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Category Archives: Grandmother

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!

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.

 

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.

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