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Category Archives: Change

I have been working on my kitchen for, in the neighborhood of, twelve hours today, granted, not with the solid kind of steam I would be able to contribute if I were cleaning house for someone else.

Earlier, I was feeling domestic and hopeful, as if,” Well certainly, there is no reason I cannot tackle this entire kitchen from start to finish, in one swell food, one solid day of work!” including rousting about in cabinets and getting rid of all things (food-wise, at least) that are older than my daughter, as well as dealing with all of my kids and my own schtuff located in the kitchen. Perhaps you will recall a few posts ago, I mentioned there were canvasses in the kitchen and very large ones at that. Oy, what a Pollyanna! I didn’t take before pictures, as they were too humiliating. I have during pictures, and while it’s true I’ve made progress, I am not done, and I feel like a terrible waste of human flesh at the moment. -Harsh? -I know, I should not deign to judge another human as harshly, I think, I hope not at least.

My son feigns terror, oddly expressing just how I am feeling!

Stuff I’ve been sorting. There was a fish tank on the table earlier actually. Additionally, I may have finally found the connectors I need to set up my stereo. Just think, I only packed it all away about three years ago!

What to do with all of this? Some will stay and some will go.

Made for dishes, and perfect for a stereo, especially now that I’ve located the wires (hopefully all that I need to get the bugger up and running, as music makes life better, and I’ve been forgetting that lately!

On the up side, I, along with my step-mom, picked cherries from Gran’s cherry tree today. That would make Gran happy.

Also, the first tomatoes in the garden I planted with one of my students in his yard:

as well as some lettuce and more tomato plants.

Lots more lettuce:

A beautiful sunflower that is blooming right outside the room he shares with his brothers:

More sunflowers:

Even more sunflowers:

More beautiful tomato plants with blossoms waiting to become fruit:

Okay. I feel a bit better now.

I am a domestic Goddess, in the same way that Hera is. I am not perfect AND I keep trying.

Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow to either quote or paraphrase Murrow, I believe.

In any event, time to sleep so I can get back to it tomorrow with fresh eyes and a better attitude!

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I am behind in writing, and doing a bit better in action.

On the 17th, I loaded my truck up and donated a large amount of stuff to the Ark for the Animals Thrift store. So much so that Judy, my friend and manager of the store told me there is no more room for donations at the moment. No obviously, I did not fill up the entire store, by any means. I did do my fair share, however. I filled the front of my truck.

As for the back, it was pretty loaded as well.

I donated my Minolta color enlarger, the paper safes, and tray that go with it; at least four boxes of books, my grandmother’s microwave, toaster oven, and ironing board, her shower chair; clothes and toys of all sorts, and just stuff, stuff, stuff. I can tell I’m on the right track because I cannot even recount what I actually donated and would be even less able to do so were it not for the pictures I took for the blog. I will keep that in mind as I’m going through stuff and remember, almost exclusively, the stuff I have is just that: stuff. Even the good stuff is just stuff.

Back to the kitchen. I’ve made room for my lovely red Kitchen Aide mixer on the counter, but need to get rid of more stuff so I can settle in and use it!

Cheers all, and happy sorting/tossing/de-hoarding!

Here I am again, second time in a week, I think this is the most progress I’ve made in some time -two postings in a week, that is.

So, first, a word about these posts, I’ve said it a while ago, when I began posting, but I feel it is worth reiterating: This is not a literary post, per-say. I edit only in a cursory fashion, and do my best to write in a somewhat visceral fashion, post pictures if I have them, and post in a projectile-puke-and-run sort of way. I say this to remind myself not to be too harsh on myself as I go back and re-read with editing eyes, but also to keep any other readers focused on the main point of this darned blog. I am just to make progress with hoarding, and stuff and the issues around hoarding, more than with writing here, and if I give in to my type a-ish traits (which believe me, play a strangely large role in all of this for me) and over think/over edit I won’t get any writing/sorting/tossing done, or certainly much less. Having said that, thank you for being kind with me linguistically and literarily. I actually do know how to write/edit etc., but that is not my primary purpose here . . .

I have just got off of the phone with my step-mom (Thank you, again Cin!). She is going to help me, this weekend, to go through Gran’s linen closet and decide what to keep, what to send with her, what to get rid of … Some of the things in there are already mine, but I haven’t sorted out what’s what. She is also going to take down Gran’s string of cards with me, as well as taking home Gran’s rose china and some other stuff. Essentially, she allowing me to give myself permission to be here, to settle in and unpack, and admit that this is where life is, and what it is, which, for once in an anguishingly long time is not a miserable thing.

I am struggling with worthiness, and faith in plenty, not even mostly on a physical level, but am ready to get on with it, and to find my place in my own life. There are great pits of sorrow that are waiting to be trolled, but I believe there will also be wells of hope and memories that can bring balance and recognition of worth and renewal of faith, not just in life-the-universe-and-everything, but in myself as well.

In the meantime, I believe I will focus on the kitchen which currently contains some gigante canvases that I, for some reason unbeknownst to me am storing there, as well as cupboards full of food that are older than I am, and possibly even older than my dad.

There are no pictures today, as my daughter has my phone so she can call me when she is done at the movies, and my camera batteries have been temporarily enveloped by The Stuff.

Stuff, Stuff, Stuff! No wonder one of my favorite words is cosas (“stuff” in Spanish) very useful in so many settings, hee hee!

I did deal with the stuff in the back of the truck. sorted into recycling and trash and is waiting curbside now, so WAHOO to that.

Also, a lovely aside. I went to a friend’s house today and she had just read my blog for the first time. She told me she wanted to take me out to her garage so I would feel better. I always doubt people when they tell me about their stuff. In any event, It did make me feel better, not because her stuff is worse than mine, or better, but just that it is stuff and that she is trying to deal with it. Seeing her disheveled side didn’t make me care for her any less, I wonder why it has that effect for me regarding myself. Hmmm… I will begin to look at the inverse of the golden rule, and not just the straight shot of it. I suppose I deserve the same chance I give to others.

Okay, enough typing, off to work. I will check in later on in the weekend.

Lastly,time for a happy picture up-date after that darn fuzzy-headed stern one from last fall. The hair is making a comeback.  ; )

Here I am feeling terribly happy, down right sunny. Portent (in the very best possible terms of the word)of things to come, with any luck.

Sunny Day in Fort Bragg

Writing this blog is horrifying, I must admit.It has forced me to evaluate myself. I am not an exhibitionist, even though it may seem so, rather, this blog has served me well in the past for self moderation, motivation and feed back.It is akin to having sex with the lights blaring if you’re not particularly fond of your physical self. I have found it to be useful, and am still working on getting back into the swing of things.

I am trying hard to get my house in order, both proverbial and otherwise. I have started school for a new credential in order to teach the moderate to severe special education program next school year.

I spent HOURS, in my horrific rat infested garage yesterday trying to sort, and then simply pulling things out and cleaning. I did manage to sort out quite a bit (that seems like nothing compared to the over-all amount of stuff) to get rid of. I also filled, or nearly filled, the back of my truck with boxes to recycle and rat leaving and things the rats got into.

Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Drowning in a sea of stuff. Learning to swim, as it were.

Oy, so much stuff!

Stuff sorting

Then I swept up the part of the garage I unburied. Phew. I am hoping to get back at it again today.

a small clean space.

I realized that not only since I’ve been here, but for years, in fact most of my adult life, in fact most of my life I’ve been depressed and overwhelmed my both my emotional and physical life.
A good friend asked me when I was going to stop being depressed. The answer is now, and I think the way to do it is to take control of my own life. I have been living for other people for so long, and even when I haven’t been doing so knowingly, I’ve been struggling with the idea of if what I was doing was right or wrong in the eyes of my family, or society, or whatever. Funny how all that time, I was mostly working under that heavy load without even really realizing I was carrying it around.
I am hoping to clear out much of the physical, as well as psychological and emotional crap in my life and be present. I think this is going to take a hell of an effort on my part, but I think it can be done. I finally believe, or at least am willing to look at the idea that not only to I deserve to be well and happy, but that it is okay, in fact great to have a bigger life, not in terms of anything physical, per say, but that I can be present and even booming, if I feel like it.
I want to deal with my physical stuff and turn the garage into a studio space that I can make art and write in. My experience in life has been that the more I do, the more I can do. so, I am hoping to get my s*** together and be able to spend more time with actively in my own life, of my own choosing being present.

stuff to donate

more stuff donate

... to the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump!

I found that I quite like getting rid of things. The hard part is not just pitching the whole lot. I think that is baby out with the bath water mentality.

getting there...

It may not seem like a heck of a lot, but the garage now has room for a washer and dryer, which will help with the chaos in the house, and I can move my glass kiln from the front seat of my truck to the garage. AND, the sidewalk is clear again, and I didn’t just shove it all back into the garage willy nilly. I am going to pat myself on the back instead of listening to the naggy bits in my head that remind me I didn’t get done. I suppose there is no done, only movement, at least as long as one exists in the physical land of the living.

 

contemplating a less in life, to facilitate more

Wondering how to leap ...

Tools for Planning

I’m not sure where to begin, and I guess that is, in large part the point. I have been feeling lost for a long time. feeling as if I were floating, adrift in a sea of stuff, of ideas and theories, of “what-ifs”. I realized, recently it was in large part to the fact that my schedule and any sense of regularity with in it has been none existent since before my back surgery. It has been deteriorating since I moved here, and in truth, it really only consisted of “work”, and “not work” prior to moving here. I’ve rarely if ever scheduled in fun or relaxing, and have avoided home, not my children, just home, as much as possible. This has not been conscious, but I have been becoming aware of how uncomfortable my home makes me, where ever it may be, since I’ve been bound to this chair.

The first step of getting myself pulled together, and on track is finding and using a good planner. If I had my way, and enough excess cash I would have a PDA, then I could schedule my life, Gran’s life, my kids lives, take notes on writing thoughts and meetings, post to my blog if I felt really compelled, all from one small hand-held device (if it had wireless capability) but enough dreaming. I got myself a birthday present. The beautiful orange planner pictures above. It has times slots from 7 am until 8 pm on one side n lovely graph paper for notes, planning, sketching, planning out a room, whatever, on the other. See below:

Inside this year's planner

My friend Molly came over yesterday and helped me find the edges of sanity. We took some things back over to Gran’s and made a path, a physical one that led to a psychological one. She talked me through a lot of garbage in my head, and moved things for me that I am not capable of at the moment. I even donated a very well liked rocking chair to the thrift store. As much as I like it, the rice cooker was sitting in it more than we were. Speaking of the rice cooker, I may very well get rid of that too and find a pot with a lid that fits well instead.

The path we made helped me move forward in quite a few ways. More about that tomorrow!

potato flower 1

What do you see?

I am still in a prone position.

I was feeling much less hideous today, and so after my kids both got off to school (late I might add and with the helpof my son’s teacher -thank you Penny) I decided I should deal with the kitchen at least moderately. I found that in standing long enough, just to go to the bathroom and get ready to do dishes my left side from lower back to the tip of my toes became numb, cold and painful. Somewhat dejectedly, I have returned to my recliner.

Backing up, for a moment, I should say that I have had some very lovely offers of help. My house, however, is keeping me from accepting the offers. In much the same way that I am  too terrified to post more than isolated snippets of  the inside of my house, I am also entirely horrified of letting anyone in the door. I am afraid I will prove once and for all, that I am not worthy, that I am too screwed up to coexist with people I call friends and people I don’t know. This is all under the surface, of course. It doesn’t usually sit on top of my psyche trying to suffocate me. When I am home and not drugged into submission, it pops up and extends tendrils of doubt and self loathing deep into my being. These are the entries that take so long. The ones about more than stuff, more than learned behavior of hanging onto things for a rainy day. I suppose now is as good a time as any to explore the depths of my psyche, not much else to do. I suppose, this is my upside. I am always looking for one.

I have expected myself to be perfect for as long as I can remember. I have, of course, never been able to live up to that expectation. In some kind of internal and cosmic scale, it seems the better I do in one area (career, for example, or general perception by others of me) the worse I will do in another (hoarding, cleaning, organizing). Perhaps the correlation here is mythic, and not real, another way to defeat myself. I live so awfully much in my head it is hard to tell sometimes what is really going on. It does seem like there is an integral core in my make up that is self defeating that is constantly fighting with the other core that wants to excel, become exceptional and successful. They battle always and I’m never sure who is winning. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle and not at either end. If I can let go of my expectation of perfection perhaps that will allow me some faith, some ability to admit that I am not sufficient for everything on my own. I need other people. I need there help, their love, their kindness, forgiveness, their general humanity.

I would never expect another human being to act as their own mircrocosmos, self sufficient in every way.  Why then, do I expect that from myself? Perhaps if I free some of myself up from feeling like I must be responsible for everything I am involved in or for the needs of my family, I can feel better about not being able to provide everything, or change everything. I can let go of some of the crap I carry around, both psychologically and physically.

If you were wondering about the potato flower, I was wondering what you noticed first and in the most lasting kind of way about it? do you notice: beauty, missing bits, the bug crawling on it,  the leaves, the potato it will become? Everyone will most likely see it and remember it differently. Perception is channeled through our filters we can’t help that. We can, I can, be more aware of the filters and how they effect and affect my view.

If I were brave, I would admit, that this is not a great way to live and that not only do my children deserve more, not more actually, but better, and that I do as well. We are all worthy of living in a house that is homey, that freinds can come to at a moment’s notice without horrifying me. I should like to have enoough faith in setting personal boundaries that I can protect myself with the strength of my will and convictions, and not just with the depth of my stuff. 

If I were brave, I would take up more of the offers of help. It is not only my house that is stopping me, but my perception of weakness if I do. I suspect I may be here for long enough to get brave, to learn about the strength and pwer of not being perfect and accepting help without feeling diminished.

 Apparently, the, “or not route” was the one I went on.I was ready to be moving right along. I hit a physical wall.  It keeps coming to me that all this stuff in my life is so very multi-faceted. There are hereditary and up bringing factors (nature and nurture); there are survival factors;( I am not able to successfully set up and hold my own boundary limitations,;so stuff keeps everything and everyone out for me, kind of a baby with the bath water, all or nothing thing; issues of worthiness and wholeness … the list goes in and on.

I have back slid. I was doing okay, then I started back sliding, around the time my back started giving me problems. It is excruciating (no exaggeration) to bend over, to stand, to sit, to lay down, to change position.

Things have gone to Hell in a proverbial hand basket.

Fast Ride in a hand-Basket. gee, the scenery looks familiar!
Fast Ride in a hand-Basket. gee, the scenery looks familiar!
3logs 3 boxes handbasket 003

Working like this is just plain dumb! Time for a change.

3logs 3 boxes handbasket 004

Things I've not taken to donate and things I've neglected to deal with.

 

I’m not sure how all of this is related, but I am sure it’s a process. I’m sure this won’t be quick. I was worried, when I first started that it would be. I am also sure I will turn this around. I have no desire to live like this. I can figure it out and change it.

This is not easy. Many things worth doing, and worth doing well are not easy. -A good point to remember. In the mean time, I will keep breathing.

inhale, exhale.

 

 Wow! My table is completely clear and has been wiped down. This photographs shows me in the table in a whole new light. It is not nearly the beauty I thought it was.  I had been led to see it as if it were an antique heirloom.  It will be okay to get rid of it now, when something better comes along, or to let it be designated entirely as a work table if I have the room for such a thing, at some point.

In any event, it is clear, and clean, and waiting for me to put it to good use!

Finally A clean kitchen table!

Finally A clean kitchen table!

Phew. This is a major accomplishment, for me. It will be an even more major accomplishment if I can keep it clean when I’m not using it for printing space!

A second look!

A second look!The press is on the table. I need to make sure I find it a good place for when I am not using it.press set up on table

 Everything I need, gathered in one place. I feel pretty awesome and organized about this!

Everything required

Everything required

 A clean slate. Ready for a test print. Here we go! 

clean table, printing shirts 012

 Success! 

A clean table allows for printing

A clean table allows for printing

Good test run. Time for production, then moving onto the grey shirts and screen for light shirts.

I love it when things go well!

FBMS navy shirts modelled by Forrest with green

Storm heading in during our brief visit to Reno this weekend.

Storm heading in during our brief visit to Reno this weekend.

Table is nearly empty. Getting down to minutia ...

Table is nearly empty. Getting down to minutia ...

I always find things are much easier to deal with on a macro, rather than a micro level. It is pretty easy to sort clothes and thing. Rather, I should say, it is comparatively easy. Getting down to buttons, bills I no longer need, magazines I”m not done reading, and the like have an ansane abililty to kick my ass and stop me dead in my tracks in  terms of dealing with stuff.

On the table are some binders I bought at the local outlet/seconds store. When I got them home and took a good look at them they were clearly either falling apart, or would be quickly with any use. The wise thing to do would have been to have inspected them thouroughly before buying them, of course. The next most desirable thing would have been to return or exchange them before I lost the reciept. Now I have to decide if I am brave enought to ask for what I want, wich is either an exchange, or a refund. I find it amazingly hard to ask for what I want or need of others.

I have quite a large pile of things to go to donation, including a box of things my grandmother brought home after her volunteer shift at the food bank. I swear, I got back at least one thing I had previously donated in addition to multiple sweaters, including some with a christmas theme. Not the kind of thing I am inclined to wwear, even when I was teaching elementary school. There is a large size garbage bag of clothes including some nice skirts, one or two clocks, some shoes, pants, and the like. There are also some books, and clean cottage cheese containers and lids to go to Down Home Foods, out local health food store. The containers are for holding things like raw agave nectar, and other foods and spices in bulk.

I am exhausted, and so this is the end of my post for Monday. Late, but more in the ball park than I’ve been lately!

Sweet dreams all!

-Pauline

Things waiting to be donated and a re-usable shopping bag waiting to move out to the car.

Things waiting to be donated and a re-usable shopping bag waiting to move out to the car.

progress, part 1

progress, part 1

I’ve not gotten as far as I’d like, but hopefully, by tomorrow I will have the table successfully cleared. I have been subbing in the preschool, had choir, Gran, life in general and my back has been out. I am terribly tired and am packing it in for today!

Hopefully more progress tomorrow.

Good night.

-Pauline

progress, part tow, mostly down to fabric, paper work and Misc.

progress, part tow, mostly down to fabric, paper work and Misc.

Screen for dark sweat shirts, waiting for room to print

Screen for dark sweat shirts, waiting for room to print

Today’s post, I must confess, has more to do with tomorrow’s actions than today’s. My press is here, I’ve assembled it and it awaits a spot to be placed upon.

Today was busy.

There was a GREAT meeting wtih members from the Redwood and Marin Branches of the California Writers Club. Thank you Linda, Kate, and Cindy (and Marty and Merlin too) for driving all the way to our remote and windy area to speak to our start up group. It was very informative and exciting. 

Then there was Gran time. I worked on her hearing aids and she is using them again for the time being. We hung out for a while. After which I checked in with my kids, did a little grocery shopping and finally came back home. 

When I got home the sub caller contacted me to see if I wanted to work tomorrow.  I decided to go with it. The upside is it will be a paid work day. The down side is there is so much else to do: work on sweat shirts, put together the choir fundraiser, clean up stuff and make keep/donate/toss decisions for the blog …

In any event, I am choosing work.  I am posting my mission for today, to be completed (hopefully) tomorrow after work. My table is full of clean clothes that need to be folded, sorted and whose fate needs to be decided. Once the table is cleared off, I can move the press to the table, plug in the flash dryer, and get to work.

Here’s hoping this will be extra motivation after a long day. I will check back in tomorrow to see how much I’ve accomplished by then.

Cheers!

-Pauline

Screen printing press needing only space near a plug to be ready to go.

Screen printing press needing only space near a plug to be ready to go.

Table with clothes and assorted what-have-you waiting to be dealt with.

Table with clothes and assorted what-have-you waiting to be dealt with.

 

Mmmm, moldy cheese.

Mmmm, moldy cheese. Not! This was given with the best of intentions. I don't know if Gran can even see the mold any more. If she could she would tell me to cut it off. I am tired of cutting off the mold, espescially from new cheese, both actually and metaphorically!

Wow! This is a touchy subject, or it wouldn’t take me so long to finish writing and posting it. I started writing this Monday, came back Tuesday, Wed, Thursday and Friday. Still no post. I am going to finish it. It may be a bit rambly, convoluted and off topic, but I am going to attempt to finish this today. post it and get back on track. I feel disloyal, but I suppose that is part of the process at times.

The kids and I spent the night at Gran’s Monday night, or rather we tried. We’ve been trying to work it out to stay there at night since it became an issue a few weeks ago.  Her legs have been giving her trouble for a couple of months now in that every once in a while they won’t do what she tells them to, as it were. Trying to sort out how to make it work so that sleeping there is reasonable for everyone has been next to impossible. I had a plan I thought would work, in terms of where the kids and I would sleep according to noise levels

My back has been out to a larger and lesser extent for about a week now. I have good and bad days, and can’t always act as if I’m fine or be able to do everything Gran wants me to do for her. She asked me to do something (I don’t remember what) on Saturday and I told her I couldn’t as my back was out. She called up that evening and left a message telling the kids and I to come spend the night so she could look out for me.  We didn’t get the message until later, as we had been at the store when she called and when we got home I went up to bed. I saw her the Sunday morning and told her we’d spend the night that night. 

My daughter, Rowan, went over fairly early in the day and made some soup and was going to make gluten free bread, as well. Gran kept offering Rowan extra things to put in the soup. She, and I, both explained that Ro was following a recipe. Finally Gran let her finish sans rutabagas and whatever else might be lurking in the fridge.

My Son, Forrest,  and I returned later in the evening, as I was working on a graphic and made him something to eat, as he does not eat bacon. Once at Gran’s we all got ready for bed, made sure everyone had what they needed for the morning and hit the hay.

Forrest could not sleep in a bed not his own, and came in with some frequency to tell me he couldn’t sleep. I finally sent him home at 3 am and he went to bed there. It’s only a few blocks away, and he is no longer a minor.

In the morning,  I came out of the shower and over heard Gran heckling Rowan about not eating strawberries with her cereal. She told me later that she thought Rowan liked Strawberries, and that she wouldn’t bring them home anymore if no one was going to eat them. She offered to hull them for me for breakfast. I told her that Ro does like strawberries, but not necessarily with her cereal, and that she could hull the berries, but that I couldn’t eat them just then as I had to get Rowan off to school, and check on Forrest and get him to school as well. Rowan told me when we left that the strawberries were weird and moldy.

After school got out Gran called while Rowan was at her house doing home work and asked about dinner. I said I would bring some sausages over. She wanted to make rice and a vegetable, and I said sure. Gran called later to say Ro was sleeping and was wondering if she should wake her up. I told her to let her sleep, as she had been seeming worn down. I continued working on graphics. Forrest asked if I would take him to Gran’s for a shower and I told him he could take one after dinner. Just then Rowan called and said she was feeling really crummy and could I come and get her please.

Forrest and I headed over. I let Gran know about the change of plans, that we would not be spending the night or eating there, because Rowan was feeling sick, but That Forrest was going to stay and eat and take a shower. I asked her where I should put the sausage. She said, very gruffly that she didn’t want them and acted quite disgusted.  She said I could give the dinner to the dog. I asked why she was mad and she replied, “I am mad!”.  I wanted to know why and she said it wasn’t healthy to eat so late, and said some other things about how late we eat dinner, and our schedule.  She had water on for the rice, just about to boil. She had made a stew using the leftover bacon soup, lamb, rutabaga, and some other things.

I apologized, said I didn’t realize she was going to do all that, but that I had to get rowan home and to bed. I knew For wouldn’t eat dinner there, but I asked him to pretend and placate her and that I would feed him at home. I felt weird about it, but I often feel weird about food, among other things with Gran. She has fed us weird things all my life, and I always had to eat them. When I say weird, I don’t just mean tongue that she cooked and forgot to peel before serving, but rancid butter that everyone insisted was fine, strange things pulled from the refrigerator and made into soup (this was very hit and miss, as it good edge up to great or be somewhat horrifying, one never knew until it hit your mouth). Now I try to avoid being in that situation.

Food, like everything else in my family, has historically been hoarded, and not necessarily rotated so that it is being used and replaced. Anything was up for grabs, not just by Gran, but her parents and my dad, as well. We a re well trained hoarders. I think it comes from both genetics, anxiety and training. I really do come by these behaviors naturally.

I realized that I don’t much like to eat, in part because I had very little control over what when, how much, etc. I ate the whole time I was growing up. I love to cook, I don’t much like to eat. I forgot to eat for five days once, in college. I am beginning to understand this. I think it is about control, as is, in part my hoarding behavior.

Enough, enough for now. Perhaps I will return to this another time.

books and clothes 002

As a hoarder of knowledge, and not just of things, I find that books are especially hard to get rid of. I am making my first foray into my bookshelves since beginning the blog. It is best to do this with some rapidity. Like pulling a bandage, it is best to scan the shelf quickly, document and bag, before I decide  I really do need to read Aku-Aku by Thor Hyerdahl, or the Ajanta Caves, Early Buddhist paintings from India. Or perhaps to re-read Inherit the Wind for the umpteenth time.  I feel I am terribly uninformed and know painfully little about the world around me. There is so much to know that I could never possibly learn and retain even a fraction of it. Still, the desire to learn is always there. The truth is that I can give a way loads of books and still have plenty to read. I donated eleven large boxes of books to the local rummage sale to support the new autism preschool program and I didn’t even make a dent.

I have put together one box of books and magazines to get rid of. This is only a tiny dent in my far too large library,  but at least it is a start!

I’ve also put together a bag of clothes, mostly. Including some very nice things, that I just won’t wear no matter how nice they are.

I am not sure why I am so inclined to hang on to stuff. I’m working on figuring it out.

I’m not sure if I’ve written this yet, but I realized, recently that I’ve never fully moved into anywhere I’ve ever lived as an adult. I’ve always had some boxes still packed, or pictures not up. I’ve gotten progressively worse over the years about settling into each new place. I’d thought this was about time, and my busy life style. I think, now, it may have more to do with denial, and not wanting to accept my life. I think it is time to get unpacked, settle, and assess. Only then can I change.

I’ve go two more bags to go to Paul Bunyan or Granny’s Attic. We’ll see what’s open tomorrow.

Good night.

-Pauline

Awaiting donation.

Awaiting donation.

Overalls my mom made, along with a Raggedy Andy, for me when I was 4 or 5.

Overalls my mom made, along with a Raggedy Andy, for me when I was four or five years old and no longer lived with her.

The last post, in retrospect, and just below the surface at the time, was clearly a fantastic example of avoidance behavior. I did vent a little, but I got rid of nothing physical, and what I did get rid of was done in a baby with the bath water fashion. Very difficult not to emotionally flog myself at the moment.

I panicked a little last night, as I realized my receipt for virus protection purposes was in the emails I had deleted, along with some other emails regarding a grant I am working on to try and garner some extra funding to send our middle school and high school choirs to San Francisco to see Wicked.

When I got home from choir last night, I found the deleted messages and began undeleting them.  I found the choir ones, but didn’t make it to the proof of purchase for virus protection before I went to bed. I woke up, logged on to the computer and found that the emails in the trash have been permanently deleted. There was a moment not quite of panic, but more of beating myself up. Then I stopped, as the truth is that venue is no longer available. Now I need to look and see if I have a paper copy. I had forwarded important emails, like the grant info and the receipt to another email account with less traffic, but they were servicing and updating and all of the email in my in-box, prior to yesterday was gone. Another moment of slight panic. The bottom line is this, I will figure it out, or I won’t. Either way, this is not life and death, it just sort of feels like it might be sometimes.

On another note, or actually the original note, I have been avoiding. I have been feeling overwhelmed with the process, with writing, with life in general. As a result I have been deflecting into busy work, and general avoidance behavior. 

Years ago, I fantasized about my house burning down because that, I thought, would wipe out the problem. True, it would take everything with it, but the upside is, it would take EVERYTHING with it! Most things can be replaced. What I found out when I wiped out my email in box,is that it is better to be selective and plodding, in overcoming this habit. A systematic way of dealing with all my stuff,and the accompanying tendencies is key for me to deal with this. I did not get this way over night, and I don’t think I can change, effectively and permanently over night.

The picture at the top of my post is of a pair of overalls my mom made when I was four or five to go with a Raggedy Andy doll she made for me with black curly hair and green eyes. I can’t find the doll, but I am not ready to get rid of the overalls yet. I may be willing to part with them later in the process, or at least find a way to categorize them, so I can find them when I want them.

I hope for Friday, to get back to actual boxes, and actual actions rather than theoretical ones. I have not been feeling brave, nor have I wanted to post photos of what my house looks like. I will work on pulling myself together for Friday and try to come up with a specific plan of action.

‘Till then,

Cheers!

-Pauline

Keep paddling!

Keep paddling!

The Proclaimers were FANTASTIC!!! I did a lot of jumping up and down when clapping wasn’t sufficient. It’s been years since I’ve felt that enthusiastic! I had a great time hanging out with my younger sister. I got to see my brother, my sister and her boyfreind. Very nice. I must put time in my life, for my life, and not simply the tasks I feel I must accomplish. I whole change of mindset is in order. I hope the ongoing effort of getting this blog out will help with that.

I did not post yesterday, obviously. I had more to do than I could accomplish, or that I could accomplish while procrastinating as much as I did. The more I get involved in the procfess of theis blog, the more I contemplate how far reaching these hoarding tentacles are wrapped around (possibly) all aspects of my life.

I had well over 4000 messages in my inbox. I just deleted all of them four two reaons. the first is that I have become overwhelmed with my email inbox and can’t find anything. The second is that I was avoiding writing and other activities. The deletions cause minor panic, as there was info in there I needed. The bottom line is that I couldn’t find it any way. I will have to track it down again if it proves to be really important. My goal for that is to either delete new emails or sort them into folders as I get and read them. There are some I am resistant to reading right away, not sure if it is because I don’t want to have to deal with the content, or the sender, or …? IN any event, I am going to make an effort to be present, as it were, with my email and work on bleeding that over to the rest of my life

I didn’t write yesterday because I had scheduled myself beyond my comfort zone, and instead of taking one bite at a time and getting everything done, I screwed around until I could only do the things that would be immediately noticable if I didn’t do them. No one (but me) is holding my feet to the fire over the blog. This is a goal I’ve set formyself. In other words I put myself last. I have a terrible time setting boundaries and an even worse time saying “no”.

I did get the donations from last week to the thrift store (Paul Bunyan again). So at least I’ve got that going for me!

receipt for last Wednesday and Friday's donations

  

I think the same behaviors/biochemistry/etc.  that lead me to hoard stuff compell me to hoard work/tasks/jobs, etc. Historically, I have been an pretty extreme workaholic.  A lot of what I passed of as work could have been done much more quickly and efficiently, if I had been more organized. It is very hard to allow myself down time, so I tend to sneak it in whan I (fell like I am) working on something, so I don’t feel as guilty about it. Unfortunately it takes longer to get things done that way, andI don’t really enjoy the time.

Sometimes multi-tasking wiorks in my favor, and sometimes, it doesn’t. It is very hard to be still, idle. This is, in my opinion, for a couple of reasons, at least. If I am still, my mind is free to wander. When that happens, I often become sad for no apparent reason. Even if I don’t feel sad, I feel itchy, not physically so much as metaphysically. It just occured to me, that being surrounded by stuff (regardless of the content/quality) is akin to not being still. -Visually, chaos, and therefore movement is still present. It gives me something to occupy my mind, to feel guilty about, to worry about, to prove that I am “less then”.

The physical chaos in my house precludes me from opening up my life (or at some level I believe it does, or use it to prevent me from…). I have myself convinced on a mostly subconscious level that I am not worthy, capable, or loveable, the way I live is proof.  Well that’s a bunch of bunk! I have been raising kids on my own for nearly 20 years. We are not homeless and they are pretty awesom! My son, with Asperger’s has beendoing pretty well, until this week when he seems to be on over-load and is mailnly sleeping a s a result. I completed college on my own, with one child, as a single parent. I completed a teaching credential program and an internship on my own with two children, and have  been working and getting ahead for all this time. My biggest block to success is me.

I know, I sound like a self help book, or a t least a self actualization book. But this all seems pretty accurate. There are more peices to the puzzle. There is the attention span issue, the out of sight, out of mind issue, time, etc … These can all be dealt with in some way, I am sure. I just need to keep forging ahead.

I am counting getting rid of all the email in my inbox as the get rid of bit for today, in addition to getting all this off of my chest.

I got some great shots driving up hwy 1 on the way home and will include some. Thanmk you all for humoring me. Back to regualr posting tomorrow!

-Cheers,

-Pauline

Shoreline on hwy 1

Shoreline on hwy 1

 

The sun begins to set along Hwy 1

The sun begins to set along Hwy 1

 

Setting sun and rock formations on hwy 1

Setting sun and rock formations on hwy 1

setting sun with dog in Jenner. Hwy 1

setting sun with dog in Jenner. Hwy 1

 

Dusk begins, Jenner CA. Hwy 1

Dusk begins, Jenner CA. Hwy 1

Good Morning.

It was too dark to take a morning shot, all I could get was the streetlight behind my house trying to pass itself off as the moon. I couldn’t find a sunset I’d taken locally, So here is a pretty good sunset shot I got coming back from Westport with my dad and kids one evening.

beach grass sunset1

It’s 5:28 am I got up around 4 am. I am subbing today then driving to San Francisco to the see the Proclaimers with my sister at the Bottom of the Hill. Way cool.

I need to take Gran to the food bank to volunteer by about 8, because I am supposed to be at the school just about 8. I also need to get the kids  up and off to school, pack a lunch, pack a couple of things for the trip, and generall, get ready. I wanted to make sure to post today. I do not want to miss any more scheduled days, it throws me off and I lose my momentum.

So far today I have decided to get rid of a pair of orange cords (gasp!) 3 pairs of jeans a very nice pair of linen pants, a pink sweater and an orange sweater. Mostly these were clothes that were upstairs in my room. I’ve gain weight since moving here, and as much as I want them to fit, they don’t. My weight fluctuates, and usually I hold on to all the sizes of clothes. I decided to keep mostly clothes I can wear now, and a couple of things that will fit if I lose some weight again. Thinking of it karmically, I’m giving these clothes to the thrift store. I am choosing to have faith that when I lose weight again, at least one of the thrift stores in town will have something decent that I like and that fits. less stuff in my house, right??

beginnigs of Fridays donation

I am currently wearing a dress around the house that fits, but I don’t know if I like it, or if I just like it because it is purple and velvety. We don’t have a mirror, other than the one in the bath room, so I can’t see it. Honestly, that doesn’t really matter because, mostly, I have no idea what I look like even when I’m looking at myself in the mirror, at least not objectively.

I am going to donate it.  I’ve added a pair of sweat pants and 3 bras that are nice and no longer fit. I also decided to put donations in grocery bags instead of garbage bags. The thrift store counts them the same, and I think it will be nice to get to count more bags I’m getting rid of. As a bonus, they are much easier to carry!  I’d like to do more, but I need to hop in the shower and get the day going.

Weasle inspects the donations for Wednesday and Friday.

Weasel inspects the donations for Wednesday and Friday.

Weasel says, "Out the door!"

Weasel says, "Out the door!"

The school I am subbing at today is taking a field trip to see the Symphony of the Redwoods, which is very cool. I wanted to go, but thought I wouldn’t be able to, and now I get to go with a bunch of fourth graders. Very exciting, truly!

After work I will get in the car and drive down to SF. It’s not 5oo miles, I’m not walking, and I hope not to fall down. This is gonna’ be great.

I realize it is important to remember to have fun sometimes!

-Cheers!

-Pauline

Not pleased, my can't express what I cannot

Not pleased, my cat expresses what I cannot

I am having a terrible time writing/thinking today. My apologies, in advance. And generally if my writing ever feels in adequate, or off. I am quite dyslexic and on bad days I miss more. I have decided to do as little editing as possible in this blog, as editing, and the editing voice has a tendency to stop me in my tracks. I am writing fairly stream of consciousness. I have been and will continue to do so.

Having got that out of the way:

 

I am posting at the end what it took me to begin writing. I was going to scratch it entirely, but I think it is an important example of expressed brain function. I think that function is relevant to my hoarding behavior.

 

Today was a day of many revelations. I felt like my grandmother had been reincarnated while still alive, as me. It feels like I mean this literally, or it did at the time of the revelation I believe that at least figuratively, it is very accurate.

Okay, upon re-reading, I realize that need some explanation, or I just sound silly.

I realize I hoard in theory and in thought as well as physically. I hoard ideas, desires, aspirations, etc. I am clear that this may not be the same as the hoarding of actual stuff, but I am also clear that my, personal behaviors are about much more than stuff.

Yes. I do have emotional attachments to some stuff, but not, for example, receipts I haven’t thrown away, recycling, threadbare crummy towels, empty cardboard boxes and the like. Those things are more about figuring out what to do with things, acting in a reasonable time frame, making decisions.

I also accumulate things because if I can’t see them I forget I have them. I hoard food in response to three or four things. First is that I was taught the behavior by my father, his mother and her parents. It was reinforced in my child hood in moments of scarcity, and when my son was very young and we were (financially) poor and we lived, largely off of what I had saved. There is an over-riding lack of faith in plenty, or I the ability to provide which is made worse by the fact that I can rarely remember what we have in the cupboards. If it is behind closed doors, it may as well not exist, which contributes to the stuff every where part of my problem.

I hoard things because I inherited them and feel they must have some value to have been saved this long… then who am I to do something else with them.

I realized in addition to all of that, today, those same abilities contribute to my difficulty making decisions. Unless one choice has some sort of empirical data to back up it’s superiority, it is neigh on impossible to make a choice, often. There is a great, deeply rooted fear of being wrong, of making wrong decision, about career, mates, etc. There is also ambivalence. Unless I really care about what to eat, and I rarely do, What do I care what it it is? Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. I don’t love eating so much as it is a pain. I ramble, I digress, I think attention span is part of the problem as well, not always, but often.

I feel at once fairly intelligent (there is empirical evidence to suggest this) and jaw-droppingly stupid this is terribly confusing.

I think I am doing nothing to clarify any of this. I will post it any way.

Tonight, I am getting rid of a pair of orange shoes. They are not the most comfortable, but they are orange, and I do love orange. Orange, however is not the best reason best reason to keep a pair of shoes. I am also going to get rid of a couple of back packs. They are clean and washed, but my kids have new back packs, so I am going to get rid of the back up plan. -In truth, not entirely, as I am keeping one with a leather bottom mostly for my own use, but with an eye to back up, I admit. Every year they wear out their back packs they are so expensive, it makes me panic a little, so it is a think I tend to hang on to.

Orange shoes and clean back packs awaiting donation

Orange shoes and clean back packs awaiting donation

That feels insufficient, so let’s see, what else…

A bed-skirty thing ( I don’t quite know what it’s called or how to use it. It seems top get in the way of the sheets, although as I write it occurs to me it should go over the box spring, of which I haven’t one at the moment. I’m getting rid of it, even though I’ve figured it out! Hurrah! A nice lime green t-shirt. Both items were washed today and smell, and are, nice and clean for the next person.

Green shirt and bed skirty thing

Green shirt and bed skirty thing

 

More… please stand by …

A poster of the Fossil Record ..

Fossil record poster standing by

Fossil record poster standing by

Wait, I like it a lot. Now it is on our front door, using double sided tape I’ve been saving (which I used earlier in the week to help make a graphic) and tacks saved from fly paper, I know odd. But I have used them!

Fossil poster up on door. My daughter started reading it just after I put it up. How cool is that?

Fossil poster up on door. My daughter started reading it just after I put it up. How cool is that?

 I’ve replaced the fossil record poster with a sandwich maker I got at Paul Bunyan for my son, as he had one and it broke in our move here. Turns out the boy has some sense. He says they don’t work very well (generally, and that it is easier to make a sandwich.

Sandwich maker as sacrificial lamb for poster : )

Sandwich maker as sacrificial lamb for poster : )

Okay, that’s it for tonight, long post. Lots to think about.

At least they have an excuse! They also store where they (and customer, I assume) can see. Worth a try!

At least they have an excuse! They also store where they (and customer, I assume) can see. Worth a try!

 

Whew!

Weasel says it best, again

Weasel says it best, again

Blooper reel (as it were) at the end!

Off to read submissions from fellows in my writing class. Two down x to go and comment on. Wish me luck!

I am generally and specifically overwhelmed today. I have half a mind to post pictures of every crappy little corner of my house, my storage shed and my Grandmother garage. While I’m at it I have half a mind to do the same with her house/possessions, etc.!

I think, And I vaguely remember thinking before, that my problem is not about stuff, or rather it is, but the bigger problem is with categorization, with life in general. I think my wiring is wrong. I want to be gentle today. I strive to be a gentle person, but it is so hard to be gentle when I feel sad, or frustrated, or overwhelmed. It is easier to be angry and chastising.

This whole day has been like this entry to a larger and lesser degree. I am especially dyslexic, having great trouble expressing myself, when I try to express what I am thinking audibly, I begin to stutter like crazy, while writing, I am spelling poorly, stutter typing and rambling like crazy.

There is some kind of psychological phenomenon going on here. Something deep seated trying to emerge.

I have started this blog, and re-started  it least four or five times this afternoon. I have had a day that was simultaneously frustrating and rewarding. I know, odd, right?

Holy Toledo, enough already! I am doing everything but writing. I can hardly stay in my seat. Must be uncomfortable stuff, right?

Hold that thought, seriously! I am going to see what I need to make some gluten free brownies. I must resist writing, a little longer, but I’ll be back when I’m done resisting. I am too far in the future and not in the present. Let me try to adjust my attitude!

I did, in fact not make brownies, as that is simply further avoidance behavior and so, I was avoiding doing it, and decided to come back to the initial source of avoidance.

I must go back to the beginning, of the thought, of today’s blog. There is nothing terribly earthshaking, or at least not externally. Just realizations today. and a heavy cloud of big voice in my head reminding me I need to get rid of stuff still tonight. To the voice a respond perhaps I will get rid of circuitous thoughts and feeling s of overwhelming  … what doom, genetic predisposition, theory … not sure. As for the rest I will dive in.

If you feel like you’re trying to go swimming, or that I am, and I keep dipping my toes in and backing up, I think that is what I am doing. It appears to be the only way to go forward tonight.

I feel like I am exposing big dark secrets, or bringing a monster, uninvited to a dance. -I’ve left the oven on as part of my previous avoidance behavior, I can smell it getting hot. I will deal with it in a bit. In the mean time, it can help warm the house.

Okay, again. Today was a day where I realized some things. The crazy thing is, as I realize them, they seem to evaporate. I feel more like I am exposing myself typing this than I have with any other posts or photographs, so far, and I’m not sure why. I think I am far enough into this project that some part of my psyche is beginning to fight me in earnest while another part is simultaneously cheering me on!

I took my grandmother to the chiropractor today.  Her appointment was at 10:30 with a FANTASTIC local chiropractor. If you are local, he is right next to the Glass Beach Inn in Fort Bragg. I recommend him HIGHLY!

In any event, the appointment was at 10:30. I was running late, initially. Or I felt I was. I got to Gran’s, out Dusty the house chickens out with the other chickens, then came inside, gave her her eye drops did her hair, helped her to the bathroom.

Wait, back up, before any of this (sorry for being disjointed, today you get mostly stream of consciousness, or I won’t post at all. Gran called just before 8 am And asked me, somewhat pointedly if I had over-slept. … I thought at first I was reading the clocks wrong, then I realized it might be her. I reminded her that we had planned on my being there around 9 am and that it was not quite 8 now. I still need to get my son off to school.

What really matters here is the shift in time at the beginning of the day, I guess.

. I had things scheduled for myself I wanted to get done, specifically, Two friends and I are trying to start a printing press for broadsides, small book, collections of poetry, journals, etc. I had planned to go over there this afternoon

 

 

 

Hoarding for honey, heading home.
Hoarding for honey, heading home.
Bees hoard too, the difference is that the bi-product of their activity is sweet, whereas for humans it tends to be sour,  rancid in fact!
Paul bunyan Receipt

Paul bunyan Receipt

Here is my receipt for the clothes I decided to part with last night, as well as a bag from last week and three that I’ve been driving around with in the back of my car, for a total of seven total bags donated.

Paul Bunyan is a great charity. They work with the community on many levels. They provide jobs and training for people with special needs and treat them not just humanely, but well as we all should be treated. I am grateful that my project is giving me the opportunity to be part of something larger than myself, on many levels!

I want to take a moment to thank every single person who has visited my site and to especially, most humbly, thank everyone who has left a comment. I have had days when this whole thing seems like some terrible experiment I designed for myself in a nightmare and woke up to find had come true. This project is at once humiliating, freeing, enlightening, and connecting. Every time I read a kind comment, or hear from another human being with similar struggles, I feel this is a good path.

I have come to the conclusion that do not value myself enough, nor have I historically, to do this for myself alone. It is so helpful to know there is a greater good. I am working on the whole self worth issue. I wonder how that is connected to my hoarding behaviors. This is such a rich topic, hoarding, I mean. There is so much to explore and write about. I hope I can find answers and not just a cleaner house as I do this. Any thoughts on the matter from fellows are welcome!

You all keep me going, so thank you all.

-Pauline

Hoarding for honey

Hoarding for honey.

Honey bee gathering honey to hoard for to make honey!

Detail of honey bee gathering honey to hoard, for to make honey!

4 bags ready to be loaded up and donated

4 bags ready to be loaded up and donated

Partial picture of clothes in my room I am working on dealing with tonight
Partial picture of clothes in my room I am working on dealing with tonight
the rest of the clothes tonight, with appologies for sub-standard photography tonight!
the rest of the clothes tonight, with apologies for sub-standard photography tonight!

Tonight I am exhausted. I’ve been running around with Gran, cut my son’s hair, all the regular sorts of things and have been writing since five or so.

This posting is after midnight, and so technically, I am late. I choose to post late rather than not at all, as I strive to miss no more scheduled blog entries

The long and the short of it is that I have tackled, at least initially the pile of clothes in my room. I have no dresser, at the moment, and the clothes I’ve kept need to be re-washed and hung up in ward robe boxes I got off the local list serve to fill in as a closet and keep the cats off of them.

I am posting the before picture and the bags for donation. I will take tonight’s and the three or so already in my car down tomorrow for donation. I will post the receipt, just because it makes me happy to do so.

I feel dis-satisfied with the post, the blog, and my level of participation in the process.

I do applaud myself, or at least acknowledge that I a, posting, even though I can hardly see straight, I am so tired. Sometimes this seems Herculean and as if it will take forever.

One step at a time, even when they are baby steps!

It keeps occuring to me that I do not have to wait until the day of the post to do the work, photograph the process and post, I can do all but post ahead of time.  I mustn’t take myself so literally!

More Friday!

Beauty Among the Weeds

Beauty Among the Weeds

Last night I dreamt a friend came to my home.

They exclaimed, “What a beautiful house you have, Pauline!”

At first, I thought to myself, “What are they thinking?”, but when I looked again, I saw what they were seeing.  I realized, when I woke, that my house is a metaphor for myself and my life. I see my self through a different filter than others do. My house is beautiful, or it can be, if I let it. Surely, this is true for myself as well.

I am nearly always excited to move. The prospect of change, of a clean slate figuratively and literally has, historically, enticed me.  I have noticed the irony each time I move of how much I like the house when it is mostly empty, and how much cleaner I leave thing for others than I do myself. The clean slate of a new house, the minimalism of it wraps me in light, and lifts me. Why then have I not allowed my self more of that in my own life, I wonder.

I have lived in many places in my life, and have really liked nearly all of them when I first moved in. I am a romantic at heart and tend to see potential more than what is right in front of me. This is a double edged sword, however, as that filter works inversely on my perception of myself, and my own work and affairs. The longer I lived in each place, the less I liked it. It stands to reason that, the core of the issue is that I don’t much like myself. I believe I subconsciously work to make sure my living space reflects my opinion of my self, there by creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am not lovable, or worthy, not sufficient or good enough. Meanwhile, outside of my home, I strive to be seen as competent and worthy. I am known for overachieving, professionally and for a tendency toward perfectionism. The correlation between my outside self and my inside self with my home life and my professional life is worth noting and paying attention to.

 

There is something to be said of the fear of nothing that Rick Aster speaks of in his book, but I think for me, it is more about having little of no ability to set boundaries and feelings of worthiness, more specifically of a lack of worthiness.

Also, there is  the issue of heredity. I truly do come from a line of hoarders. Makes me wonder about biochemistry and heredity. Also abuse and a hoarding response. So many variables. I suppose what really matters, more than the cause of anything else, is behavioral change. There will be more on this in the days and weeks to come.

I hope that in changing my own behavior, and looking for its root causes, I can help myself,and my children, as well as others who are looking to change.

Perception is so important. I have never thought of myself as beautiful, or overly talented. I have had a hard time seeing myself outside of my connection to my house, or what ever space I was occupying at the time.  I want to learn to cut myself some slack, to remember that I am not horrible, simply by nature of being imperfect. Imperfection is a side effect of being human.

I will strive to look for the beauty among the weeds in my own life, and not just in the world around me!

hidden blossoms
hidden blossoms
"Weeds" on the road side

"Weeds" on the road side

Wild radish blooming on the street corner

Wild radish blooming on the street corner

Spider hiding on a wild radish blossom, hidden in the weeds

Spider hiding on a wild radish blossom, hidden in the weeds

Beauty is both all around and with in. The key is in remembering to look and being open to seeing it!

Not perfect. The floor is clear, but the book shelf still needs lots of help. I'll get there!

Not perfect. The floor is clear, but the book shelf still needs lots of help. I'll get there!

Finally, my dog can lay on the rug and take a nap!

Finally, my dog can lay on the rug and take a nap!

Lots of room for my dog to walk about!

Lots of room for my dog to walk about!

Okay.

The floor is finally exposed. My dog can lay on the rug. WOW! I must confess there is more to do, more than just the book shelf. However, I can finally set up an area to print. Phew!

I’ve been beating myself up about not meeting my own challenge on time, which in turn has helped me to remember that it’s okay to be imperfect, in fact it’s normal, expected even.

As I shovel myself out I have an eye to the fact that the kids and I will be moving in with my grandmother who has her own shoveling out issues. I wonder how I will make this all work. All I know for sure is that small steps are important without expectations that are improbable to achieve.

I am reading Rick Aster’s Fear of Nothing. I’m not very far in, but it has reminded that at my core there is a fear of nothing, in a literal and figurative sense. I will keep reading, and keep you posted on my progress in the book and on my progress in my house. Sorry for the short post. I’ll get back into the swing of things again soon, I hope!

Stretching Out

Stretching Out

Little Grandma, as I knew her when I was a kid.

Little Grandma, as I knew her when I was a kid.

Gran as a young woman.
Gran as a young woman.

I have come to a conclusion, of sorts. My children and I are going to live, largely with my grandma. A sort of trial run. I will attempt to soundproof their bedrooms, and we will try to make the best of this for everyone.

She seemed very trepidatious at the prospect of having a stranger stay in her house. This whole thing has made her take a look at her own level of independence and conclude that she really is no longer, safely, able to live on her own. Bringing a stranger in adds insult to injury, so the kids and I will make the best of this we can, as, I am sure, will my Gran. This won’t be a cake walk I’m sure, but is better than any of the other alternatives.

The bottom line as far as I’m concerned is that she has always been there for me when I needed her, and I need to be here for her.

I intend to return to the premise of my blog on Wednesday. I should have the area done and the press set up by then. Fingers crossed!

No time like the present! I am moving in with another hoarder (Gran) and can’t begin to get my own stuff under control too soon!

 

Gran and Dusty Peepers as a chick

Gran and her pet chicken Dusty Peepers, as a chick

Tonight, I am writing a little off topic, please bear with me, as I work out some thoughts out here in the public arena.

My Grandmother has always been there for me, from the time I was born to the present. In June of 2008, she fell. She wasn’t  hurt, but she wasn’t able to get up for a long while and was shook up as a result. At the time she was 92.

My dad and step mom have been living near her for quite some time. More accurately, she has been living near them for quite sometime. She moved here in 1997  from the San Francisco Bay Area, where she spent most of her life. She was in her 80’s at the time and incredibly self-sufficient. Since then, time has passed, as it is inclined to do. My step mom teaches full time and my dad is fairly disabled himself. When she fell last year, it became clear to that my step mom needed help. It was no longer enough to check in on her in the evenings and on weekends. My step mom has been wonderful and amazing, but Gran’s care is no longer a one, or even two person job.

I was teaching in a full-time tenured job when she fell in June. Contracts renew every year in July where I was, so I had a very short time to make the decision to move or to stay with my children where we were. We had finally bought our first house (With help from my gran) on five acres, and I had a solid teaching job. Things were pretty good for us, but, in truth, there was an air of discontent. My son has Asperger’s syndrome and hadn’t  completed a full year of school since 6th grade (that’s five years). While it is true I had a very good teaching job I loved in a school community I respected and enjoyed, it was also true that I was a single parent raising two children on my own and working more than full time. We lived in a very rural community and were any where from half an hour to an hour away from our closest friends and family. I am not entirely sure how things would have panned out if we had stayed, but when Gran fell, it seemed to me that the only thing was to take a leave of absence from my job, or barring that, resign, and come here and help out. It was a very tough decision, as we had moved to Nevada, in large part, to be closer to family, there dad, my sister and her family. The move here would take us farther away from our friends and family there.

I ended up resigning my position and packing up my two children, our dog, cat and turtle (the chickens we gave to a good friend) and moving here, to Fort Bragg, California to help. Initially, we lived with my grandmother, in her house. We were not able to settle in terribly well, as she, like I, has a lot of stuff and has been living alone most of her adult life with the exception of her own, somewhat short, marriage and the years she spent taking care of her parents. It was hard to combine our households, not just because of stuff, but because of personalities, and individual needs. My son needs a lot of down time and quiet to function (I think this is pretty true of me as well). My grandmother is quite deaf and listens to the television loudly enough to be heard outside, as a result. By the end of the first week of school, my son had shut down completely. I think it was a combination of the (abrupt change, the noise, the lack of familiar surroundings, and the lack of control over his own environment among other things. By the time I think my grandmother was feeling a bit cramped, as we all were.

Flash forward a year later. My son completed his first full year of school in six years, with good grades. He, along with his sister and I have just finished acting in a local little theater production, which seems to have done wonders for him in terms of self confidence and social skills. My daughter has adapted well and has made a number of good friends and is fitting in nicely. I have been able to spend not just more time, but more quality time with my children than I have been able to since they were infants, and my grandmother seems to be doing well, over all.

The conundrum, now is that my grandmother has been having problems with her legs of late, a sort of aphasia, in her legs, as it were. She speaks of telling her legs to move and them not responding. Today, she was stuck standing in her kitchen for nearly an hour, as she couldn’t navigate her walker and coordinate her legs into a position wherein she could be seated. There she stood, stuck by her refridgeratoe, standing on ninety-three-year-old legs for nearly an hour. Finally, she pushed her life line and the good folks on the other end called my parents house. My Step-mom called me, and between the three of us we got her back to her chair in the living room. This is not the first time this has happened to her. I noticed it a month or two ago, but this is the first time it has left her stranded for such a long time, and in such a dangerous way.

My conundrum is, what do do . I know someone that might be able to come and stay with her nights, in exchange for room rent, but I am not sure either of them would be terribly happy with the arrangement. Gran expressed some trepidation after the idea was proposed. She has been independent for so long and she feels like this is admitting she can no longer live alone. Also, she has lived alone for so long, she is not sure she can live happily with someone else in the house, especially as stranger.

I am not sure what the right thing to do is, but the kids and I are playing around with the idea of living in two houses at once, as it were. At least for a little while.

I am just going to sit with this a while and see what feels right. I think I made the right decision last year. I hope I will be able to again.

Four Generations of Family

Four Generations of Family

Making progress, slow and painful ...

Making progress, slow and painful …

Three Blogs Three Boxes ongoing challenge sec 2

Three Blogs three boxes, ongoing challenge sec 3

Progress has been slow, and unwilling. I notice that as I get down to smaller and smaller bits it becomes more and more difficult to be decisive. That I am fairly exhausted doesn’t help either.

I am not sure what to do with old bills, junk mail, etc. that may have important personal information.

I have gathering things into categories, to some extent : tools, art supplies, power cords, bills and other paper work to be dealt with, recycling …

There were some very nice comments from readers that helped me at least get something done today. Thank you all!

I have some thoughts about why I hoard having to do with feelings of safety, psychic, physical and other wise. I am going to let them roll around in my head for a bit and will get back to you!

I leave you with some pictures from Labor Day weekend to contemplate.

 Remember: even small progress is better than none!

Lambs Ears, so soft!

Holly hock growing in Fort BRagg, reaching all the way to the roof!

Holly hock growing in Fort Bragg, reaching all the way to the roof!

Today has been overly full, both emotionally and in terms of scheduling. The family left at seven. We got up early to see them off. Later on my kids and I were in the Labor Day/Paul Bunyan Days Parade.

When we got home, I was just contemplating a short nap when I realized I had signed up for a class that began today at the local Junior College in Single signature bookmaking. I also got a call about a possible job. The day continued in this manner. I made dinner, stir fry and red rice, ate dinner with the kids, dyed the bottom layer of my daughter’s hair purple, got the kids off, did some work on the graphic I will be printing on sweatshirts for the middle school later in the week, and am now, finally posting.  I am clearing out one tiny area of the space with in my challenge and adding to the recycling pile and that is about it. That is all for tonight. I will be back in full (or nearly full) force on Wednesday!

Good night, and have a less cluttered tomorrow!- With appologies to Murrow!On ocean sunset near my home

I am using my aforementioned right to extend my challenge time frame. I think I have made pretty good progress so far. There have been a number of unexpected glitches. In any event, I am going to post photos of where I’m at, so far, and what I’m getting rid of.

Recycling from Wednesday and Friday.

Recycling from Wednesday and Friday.

My over-riding challenge (within the challenge I’ve given myself here) is that a sizable chunk of my family is showing up for the holiday (Wahoo!), and that Gran had an unexpected Dr’s visit this week, and I had some other unplanned events surface. I also had a fairly uncooperative body this week that continued to insist that I wasn’t, physically, up for the challenge. I have done my best to work around everything.

I can see the rug, in multiple areas and am down to relatively small piles  left to deal with. I hope that by next Wednesday, and certainly by Friday, early, I will have cleared and cleaned the area out and set it up for printing. Then I can move the printing equipment from where it is, and start another shift of stuff, which will hopefully lead to more cleaning out and getting rid of.

Section one as it appears on Friday, September 4th

Section one as it appears on Friday, September 4th

section two, ditto foor section 1

section two for comparative purposes

section three for comparative purposes

section three for comparative purposes

I am a little disappointed that I didn’t get more done, but at least there is progress. I am not going to undermine myself by concentrating on what I did not do. Instead, I will remember that I can see the rug! Wahoo!

Added two bags to Wednesday's donation for a total of three bags!

Added two bags to Wednesday's donation for a total of three bags!