When I stepped off of the plane last week and into my hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, I was assaulted by a familiar cacophony of noise, blaring light, and a hair dryer worth of heat. I felt at both times exhilarated and full of dread although that dread had a helpful tinge of fondness and nostalgia. I left home eight years ago after living in Vegas for 30 years. I had to. I was out of a job, and my husband and I needed to live, so we ripped Las Vegas out of that place in our minds and hearts that held what home is and made for parts unknown. It was one of the most painful and scariest things I have ever done.
Now looking back, it is so odd. I am in a sorta limbo. Portland, my new home, does not have the hometown feel that I used to get from Vegas, but Vegas doesn’t have it either. Vegas is so changed now that I get lost here. The vegas I new is now gone.
It is ok though. The new things to discover are like icing on a nostalgia cake. There are new restaurants, new parks, new things to try and do. So maybe you can’t come home again, because home is not a static place. It lives inside you, in your memories, with your family, and your past. It has been quite the adventure. I will be here for another week due to a family emergency. Hopefully, I will have a chance between panic attacks to try some new exciting things. Here’s to hoping. Cheers.
My life’s obsession with books and reading is only eclipsed by one thing and one thing only, and that thing is gardening. Maybe books about gardening? (As I stare at the six gardening books I have on my bedside table) My obsession with gardening is only from January until September every year so it is not so bad. Really really, promise. I am one of those people that get giddy when I get new seed catalogs in the mail and instead of buying new shoes or something, I buy a plant. I went practically apoplectic today when I discovered a local nursery had tiny and cheap Japanese Painted Ferns. A plant that I had been looking for for the last 5 months for six freaking dollars.
Today in the mail I received a teeny tiny packet of protea seeds that I ordered from a dealer in Quebec. Protea is a type of flower that looks like a Hibiscus and a pincushion had a baby, then spray painted it neon. It is all spikes, and color while being delightfully and garish and tacky. I freaking love everything about proteas. If I had a spirit flower it would probably be them. Here is the kicker. They are ridiculously and stupendously difficult to grow. Sunset magazine says that if you don’t have perfect soil and perfect climate, and perfect gardening practices; give up and enjoy cut flowers. I am never one to shy away from a challenge. CHALLENGE! I throw down my shears and hoe in the face of such a farce of a seed. It will not beat me!
(it totally isn’t going to grow)
But, I will try and it will be a unique and fun experience. Proteas along with the Black Magic Rose are the two Unicorns that I have always wanted to try and grow, succeeding doesn’t really matter. I’ll add updates as this experiment goes along. I think it will be a damn success story if I can get one seed to germinate, like at all. Here goes nothing.
We decided not long ago that we needed a spice storage solution to the million spice jars that I have in the kitchen. No joke, but I think I have close to seventy. I like to cook, and that requires a lot of different spices. Garam Masala to Chinese five spice, I have quite the collection and before you ask I have used them on a least one dish at some point in the past. I make killer tea eggs with the Chinese five spice.
A previous solution we had been using utilized the spice holder Bekvam from IKEA just hanging by its lonesome on the wall. It got ridiculous with all the spice. It was almost like a shrine to IKEA. Plus, they are hard as hell to hang. IKEA totes itself as being easy to build and hang, but I call BS on it. Most of the stuff I have gotten from IKEA has been difficult and required a youtube video to get together.
I had gone through a teal phase with them, then a coral phase. The spice holders were a bevy of different colors by now. Much to the chagrin of my husband, it looked like the seventies threw up in my kitchen.
This is what I did. I took all the myriad of spice racks I had and some scrap wood. screwed them all together. Tried to get it true, then painted it. Voila! Insta-spice rack. The wood I screwed it together with was kinda warped, and the spice shelves are not perfectly level. But it is off my counter and hanging beautifully up. Obviously, this isn’t as a tutorial. I kinda winged it. You get the idea.
One of the things I am going to do in the future is to do a background on the spice rack. The periodic table of spices appeals to my inner geekiness. Also, having it organized and a spot where I can find them easily is a must. Baby steps. They are off my counter.
I enjoy this. I enjoy writing. How did I get out of the habit of writing, of attempting to connect with people? Your answer is as good as mine. I want to say. “Life.” But god that sounds so trite. The fact of the matter is that I got out of the habit of doing just about anything in 2017. Anything but being a mom drone. That also sounds trite.
Normally at the start of the year, I look back on the previous year with a mixture of happiness, and hopefulness. I set out large lofty goals for myself, rarely meet them completely and learn a bunch in the process. It wasn’t that way this last year. I entered 2018 not actually able to remember if I had done anything of note the entire year. That is not to say that I hadn’t built anything, learned anything, or read anything. It just seemed all so inconsequential. It took my husband sitting down with me and recounting some of my adventures for me to recall anything, and my reaction of, “so.” For me to figure out that maybe something is wrong in the mental or happiness department.
First and foremost this year we bought a house. That is fucking huge. I am trying to curb my cursing a bit, but I can think of no other word that describes the immensity of purchasing a house. It is very very large undertaking. First paperwork. All the paper that has every been printed out since the Guttenberg Bible needs to be signed, notarized, viewed, corrected, then re-signed. Then then the moving in process, which I jokingly said that I was done and was going to set everything on fire. I didn’t, obviously. But I learned a lesson that I have way to much crap. More on that later. Our house is an odd shape. It is a great house, but very long. Kinda like a giant hallway with bedrooms attached. Trying to figure out how to decorate and move our family in has been a challenge. Plus, I am a designer. I hate saying that. It makes me feel all uncomfortable inside and awkward. But, I am a trained in architecture and worked in the field for ten years. If something is off design wise it makes me physically uncomfortable. So couple that with new house and I have set myself off to have about 8k pins on Pinterest of things I want to do.
I have overwhelmed the crap out of myself.
I also have a three-year old. Which means I cannot get anything completed ever.
Couple my inability to get anything done, my wish for all the pretty things, and my penchant for anxiety and depression.. well you get the idea. I have pretty much fried my brain.
So here I am a year later, older and maybe a touch wiser. I have started a soul clean out of sorts. I am not connecting this to the new year or anything else. There needs to be a change and no calendar is going to tell me that it is too late or early to get it done. I think that simplification is in order. I have started purging and reevaluation of things that actually don’t hold value to me. Do I want to look at it, touch it. If the house was on fire, would I grab it? This has nothing to do with pets or family. Just the tactile belongings one surrounds themselves with. Is it beautiful? Is it useful? Does it add value to my life? Not much does when you boil things down to the bare minimum of things. So far I have concluded a few things. I don’t want to buy clothing that doesn’t want to make me spin around in a mirror. I have too much clothing to start with, and I end up wearing nothing but yoga pants and t-shirts. Neither of which make me feel great. But that is another adventure for another day. I have too much hair care, and facial products. Our bathroom is small and has very little storage. Time to pare down.
I need to figure out what real things and pursuits mean the most to me, and go after them. I think I have spun my wheels to long. Here is what I have so far:
Things that I love:
My antique kimono
My necklace from my sister April.
My books (maybe not all. But certainly my Dr. Seuss and pop up book collection)
Things that bring me immense joy
Art (both doing and looking at)
I’m going to start from there. See where I go. I already deleted about 8k pins in one fail swoop of cathartic soul cleaning.
I love a good strange Christmas tree. Strange in the sense that this is not a typical red and green affair, but something different. To me Christmas trees are an opportunity to get creative, and shout “This is me!” Let that freak flag fly. My freak flag is covered in glitter and peacock feathers. To me, not only should Christmas trees be an expression of the families motto, but they should be as large as humanly possible. Covered with as many lights, and glitter as the tree can hold up and not fall over. Ever see Christmas Vacation? This movie is my holiday spiritual animal.
YAAAS! These are my people.
I think when I get around to decorating outside it will be the same thing. A little lovely, a little batshit insane and allllllll the lights that the power grid can handle. And lasers. Definitely lasers. Maybe a set of reindeer with a santa that throws glitter at passerbys.
Dat drop yo..
This is a roundabout way of coming around to my personal christmas tree. My tree is a curated and sculpted ode to the loveliness of all that is peacock. I love peacocks. They are loud and noisy and kinda prissy. Them with all their feathers and loud squawking.
I am a badass of the bird world. Did you see my feathers?
It is my own personal work of art. It is my christmas “thing.” I also have a tiny little christmas tree that sits on the table that holds all the ornaments that would look gauche on my already ridiculous gauche tree. I am looking at you “Christmas Story” Lamp ornament. FRA- GI-LE.
I have two, wreaths on this tree. Count them TWO. One as a kinda topper, and the other that is at eye level. One day I will have two large trees. One giant ten foot monstrosity, and maybe another dedicated to candy, or hummingbirds, or the desert. I dunno. But it is going to happen. Get yourself a giant tree and let that flag fly.
You learn about yourself in every moment of the day. For good or bad we are always evolving. When you move from one place to another, you learn even more about yourself. When you move from one state to another, it is a true test of self. You have to touch and make judgement calls about every single item that you own. It is exhausting and adds stress already compounded on the big move. I hate moving. I mean true hate here…
In our American culture it is always, “more, more, more.” Buy this and you will fill the void that is a gaping maw in your life. Eat this and you will feel good about yourself. It really is a bunch of bullshit. A bunch of bullshit that I was and still to some extant am still acceptable to. I admit it. I am of the Ohhhhhh shiny. When we moved to Portland from Las Vegas, we had so much crap that our three bedroom apartment looked like this. Every room, every space all the way up to the vaulted ceilings.
I ate cup o’ noodles for a long time because the apartment was wall to wall boxes, I could not cook. You cannot put stuff away when there are wall to wall boxes. You can just pull up a comfy box and sit and stare at another box. I am not a hoarder, but I sure as hell looked like one.
“You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.” Fight Club
Stuff controls everything. It is just stuff! At that point I was too scared to get rid of much stuff. “What will happen if I don’t have this perfect little thing?” This was a good wake up call, and living in this was even better. I now am almost phobic of clutter. Even though the house we currently live in now is still cluttered. It is much better, and a constant work in progress.
I set out to halve what I own each year. Take a close look at the items and figure out if they actually bring many any sort of joy or pleasure. If they do, I’ll keep. If they don’t they get passed on to goodwill. Additionally, I decided that I am done buying stuff retail and I will get much of what I need from second hand stores or the goodwill. It has been wonderful, if not a bit scary thing to confront and do. Wholly and completely liberating. I started with my clothes. I used to have two full closets of clothes, as well as many bunches gathering dust and insects in the garage. I went through, sorted and I now have 1/2 a closet and a dresser. Seriously that’s it. I figure I need to only buy things that make me want to twirl from now on. That is few and far between.
I am a book hoarder. I love the written word, the smell and feel of a book. There is so much power contained inside something small. It is a heady thing to hold in your hand. Then again it might be a crap romance book so your results may vary. Generally, books I keep are amazing . I have way to many amazing things. They got to go. First rule, if it is a trade paperback I give it to the library. If it is something I want for my collection it needs to be honored and be in hardback. Second rule, I have a finite amount of space and my collection needs to fit inside that space. It also can’t look like crap and dishonor the books. (I know. Weird.. weird) I made a list for myself of my absolute hands down favorites, you can find this list here. 6 star books This list has some of the books I find irresistible. Lately it has been trying to find hardback Dresden Files at the goodwill. Basically treasure hunting! I am now down to one and a half bookcases. Still a half to much, but it is a work in progress.
Future plans wise, I am going to copy all our important paperwork that does not need to be an original copy and store in on Amazon. This goes the same with pictures. They are protected and I can print and keep them safe. That gets rid of a lot of space.
I consider this goal to be a work in progress, but the feeling I get when I get rid of stuff is pretty awesome. I am not a minimalist yet, but I can see the allure. I’ll let you know when someone calls me austere. Teehee