Saturday, June 9, 2018

Enlightened life....

Such a long time since my last blog post.  

Why gone so long?  There are many reasons, but the biggest is that we have been working toward simplifying our life.  And does it ever feel great!  Since we have downsized, purged and simplified, we have been spending more time with our kids, our friends, ourselves, and doing more of the things we love.  


There are many articles, blog entries, YouTube videos, just to name a few, about the benefits of living simply and with intention.  Believe me I have read and watched ALOT of them.  It was an obsession.... and the whole Tiny House movement.... wow! 

How did we do it?  What have we gained and lost so far?  How did we become enlightened...    

When we were first married, my husband was working as a musician and landscaper and I cleaned houses and worked in retail.  We always lived with intention..... So, when we needed to get some health insurance for our little family, he became the stay at home dad by day and a working musician by night..... I found a better job.    

We have taken care of aging family members, raised our little family, worked, volunteered countless hours.....  with very few vacations, little downtime.  

We would not change a thing.... okay maybe bad food choices, exercising more and taking more vacations....  We have always tried to live our life with as few regrets as we could, but we do have some. 

We love our life.  We were able to raise our little family without daycare, teach our children by example to be loving and generous adults....  We have life-long friends.  However, we are not perfect.  Our life was not always easy, in fact there were times when it was downright unbearable, but we made it.  Our little family is very close, very supportive of each other, very loving to one another and our growing little family. 

During that time of our life, not only did we gather memories and friends, we also accumulated a lot of stuff.  In fact we had filled a 2500 square foot house with stuff.  As our children grew and moved into their own places, they took a lot of their things with them.  That really helped to lighten the load.

However, with my husband being a musician, he had quite the collection of gear and guitars.  We won't even discuss my collection of yarn, fabric, paint, canvases, paper, beads, wire, tools..... yes, let's not discuss that. 

It took us quite a bit of time to learn that we did not need all of the material items we had built up over the years.  With intention, we would clean out one closet, one cabinet, one drawer at a time.  We would put back what we felt we really needed, move to the garage the stuff we thought we might need and donate (or trash) anything we knew we did not need at all.  It took time, effort, thoughtfulness, even tears. Once we got going, it became easier and easier.  We would then go through the items that were moved to the garage, asking ourselves did we really use or need those items in the last few months.  If not (and most of the time we didn't), it was donated.  We would go back through each closet, cabinet and drawer a second, third and sometimes even a fourth time.  You would be surprised at the things we thought we needed would eventually be donated!  This process took a couple of years until finally we were only using our bedroom, one bathroom (of four), the kitchen, the family and dining rooms.  

During the time we were purging all of our stuff, we were letting go of areas of our lives that were filling up so much of our time.  We volunteered so much that we did not have any time to ourselves.  There were people in our lives that brought a lot of drama and drained our energy.  Even a job change... again, this took time, effort, thoughtfulness and tears.

What amazed me was that once we had started letting go of things, people and activities.... we became more enlightened.  We became more intentional, more productive.  Best of all, we started to have joy back in our lives.  Some people did not understand what we were doing, even acted like we were nuts!  

We moved to a small, one level condo.  No more yard work, very little house chores, very little drama. 

Instead more fun, a lot more time with our friends, a lot more time with our little growing family and a lot more doing what we love to do.  

ENLIGHTENED life....  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Full of Holes?


Is yours strong.... detailed..... like an elephant? Or is it spotty..... scattered.... full of holes? 

Lately my memory, or rather lack thereof, has been something of a concern for me. (Or maybe stress and worry are a better description!)  

I worked in the same job for nearly 30 years, but last year started a new position at a new office.... same field - but very different from the previous position.  Well, let me just tell you that has been a crazy ride this past year and one of the reasons I have not been writing much lately.   But as crazy and hard as it has been - I would most certainly, do it all over over again.  (This is a whole article all on its own....)  

Struggles with memory has definitely been one of the issues over this past year.... and it especially arose in a conversation with a co-worker this week.  We were talking about how some items are easier to write than others...  I shared with him that 12 years ago I had written a piece for a Lent service.  I explained that during the editing, I was not happy with the feel of it.  So much so, that three-four days before the Service - I scrapped the whole thing and started over.  The point in sharing this little story was the second piece flowed and required very little editing.  

Then he asked me for the crib note version of the speech....   Crickets...... Yes, crickets were heard at that very moment.  Well, at least in my head...  

Luckily for me, he was called away to another matter and the conversation ended.  However, the effects of that conversation did not end for me.  I mulled it over... racked my brain... even did a little internet research on the subject to see if that would help.  A few snippets came back....  

Then the crazy self-doubting voice said, "Does my co-worker think I was telling a fib?"  Maybe...

Yet, if I had been asked what I was feeling at the time of writing it, or of giving it....  well.... I could have given such detail that it may have taken until the office closed for me to finish... Yes, that is stretching it... a little.  

If having a good or great memory is based on details, which details are considered acceptable?  

Going back to the speech.....  

I would have been able to talk about how nervous the idea of getting up in front of a group people was for me.  How that nervousness went away when the group laughed, sighed, and nodded their heads at the right times....  How I felt after the meeting was over and a favorite friend told me she was moving to Wisconsin....  How I noticed her nervousness in telling me.  

However, there is not one little detail of the actual speech itself.  Shoot, I cannot even remember the title!  

In sharing that moment with my co-worker.... along with the racking of the brain and crazy self-doubting voice... a new realization came to light.... ding, ding, ding...  .     

I remember the details of feelings, emotions, reactions, moments....  For me the speech was the vehicle to bring all those emotions and feelings to the surface for others and for me.  I can recall the dry mouth, the smiles from the darkened church, the elation when the talk was over, the great shock and sadness of my friend telling me of her impeding move.     

Over the past year I have worried so much about not being able to remember a password, or the procedure for something I had done a billion times, having to write all the new procedures down....  I will not go further and bore you.....  

I did not need to worry.  I did not need to stress.  I did not need to fill my head with crazy self-doubt.....  My memory works differently from others. 

My details are the smiles, the smell of the meal, the song playing in the background, the temperature of the room..... those are as relevant as what consecutive numbers and letters created a password. 

If memory issues are a struggle for you.....  If you scratch your head when you walk into a room because you cannot remember why you are there....

Do not worry - do not stress - do not be hard on yourself....  our memory works differently.  

Do not try to fill up those holes.   

Monday, December 12, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Well, my goodness.... Christmas is here and 2017 is right around the bend.

It was time for me to take a break.... a short break... from blogging so I could continue to purge, downsize and simplify.  I hated to take this break because there has been so much to talk about.  

We moved during 2016.  We went from a 2500 square foot, four bedroom and 4 bath house with a yard to a 1100 square foot, 2 bed, 2 bath apartment with a small patio.  

The crazy thing is my sewing/craft room is the largest one I have ever had in my life!  Isn't that awesome?  I am pretty pleased!  

We love the smaller place.  We loved giving our "clutter" to those who had a need.  We have more to give away, but that can wait until the first of the year.  

I have watched countless YouTube videos about tiny houses, minimalist lifestyles, and simple living.  It has been inspiring, to say the least.  We have borrowed a lot from those that have gone before us into the world of living with less.  Great resources!  

Also, during this past year, I have finally gotten a better hold of my new job.  It has been a rollercoaster of emotions, terrifying drops, and exciting turns.  I have battled a big case of insecurity.... but it is coming back.  While I have a long way to go.... I am happy that I made this big change.  

So it was the right time to simplify my personal life and space.  It has helped me with the empty nest emotions because this new nest cannot be empty!  

Here are some pictures of the new sewing/craft room - still a work in progress.  It may not look like it but I gave away a lot of sewing, craft and hobby items!  Oh, a little confession.... my yarn is in the antique pie safe in the family room ;)  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


This year is just flying right by.....  zooming actually.

At the beginning of 2016, I left my old job of nearly 30 years and started at a new office.  

While it has been hard, scary, and overwhelming.... it has been equally uplifting, eye-opening and one of the best things that has happened in my work life in a long, long, long time. 

And it has been tiring.    

Meeting new people, unlearning old procedures and creating new ones, trying to get comfortable with new software and trying very hard to not kick yourself because you have not "mastered" it, having new co-workers encourage and lift you up, realizing you have lots of experience but not in the area of expertise you now live..... most importantly knowing in time you will get it.  You will contribute and it will be fine.  

That has been the most valuable lesson learned in this experience.  

You will contribute and it will be fine.  

Oh I could sit here and say that I was so confident, so sure of it all.... Ha.... what a crock.  

I have never felt so unsure and so worried. 

But that is ok.  It is ok to learn new things, meet new people, become a member of a team.... 

and to be a little tired at the end of the day.  

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Crochet in Pictures

Spending lots of time watching documentaries, tutorials and crocheting....  

Cooled off for two days but will be back to gold tomorrow. 

Ripple is coming along.... will not be done in time for blanket bee on Saturday though.  I do love working this one up.  

Because I was so inspired by Lucy at Attic 24 with the Ripple... decided to give some of her birdies and bauble decorations a go....

The little crochet balls are awesome!  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Winter Blues/Desert Beauty

Living in the Southwest Desert.... the winter blues are not a part of our vocabulary.  

My sister lives in a very wintery part of the United States.  She gets the winter blues.  She is a misplaced desert rat who loves the sun and heat.  I, however, am not a fan of the heat.  Not a fan of dirt.  Not a fan of brown. It seems we are both misplaced. 

But..... I realize the desert has beauty.  

The Creosote Bush - the branches and leaves smell like rain.  Seriously, they really do!  

And a prickly cactus can give some gorgeous blooms.... all colors of the rainbow. 

Do not get me started on the sunsets.  They just cannot be matched.   

And yes, we do not have to shovel snow. 

But there is something about the stillness of a snowy winter. The grey skys.  The stark contrast of the dark branches of the naked trees against the moonlight glow of the landscape. Almost allows you to step back.... slow down.  Snow falling is slow and steady. This is all so appealing to me. It seems to be right along the lines of my desire to continue to simplify, reduce and downsize.  

I will admit right here, right now, that I have not lived in wintery climate since college.  So as an adult, I have not had to deal with all the unpleasant aspects of snowplows, icy roads, bitter cold, frozen pipes....  yes, I have heard all about the yuckiness of living in a snowy climate.  

I would like to believe and (maybe naively) that I would still love it all the same.  

I love to make blankets. I crochet afghans and sew quilts.  (I even tie fleece for my grandpuppies.)  But I cannot remember the last time I really needed to get under one of these creations to keep warm. Yet, I continue to create, crochet and sew. Oogle over patterns, yarn and fabric.   

When The Crochet Crowd posted on Facebook about Temperature Afghans..... I was, at first intrigued, and then completely hooked (yes, this pun was very much intended).
Of course, I had to change the colors and temperatures. The pattern showed yarn color that was for 22 degrees below 0!  

Posted my my first color/temperature key on my facebook page.  

Love the greens for the lower temperatures then going into the gold, carrot and burgundy for the warmer days.  It seems to incoporate all of the desert beauty described above, the Creosote and cacti are represented in the greens and the sunsets in the gold, orange and red. 

And since it is the desert, 54 seemed like a nice, good low temperature... right?  

Lo and behold, on January 7th we were 50 degrees!  Well, I just had to celebrate with a trip to Hobby Lobby, of course. Picked up a very pale green (instead of the original cream I intended to purchase).  

Know what is super crazy?  The color is called Artic Ice!  Was not even aware of it until a few days later!  

Was able to work a COUPLE rows with that beautiful Artic Ice color!  

The pattern is called Spectrum and it is just half double crochets.  The foundation is 196 chains.  

There will be 365 rows and I have all that time to decide on a border. It is soothing, slow and steady.  Really lovely to work on each night... just the right amount of time to work the day out in your mind.  

And it looks like I might get to add a few rows of that gorgeous gold yarn next week....

Sure hope that does not mean it is the start of our warm weather.  Just not ready yet! 

If I can remember, I will post an update every month of the Temperature Afghan. (Also, need to come up with a new and clever name!)
Of course, we cannot just have one project going.  After a long period of oogling, I started a ripple afghan for Project Linus. It is another one of Lucy's at Attic 24 patterns.  Was super excited to get this started because I had been debating whether this pattern was too hard and complicated for me. 

Boy, was I ever wrong. Not because I am some great crochet guru.... nope - not at all. It is all Lucy's fantastic tutorials!  She could teach a knat to crochet...

My step mother donated three bags of her leftover yarn at Christmas.... and some of that is getting all rippled!! 

So, no...

I do not have the winter blues. My temperature afghan does not have any winter blues....  

 Just desert beauty.