It is worth mentioning that while we were away, a little thing called Spring was also in progress!
Archive for the ‘Home & Garden’ Category
I had to laugh at myself yesterday. For a few days, I have been traveling up and down our staircase with a yogurt-container filled with Oyster Bisque paint, happily covering over chipped paint, smears, and — horror of horrors – even dirt that could have been removed with a little elbow grease.
Then it hit me. I’m whitening the stairs.
After months, and more months, of wanting to do this, planning to do this, hoping to do this, and NOT doing this, the exploration of white* just let it happen. One stair at a time.
As for the shrunken and distressed muslin curtains, which I made when we first moved in here, I no longer feel compelled to replace them (with curtains made with PRE-WASHED fabric). I am loving that gap. Look how it allows the light to glow through! I am loving the darkened rim of the hem. And I am especially loving the holes where daily life and sun have worn the fabric through.
I am not even trying to understand why I love the worn curtains and am not loving the chipped off paint on treads and balusters. I don’t have to be consistent in these matters, do I?
*in the ‘What-If’ online class over at Spirit Cloth
P.S. This is my 500th post. Am I supposed to celebrate?! 500th post, and second EVER, from my laptop.
It was all too much, on so many levels, and the puppy has been returned to the breeder. We had dear sweet Atticus for one week. What anguish produced by this misguided decision (mine)! Tears aplenty. And yet (though it is impossible to REALLY know), it’s better this way.
Disheartened by the turn of events and the steely act of will required to take him back, I thought I’d rely on pictures from a year ago – something I like to do now and then, and in this case, it spared me looking around the house and noticing all the places where the puppy recently played or slept. Even his crapping spot has a certain nostalgia to it this afternoon.
A year ago I was on Martha’s Vineyard, among other things, making this:
… which is a SoulCollage card made to mark the Adoption Day of our Corgi, Jack. In the collage, ‘my guys’ are waiting in Salem, where we found Jack at a shelter. This was seven years ago. He had to be quarantined another day after meeting him, and so the photo is post-introduction but pre-pick up. Interestingly, the splotchy abstract rug I used for the background expresses how this week’s mess feels!
Also made a Jack card at the time:
The trip to the Vineyard meant not just making SoulCollage cards in the company of friends, but eating farm-fresh eggs and yogurt, and wonderfully prepared scallops and venison… it was the kind of trip that was going to be impossible for lots of time to come with a feisty, big dog on my hands.
That’s not why he’s back with the breeder, but as the week went on it became increasingly clear that the care of this dog was going to cross right over into the empty nest. My sister appropriately quipped, “menopause puppy”.
Today I will quietly finish Barn II, taking small satisfaction in the fact that the power strip can go back onto the floor.
Instead of asking myself to ‘trust disequilibrium’, I am asking for self-acceptance in the face of a bad decision and for my son D’s forgiveness. My intentions were sterling, anyway.
“Trust disequilibrium” was the best parenting advice I ever came across. It invites us to believe that the inevitable breakdowns, regressions, and topsy-turvy times that occur while caring for children are useful, normal, and valuable. It supports the notion that things might be going well even when all external evidence suggests otherwise. It is advice formulated around the concept of ACCEPTANCE, rather than around the concept of CONTROL.
It is good advice all on its own, but it also stands (in my universe, anyway) as a somewhat stunning contrast to that OTHER more commonly dispensed piece of parenting wisdom (you know the one I mean): “Be consistent”.
Be consistent. Be consistent. If I had a nickel for every time I heard that, why, I could buy myself a pair of UGGs (not that I WANT a pair, mind).
Excellent advice — it’s true — but it is advice often dispensed (by teachers, grandparents – and well, let’s be honest, by complete strangers in the grocery store) as a gentle or stern corrective. I often felt that it was dispensed to me, in particular, because everyone in the world could see that I was too adaptable, too willing to make concessions, too willing to revise the contract.
All of this is on my mind again because of the little fella pictured above – eight week old Atticus. I am reading the books on training (be firm! be consistent!) and have just finished the marvelous dog-centric novel, “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle“, a story that prominently features the benefits (and indeed, wonders) of the well-trained (i.e. consistently treated) dog.
This weekend, I had to step back from my doubts about whether I am up to the task of training long enough to remember my strengths. I am fine with the house being a wreck (for awhile, anyway). Poop and pee don’t do me in. Punishment is not my first instinct. As for the rest – can I learn it? The hand signals? The repeated phrase? The sternness required to show who’s boss? Holding ground and refusing to reward the half-performed task?
Of course, here I refer to the cranky, the crotchety, the beloved Jack – our 9 year old Corgi who likes nothing better than to sleep at my feet and walk to the corner to sniff the yew bush where other neighborhood dogs have left their mark — and, truly, not a whole lot else. He has his routines. He is used to having us to himself. And, apparently, he is viciously opposed to having a new member in our pack. I am presented with the question – is THIS the level of disequilibrium I need to trust as the ‘pack settles itself out’? Or is this not a viable arrangement?
Quilts go through periods of disequilibrium all the time. I hate it, I love it, it’s almost done, it’s miles from being done, can be heard in my mind in the space of days regarding a single rectangle of cloth. Detaching from the opinions is a good practice, as is learning to love the process. The wisdom that spills from Jude Hill in her online classes (SpiritCloth, sidebar) has supported and challenged me to let go of so many of the less useful approaches to creative product, and to adopt a broader spirit of inquiry.
Inquiry opens up the gate – and you never know what is on the other side. “Is this the shape I want?” “Does this block of color signal loss or remembrance?” “Have I considered the edges?” Maybe the stakes are so much lower with the process of creating a quilt that I can go easy and go wide … But then again, maybe I need to convince myself that this spirit of inquiry is transferrable to the business at hand – that is, formulating a new pack, gaining new skills, and asking the hard questions.
Next post, it will be back to quilts, all quilts, I promise! Here is a sneak peak at Barn II – which is VERY nearly finished (the applique and quilting, that is – not the truing, binding, sleeving, signing, and photographing). It is roughly 33″ across.
It’s so cold that –
** Jack is doing his business in record time!
** Yesterday, at high school pick up, students had their HOODS up! (but still not wearing hats, scarves, or coats).
** I regretted wearing pj bottoms for the morning school run just now and felt an especial wave of gratitude for the heated seats on my return.
** I am wearing a down vest to sit at the PC.
** My new angora/cashmere socks (thank you, M!!) are ranked as one of my favorite possessions.
Stay warm everyone out there who is under this same frigid air!