, again, several different directions. Utilizing just eyeball measurements, it looks ok. In fact, I'd say it looks pretty good. Tim was happy with it, I was happy with it. We called it a day, congratulated ourselves and each other on jobs well done. We put away our toys and went inside to clean up.
I was so incredibly dirty it looked more as if I had burrowed than shoveled. Geez! Not sure how it is that no matter what task I take on, when it's finished, not only am I unbelievably dirty but so is my work area. That applies to painting, cooking, and clearly also shoveling. The difference is that if I make a mess outside, who cares? The birds?
Maybe a part of my delight in this task is that it's over. Perhaps it's the feeling of satisfaction that comes with a job that is both started and completed all on the same day. Maybe it's that I did a pretty good job for a old lady. I've never been the prissy sort. I never objected to getting dirty or doing a physically demanding job. But as I get older, more and more of those sorts of chores are not such a good idea. I have to admit that there are things that are now really beyond my ability to tackle. I hate admitting it, but it's the truth.
Turns out, I can still dig. And for the record, my hat is off to anyone who digs for a living. Dang that is hard work! And therefore, Yay me!
Two boxes of books, mercy. These are almost ready to be dropped off at Good Will. I think I can squeeze a couple more small books in each box and I have one more empty box waiting to be filled. Shockingly, last week, I dropped off two other boxes-o-books.
Me? Getting rid of books? That doesn't sound right at all, does it?
Well, the thing of it is, there was no other option. The bookshelves were already filled past capacity. Everywhere a book could be tucked in, there was already a book. Every nook, every cranny, every bit of vertical and horizontal space was filled. It had gotten to the point where I was stacking books on floors and side tables and well, if you know me, you know that just will not do at all.
It's not tidy, it's not clean, it's not organized. It is, however, messy, cluttered and impossible to find whatever book you are searching for. I think that was the worst of it. I couldn't find the books I was looking seeking. I'd need GPS coordinates, a sherpa and a treasure map for an hope of success. Time after time I would stand in front of the books cases, hands on hips, eyes casting around the shelves muttering to my self," I know I own that dang book", and then walk away empty handed. Frustrating.
There's nothing to be done for it except to make more space. Some books had to go. Very Sad Words. To get rid of books I have to harden my heart, narrow my eyes, roll up my sleeves and make tough decisions. I have to ask myself if I will ever read this book again AND then be honest with myself.
Some books are easy. The decision is made before I even walk into the living room. There are books that I read once every year. Books that I adore and cherish that inspire me, teach me, humble me, entertain me, educate me and I simply cannot let them go. Those books stay. There are times when I do not compromise.
In fact, when I decided to begin working on this, when I made that tough decision - "some books gotta go" - I stood there in front of one of the book cases and just kind of perused the shelves. Then I heard myself say (out loud by the way), "well everything on that shelf stays". And I knew this was going to be harder than usual. When I start out saving an entire shelf....not just one particular book but an entire shelf...you know it's not going to so smoothly. So I walked away.
That was not going to be a good get rid of books day. I waited an entire week longer to start. And on that day, the day I truly began, I was tough, I was mean, I was the Dirty Harry of book getter ridders. I filled up those first two boxes and took them directly to GoodWill, dropped them off and didn't give them a second thought. They were books I had picked up at the $5 a bag sale at the library and some of them were so bad I never actually read them. Easy to part with those.
Now we are getting rid of a different classification of books. Books that I actually choose. Books that I read on purpose AND enjoyed. If I didn't enjoy them, A) I wouldn't have read them and B) I wouldn't have kept them. Makes it ever so much more difficult a task.
My methodology for making the keep or toss decision is sort of like that Marie Kondo thing. Although hers is, "does this bring me joy?". I cannot ask myself that coz if I do the answer with books is always yes. Instead I ask myself, "Am I going to read this again?" The hard part is answering honestly.
My plan for the day is first to empty the shelves. Every single thing on every single shelf is going to taken off. I will clean the books, clean the shelves and clean the little tchotchkes that have somehow found their way also onto the book shelves. THEN I will group the books by subject. The next time I am looking for a particular book, I will by golly find it!! While sorting by subject, I can do one last big ask - am I REALLY going to re-read this book. That ought to get rid of the final few stragglers.
When I put things back on the shelves, some of the knickknacks will also find new homes. But I will be honest, I like to see some of it up there. It looks cozy and homey and less like a library. I can use the baubles as markers between book categories. At least that's my thought at the moment. I will know more once I start grouping things.
In my dream home, there is a real library. A big room lined floor to ceiling with shelves, there are even shelves above the door ways and windows. There are a few super comfy chairs with footstools, good reading lighting, good windows for natural light and a table for setting my teacup. And there are books on all of those shelves. What a lovely dream. However, since we are dealing with reality here, I will work with what I got.
Have you seen how interior decorator's put books on shelves? Sometimes they line them up with the spines to the back. ???? I am baffled! How do you find the book you are looking for that way? Or they put papercovers on the books so they are all the exact same. Unless you also write the book name on that papercover, once again, how do you find your books? Occasionally I see them in magazines with no papercovers and spines out but grouped by size and colour. No no no, I don't have books on my shelves as a design statement. I have books because I read them and then I re-read them. And some of them I re-re-read in perpetuity! Which means I also need to find them. Which means a different sort of organization.
I suppose I could do it alphabetically, but often I cannot recall the exact title. Same goes for grouping by author. That's absolutely not going to happen. But topic? Yes, I know what topic I'm looking for and therefore, that is how the books will be set up on my shelves.
So that's going to be my day today. I'm ready. I have my dust cloths and my furniture polish, a soft brush (for old books) and a plan. No longer will my shelves looks like this:
Hopefully they look a whole lot better. Wish me luck!
And, have a great weekend y'all!
See you next week. Hugs all 'round
In spite of the temperatures climbing a bit, Joy and I went out on Photo Safari yesterday. We left extra early and kept the hike to a far more reasonable 2 hours in an effort to avoid heat stroke. We are smart that way.
The only problem with hiking early is that often we are the only ones in the vicinity that are awake. The very things we are hoping to photograph are still snuggied up in their little beds, all comfy and cozy and snoozing away. Despite knowing that, we still went out early in that gorgeous early morning light to see what else there was to see.
Turned out, all of the birds got up extra early too. And even better, it seemed to be Family Day~! So many of the birds we saw were not just one representative of the species but of pairs! Sometimes entire families! Love it! Group Photos! So this is the Family Day Hike! Very appropriate since Joy & I are family too :)
Let's see how many "family portraits" I managed to capture:
Three? Is that all? I know we saw a lot more. Oh wait a minute. Sometimes I couldn't get capture them both in the same frame so I had to take individual shots. Let's try this again:
Well, there were more. There truly were, but I guess I missed a few. Oh well. I have some single bird shots too. Wanna see those? I would like to point out that most of these supposedly "single" birds were actually in pairs or groups, I just only managed to captured them one at a time. Drat!
It was sort of a happy accident that as we continued up and down the trails, noticing all of these bird groups and taking pictures of them, at the same time Joy and I were also catching each other up on what was happening in our families! What's the news? How are the kids? It's so nice to hear about her girls (and boys) and I love talking about my boys (and girls). Guess it put the entire day and me in a family state of mind :)
Enough with the birds! What else did we see? Well, I did get a few nice botanicals:
And one truly awesome spider web complete with spider!
The Family Day Hike with at least some birdie families represented :) Hope you enjoyed!
I was feeling a little twinge of nostalgia recently and when I tried to figure out what exactly it was I was feeling nostalic about, it turned out to be fabric. Yeah, weird. Especially for a non-sewer.
At first I thought it was a bit of fashion nostalgia, but since fashion is cyclical, that is just silly. In point of fact, I recently saw a pair of bell bottom jeans in a boutique downtown. Whoa! There's a fashion that did NOT need to come back. So no, it wasn't style nostalgia. Took me a bit to pin it down. No one was more surprised than I to discover the truth. It was about Fabric. Interesting.
Some fabric does cycle like fashion does. For instance gingham. There are years, literally years, when, unless you are shopping at a recycle clothing store, there is not one little cotton check to be seen anywhere in any store. And then other years where it's everywhere! There was a fashion season when they brought checks back not not the tiny little cute ones associated with gingham but great giant checks, usually in red/black/cream, and they called it Buffalo Check. It looked good on maybe 30 people in the entire country. The rest of us suddenly had fannies that looked the size of the back of a bus. Buffalo checks were not a good idea. I understand that tiny little gingham checks are in the mode once again. Hurrah for that.
Lace is another fabric that seems to swing in and out of favour. I am a huge lace fan. Which makes it odd that own very little of it right now, sadly. But that is probably because it is not in style right now and therefore it's hard to find. Lace used to be one of those things that could be terribly expensive because it was hand made (and beautifully done). Now it's all manufactured, machine made, and not costly at all. It's a pretty feminine little detail that I adore. And it doesn't have to be an entire dress or blouse. Maybe just a bit of trim, a collar or cuff. Hard to find right now. Not to worry, if I wait long enough I'm sure it will come back.
I haven't seen dotted swiss in a long time either. That is another old favourite of mine. When we were very young, our Nana made Joy and I dresses every spring - just in time for Easter - out of dotted swiss of some pastel colour. We wore petticoats under it so we had very full, slightly itchy, skirts that rustled a bit when we moved. We felt very fancy. As we got a little older dotted swiss was no longer in pastels and it was usually either reserved for dress sleeves or blouses - which had to to either be lined or worn with a slip underneath due to it's sheerness. Later still it was only used for curtains! Curtains! Now it is beyond rare to see that oh so very feminine fabric used.
Corduroy is another favourite of mine. I think I always had something corduroy in my wardrobe until maybe 10 years ago? Suddenly, it disappeared. I favoured pinwale corduroy but I would take whatever I could get, y'know? I vaguely recall wearing a pair of dark green corduroy overalls as a very little girl. But as I grew I had trousers, skirts, even a dress made of corduroy and as an adult I had a wonderful gold corduroy jacket that I loved. Now? No corduroy anywhere. Dang. Maybe it'll circle around, maybe not.
Seersucker was the perfect summer fabric. It was lightweight, easy to care for, airy and versatile. It was seen in everything from ladies dresses, to children's rompers to men's summer suits. And at one time, it seemed to be in nearly every colour of the rainbow. Then it disappeared. I recently found a shop with one style of blouse in seersucker but in only two colours, navy/white or grey/white. So Boring!
But sometimes, it's not that the fabric isn't popular anymore, it's that the materials used in making the fabric has changed. I thought at first it was me. For example, Velvet is another old fashioned fabric that I love. So there I am in a high end ladies clothes store, not trying on anything, just looking around and to my surprise, I see velvet! Of course I have to feel it! Of course! Don't you? Doesn't everybody? Anyway, I sidle up to it, peer around to see if anyone is looking, slowly reach out to touch and wow, disappointing. It just doesn't feel the way I remember velvet.
Naturally I assumed the fault lay with me. It must be that my memory is flawed. I did a little research and nope, this time it's not me. They way most velvet is made now has changed. I remember silk velvet. It felt almost like fur. Yummy. Now sometimes it's made with cotton but in an effort to keep costs down, most velvet is made from synthetic fibers. ARGH! Synthetic fibers have ruined fabrics. At least the feel of them.
I understand why spandex and things like spandex have been added to almost everything and there are days, trust me, when I am so very grateful for that little bit of extra give. Still the trade-off is that nothing feels like itself anymore. Cotton, once a perfect breathable summer fabric that was crisp and cool now has spandex in it for "give" and something else that makes it 'wrinkle free' and it's just as hot as polyester. Bah. It doesn't look the same, feel the same or function the same either.
Satin is another luscious fabric of the past. I mean real satin. I know it's out there, but only for those in the rarefied levels of existence because it's so dang expensive now. Costly, but worth every penny. Real satin has a luster that is unmistakable. And when you are wearing it, it feels almost like you are wearing butter. That sounds odd but it's true. Real satin is always cool to the touch and oh my gosh, it drapes so beautifully.
So yeah, I'm odd. I miss certain fabrics. Sigh. And dressing up. I miss having the occasion, once in awhile, to dress up. I mean REALLY dress up, era 1940 dress up. Heels, stockings, dresses, gloves and hats. And that's even before My time. I came in just on the tail end of a little bit of it. When I was very little I remember wearing little white gloves and a hat when I'd be in my Sunday Best. (and black patent leather shoes all shined up with Vaseline). But it didn't last long. Things changed as they always do. I recall a time when a lady didn't so much as go to the grocery store if she wasn't looking sharp. Now I see people shopping in pajamas and bathing suits.
It's a casual world now, so perhaps casual fabrics that require no ironing, no fussing and no dry cleaning are better suited to it. But gosh, sometimes I miss them.
Whatever your fabric choices, have a lovely weekend, ya'll
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.