Coffee Chat: Cobwebs
Hello dear. Do come in! It's a bit warm outdoors isn't it? Hard to believe that I woke shivering under the covers this morning at 6:15am because it was cold. Yesterday morning it was frosty outdoors and beyond chilly indoors. Brrr! By noontime, the AC was on and I was glad of it. Today the AC hasn't yet come on. The wind out there is a bit brisk, but the sky is blue as can be and the sun shining like nobody's business. You'd never know we had a random rainstorm at 5 this morning. I told John tis crazy weather when you must use both heat and AC within a few hours of one another, and have no idea if you need a jacket, sunscreen or an umbrella.
So take your choice...Coffee? Iced Tea?
I've been having a bit of a struggle of late. I mean to write, I want to write but when I come in and sit down the pages stare blankly back at me. I think, truly I've spent so much of my spare time focusing upon the challenge meals that I haven't a thought for much else. Hopefully, this bit of spring freshening I've been doing will translate into more posts. We'll see.
What sort of freshening have I done? I showed you my simple decorations/accessorizing. I said I'd ordered new rugs and they've all arrived except a bath mat. I picked up new curtains on clearance and two candleholders in Target yesterday. I came home to find my new back door Welcome mat had arrived. This morning, the new bath rugs and kitchen rugs all arrived. I'm very pleased with the new kitchen rugs. The bath rugs will do. Not quite the color they photographed online but they will do. I was most thoroughly over the old rugs and have been looking for two years for new ones. Yes really, two years. I'm not that picky but I do want something that will go nicely with what I have and nothing else did. The new rugs are a deeper tone of a color used in the bath. I looked hard at Target yesterday to see if I saw anything at all that I might like better (was it intuition that I kept looking even after ordering these?), but nothing suited me in the least. I left the department empty handed.
Can I just say here, while Target is on my mind, what I think of the store? You all know I've taken the store in Centerville to task over the state of the Women's department. I looked it over again yesterday. It's so much better than it was, but it still leaves a LOT to be desired. I walk through nearly two blocks of clothing for average sized women and come to the end of the store and there are the four little racks for women. And crammed into that section are four racks of maternity clothes and five super long racks of clothes that are all clearance items, parked in front of the new merchandise hanging on the wall. At a second section of wall are parked three buggies full to overflowing of items that need to be put away, parked in front of clothing hung on there. Honestly, even so much better than it was, it leaves a lot to be desired. Why not devote that one little section of wall where the buggies are parked to the clearance racks? Why not let your customer get to the NEW clothes displayed on the wall? Why not ever so slightly adjust the signage so there's a clear difference between women and maternity? It wouldn't even take up any more square footage really if you just pushed the racks of each into a line from aisle to the wall where the new merchandise hangs. Then forgo hanging new merchandise at that last section of wall and line up the clearance racks on that last end near the dressing rooms. And for goodness sake! Do away with those buggies of merchandise at the back of the department. Devote someone to rehanging that or push it out of sight in the back! But no, it's still a bit cluttered and confusing.
I think it's an issue of the managers not seeing that section on a routine basis. I do really. Because the infant and toddler's section is nearly as bad. It was a nightmare yesterday to try to find space to get a buggy through in that area. Can you imagine a mom struggling with small children trying to find a spot o push a buggy in a crowded area? She's not going to want to leave her children long enough to step into the depth of the racks, and who can blame her for not wanting to do so? It's not a choice a mother should have to even consider making: look at clothes leave the children unattended for a minute or three or skip shopping there entirely.
I've always thought Target was a nice store, with better quality merchandise, but...Well, let's just say I'm finding that more and more I'm getting over Target, at least this particular location. Perhaps I'll go to Macon and see how that store compares. It's about the same distance and more easily accessible. It's really just a matter of adjusting my mind in that direction. I've acquired such a habit of thinking in terms of Centerville that I seldom bother remembering there are stores in Macon that are just as near. Aren't habits silly old things anyway? They just need to be broken sometimes.
I'm struggling along with several things, nothing life changing or particularly difficult. Just stuff really. I struggle with writing of late. I think between the two long periods of time John had off (did I mention his latest 8 day stay at home? Love having him home but golly I get all thrown off track!), and the two weeks when I was away from home are partly responsible. I got all shaken out of anything resembling routine and here's one area where habits can be good things. I've felt so discombobulated! I try to settle to write and too often I leave the computer with blank post page on the screen. Or I am dissatisfied with every word I've written. My mind seems stuck on the food challenges because those are the only posts I've managed with any ease.
And my home routines are all out of whack as well. Today as I rushed about cleaning, trying to do a few tasks ahead so I can be free to go play tomorrow, I realized how much of my cleaning of late seems to be of that sort of hurry up, surface only type work.
Too much of my mind is skimming along upon the surface lately. The prayer time I've always cherished is nothing more than scanning along a list of names and circumstances. My Bible study is mostly skimming words on a page. Journal writing is limited to mundane activity and no deep thought at all. Just more skimming the surface. I'm not very good at a superficial sort of life. For some it might seem fine and stress free but for me it means I'm spending too much time in hiding. And what is there to hide from? Minor worries and little irritations and frustrations. Nothing of real import. I need something to break me from my rut. I've been aware of this for some time now.
I did join two small groups at church. I have to say that I've only attended one of the two meetings thus far. I confess a mighty reluctance to return to the first group. It's a writer's group, specifically for Christian writers, and while I mightn't have had a clear idea what I thought it would be about, I didn't expect the vision the leader shared either. I told John I feel guilty for signing on to something I have so little excitement over. This though our pastor assured us that not every small group ended up being the best fit for those who'd signed up and it was okay to decide it wasn't for you. Sigh...will I continue with this group or not? I don't know. Today might well not be the day to make that sort of choice.
The other group I haven't attended yet. I'd just returned from that two weeks with Josh when the first meeting was held. The next meeting is later this month but I already feel 'left out' and it's my own fault for not going to the meeting. There's a facebook page but I feel I must be missing posts because I don't understand what's going on with the group at all. So far they've had a catered meal (simple food) and now a giveaway for a day at a spa...I'm not sure what either of those things have to do with what the group is meant to be about and yet, I have no clear idea of what the group is about except that it's a poetry group.
The purpose of small groups is supposed to be to introduce members to one another. For an introvert this is difficult enough, lol. I chose the two literary minded groups. John chose a men's study group. I might have been happier with a study type group but there were none for women. And perhaps most of my angst is just my angst and nothing to do with anything but that.
Actually, now that I've thought it all out a bit I think I know just what my trouble is. Midweek we had an appointment to have new tires put on my car. When we arrived, the place was packed and the two guys working in the bays were busy as could be and the only two who came in to work that morning. "We're running a bit behind," we were told. "No problems! We'll wait," John told the guy. I'd come prepared with a new book to read. I occupied myself flipping through the magazines that interested me first. That took up the bulk of hour one. I watched a good portion of a game show in hour two. Then John was called over to the service desk and told that the tires ordered for the car were the wrong size. They had three in the correct size but a fourth one was (obviously) needed and that would take another hour.
I was pretty sure John would agree to wait and was thankful the book was a good one. I continued to read. I read through hour three. And then hour four. I started getting very restless about then. I'd made my way through half the book I'd brought along. I was tired of waiting, tired of reading, tired of sitting...
And that's just how I feel just now. Tired of waiting. I don't know what exactly I'm waiting for, but I feel I've waited long enough.
The sites down here are spring-like despite these frosty mornings. Peach trees are blooming, wild pear, even dogwood. New leaves are popping out on many trees. It's rather pretty going across the river. Pine, new green leaves on the river willows and all the other trees blooming in deep red and dull gold. Spring seems, in pictures, to be all pink and white and green, or yellow and purple and white. But in fact it's far more varied. That deep red and dull gold seem more suited to autumn colors but there they are in spring every year.
Along with blooms comes pollen. We've just begun to get a dusting on surfaces here. At present it's not yellow but really just makes me want to take the duster out and knock it all off the surfaces. As it worsens we won't even touch surfaces with out washing our hands thoroughly immediately after. The pollen stings skin and makes sneezes and coughs and stuffy, runny noses (which always seems a catch 22 to be neither able to breathe nor to stop the pouring) and eyes itch and water. John is allergic to pine pollen. When he was six months old his family moved from New York state because of the pine pollen and moved, so he says, into a tract house next to a pine orchard, in Florida. This always makes people laugh. I don't know about the pine orchard. By the time I saw his childhood home some 50 years after the fact it was all neighborhoods surrounding the house.
We have intentionally NOT planted pine trees here on the place. The ground however, has happily accepted the pine seeds blown from the orchards three fields away and so we now have a few pines upon the place. Personally, I love to hear the wind sighing through them and have since my childhood days. What saves them at present is that John can't get through the undergrowth to reach them, otherwise they'd be cut down. What also helps is that they've gotten quite big over the years.
Pine trees (and cedar, too) are stealthy sort of trees. They grow under just about any condition and just any old where they choose, which is everywhere. They grow easily from seedlings blown about on the wind, though obviously not every single one finds that sheltered spot where they may take hole. You mostly don't even know they are there until they suddenly loom six feet over your head. I've been ruthlessly pulling up cedars and pines that are inches tall from all the flower beds now for 22 years. John mows down who knows how many through his mowing season. There's plenty that get a chance to live growing out in the wild boundaries of the property.
Aside from the rain and the pollen today, it's been a rather nice day. We were up about our usual time which is generally about 7am. It was a little iffy looking outdoors and I was a bit anxious about the weather overall. I had Plans. Peaches to Beaches started up today. I had a little pocket money yet and a deep desire to go hunt treasure and a husband who was willing to go, provided the weather cooperated.
I did some light housework and fed the pets and the sun started shining like it had never once hid it's face behind clouds this morning. The breeze was nice enough to make us think we could forgo jackets but it proved a little more cool than we'd first thought. Nevertheless it was a grand day to go over to the next town and walk about the park where tents were set up selling their wares.
I found little things first: a shirt and pair of pants for Taylor that were brand new. A book of nursery rhymes...and then a lovely old slipper chair for so little money I didn't even bother to pretend to haggle. Another wooden chocolates box with a mirror inside. A beautifully framed but tiny little antique picture. But my husband knows me well. It was the least expensive items that made me happiest.
A celluloid boar's hair brush, just a cheap one, with blue and pink flowers sprinkled over the back. A man's celluloid brush with art deco monogram, GMM, on the back. Each cost just $1. My heart pittered and pattered over those two brushes. I knew they were meant to come home with me, that they were truly mine, the moment I laid eyes on them. That desire to find some hidden treasure was immediately cured. It didn't matter that there were myriad tents and booths all down the highway in places where none had ever been before. Loads more vendors than ever before. I'd found what I was meant to find and I knew it. I was satisfied. I needed nothing more. That's the way it is with me.
I could have gone on looking. I could have and I would have enjoyed it but I'd found what was meant to be mine for a time and that was good enough for me. I've never been one for excessive buying...
Can I share a truth with you? I've shared that my father was an alcoholic. But Mama also had her own vice. She was a compulsive shopper. She still is. When we were in Target the other day I watched her pile candy and cookies and books into her buggy. I knew she was getting a 'fix' of sorts, trying to soothe some trouble inside that she won't admit to.
When I was growing up she'd plan shopping days and walk in the house with a small bag containing a shirt or dress or necklace. But hidden in the car were bags upon bags of things. If shoes were on sale, Mama couldn't buy just a pair of shoes for herself, she had to buy ten. She'd haul those things inside after Daddy left for work on Monday morning and hide them all at the back of her closet. And after a few months she'd bring them out, one by one. Daddy would ask when she'd gotten this or that outfit or pair of shoes. "Oh, I've had it for a long time," she'd say.
I'm not sharing this to shame her. On some level, she knows that she has a problem. She often has asked me, "Why do I buy so much?" She's evidence enough of it in her old home. A full drawer of lipsticks, another filled with eye makeup, another with foundations and blushes. She doesn't wear makeup. Three closets filled with clothes. Another closet for shoes she can no longer wear but can't bear to part with. There are different forms of hoarding, you know. There's the things she holds onto, part of her secret. There's the hoarding of bitterness and things she can't forgive. I think those are the most dangerous things to hold onto.
On the surface she doesn't appear to hoard. You'd look about her home and think perhaps it was a very nice home for a very nice person. But it's what's inside the doors and drawers and under the beds that would surprise you. I think that's why, in the days when I was a poor housekeeper, I always wanted to start inside and work my way out. I wanted to purge the closet and neaten it and make it nice and straighten the things in drawers and eventually I'd be so overwhelmed with the idea of more necessary work on the surface that I'd quit. I was a mess on the surface you see, right out there where everyone could see it. I was super anxious. I was lacking in self-confidence. Prone to nerves. Weepy. An over achiever, always striving to do better, to be the best, to do more than others. It took it's toll.
All that to say, I am cautious about bringing in too much at once. Or holding on to too many things for too long. At some point, it's best to just let it all go and get on with it. That's why I found it so admirable that Mama moved into her new place with just a few things. She's trying to leave the old ways and the old habits behind. Mind they are all still in her old home, but she's not living with them any longer. She just goes to visit them now and then and that's a lot of progress for someone her age to make, when the comfortable thing would be to go right on as before and not ever bother to change. She is, after all, nearing 80. It's heartening to know that even at that age, one might well still make a change, isn't it?
I guess what I really needed was to do just what I did today and get outdoors and let the spring breeze blow some of the cobwebs from my mind. To sit down here and just write and not let the inner critic have a say. It's good for the soul, too. I feel lighter and sunnier and more new season than old. I needed this.
Well, it's nearly time for Shabat. The housework is done but I need to do a few things. I need to think of meals for the weekend and see what preparation I need to make. I need to set the table for Shabat tonight. I like to see the candles and the glasses and plate for bread sitting there awaiting the sunset hour. It's a sweet site to me. It fills me with peace.
That's what I hope you find this weekend: peace. Comfort.
Talk to you later!