Turf Wars

I have occupied every corner of this house. Admittedly, it’s not that big for a house, but still. As soon as I create a space in which to work, it gets taken over by someone I might be related to. A troubling discovery that is problematic.

I finally carved out a space I don’t think will get conquered. Not even by the ones who are working from home, schooling from home, zooming into all kinds of games, or even the dogs. It’s close enough I can fend off any would-be attackers. It happened by accident. I was working on a different space when inspiration struck, and I knew it was right.

Considering whether or not to surround it with caution tape.

When I have my own space, I get things accomplished! This is evidenced by two blog posts (!) within the week! Or maybe the fact that our car is still in the driveway, since I have a space in which I can sit down and pay the bills.

In disguise!

This new highly-coveted space is in my bedroom, and close enough in proximity that I can defend its territory. It’s an old-fashioned secretary desk that I got from my favorite hang-out spot, you know the one I work at, Community Forklift. It is a vintage piece that is chalk-painted with good functionality. I love that the color is camouflage in my bedroom and blends in with the wall, making the room seem larger and preventing any enemy action. I have set up a station of icons on one shelf, to deter anyone from taking over, and make it mine. I have to pray to the saints while I am working, just to get things done, and cannot be left to my own devices. It’s a good system and I have staked my claim.

All the saints watching over me (and my new space)!

There is no plug nearby, or task lighting, so it’s not perfect. I am using the drawers for my clothes and the cushioned stools, which already lived here, are the perfect height to sit and work. I can stash mail, hide the clutter, find a stamp, and after eight years in this house, sit somewhere to write. 😊

At last!

Multi-tasking furniture is key to efficiently designed spaces, and vintage furniture is often practical, small in scale, and adds an element of sustainability to your design. Try it out! These secretary desks are common finds and the price at Community Forklift is usually in the $150-$200 range, which is do-able.

© Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise 2020.

And so it goes….

This post was specifically requested by a fan. I will do my very best.

The fan/reader/mom, who shall remain anonymous, posed the question, “How does one get into the mood for Christmas, or any holiday, during a pandemic?” Good question. I have no idea. They asked, would you please write a blog post on that?

I promise to do my best, so here goes. Please put away your cynical thoughts. I can hear them in my head already!

1. Fill all of your senses with Christmas! Smell it! Add a fresh tree and set some mulling spices simmering on the stove. Fill the house with music, whether it be jazz or classical, and bake. Decorate the tree and write your thoughts down on a Christmas card, yeah old fashioned-like. Actual pen and paper. Lick the envelope and mail it to the f***ing North Pole. Your kids will love you for it. And then say a prayer of thanks for Samuel L. Jackson, because he made it okay to use that word. You know the one. Have a drink. And if you don’t drink, have a Seedlip cocktail, because they…. are….delicious and are the only distilled nonalcoholic spirit in my repertoire. The bomb. Tested by me, and no, I am not an alcoholic. Yet.

Seedlip nonalcoholic distilled spirits. Originating from apothecary recipes from 1651, or something like that.

2. Adopt a pandemic pet. I have a non-pandemic pet who won’t stray 6 inches from my feet and I am NEVER lonely. He adopted me:

My pet gremlin.

Henry Adams is a legit pandemic pet. Unveiled like some sort of long-awaited designer fashion object d’arte….. on a political blog for people with way too much time on their hands. Behold, meet the…. Henry Adams Cat. He is my latest sibling and heir to the throne:

The foot is real and Henry is doing his job as the foot is no longer a lonely foot.

3. As a family we have enjoyed some seriously fun Zoom calls. We got an account so you can talk for more than 40 minutes. We hosted a game of “Among Us” with the Australian cousin/family. Fun we might not have had if it were not for the pandemic. We even included our far-away Boston child in the game, who dressed unsuspectingly like a plant, and proceeded to murder us in our sleep. It was all good.

Just relax and enjoy the quiet peaceful moments.

4. Seize the calm and the small moments. A fire, a bath, a quiet walk in the woods. Just be in the present. Put down the news and watch the birds. Believe me, those birds have plenty to say. Recharge your batteries.

I realized I have quite the collection of beach-bum Santas and this year, they are hanging out in a prominent place, reminding me that another year is on its way. Thank God!

Beach bum Santas.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

© Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise 2020.

Survival of the Fittest

I would like to share a few things that have been helpful to me lately, for all three of you that read my blog:

1. I need sleep. I am not the best version of myself when I am tired. If you are also running on empty, pulled in every direction and holding down a demanding job, maybe this post will help you. I just discovered breathe right strips. I feel refreshed in the morning instead of tired. I am pretty tuned in with breathing (see former professional career as flutist) and know that I am getting more oxygen and it is helping me sleep. Quality sleep. No machines, no diet detox, no vitamins. Just a band-aid-like thing that opens my nostrils. Full disclosure: it hurts like 10 Biore strips to take it off, but totally worth every lost skin cell.

2. Skincare. The simpler, the better. I love de Mamiel skincare and yes, it is expensive. I can’t say how expensive just in case my husband is reading this. But even if you can’t afford one single de Mamiel product, please read about Annee de Mamiel’s approach to skincare. Your skin is like leather or furniture or a plant and it needs moisture! I feel like maybe I am ready to take on turning 45, just a couple of weeks from now, and I am armed with de Mamiel.

3. Hair. I stopped dying it about 5 years ago when Prima said, “our culture was shallow and we should value wisdom over beauty.” Spoken like someone with a full head of blonde hair, but still, she’s right. Every time I hear I should dye my hair, I just think “I’ve earned this!” And now, cue New Wash. It goes on like conditioner and has helped my hair feel less frizzy. I’m not sure what my hair was supposed to be, but I think New Wash is good stuff and it does not come in a plastic bottle!

4. Tampons and pads. Organic cotton and delivered in pleasantly plain packaging on a regular schedule. Life changing. That is all. MyLola.com

5. Crave creativity. I try to nurture that instinct in little ways throughout the day. A scarf with my outfit, fresh herbs in my food, a book by the fire. It’s the little things that keep me going.

I know I am fortunate. I know I shouldn’t complain. The pace of life with kids and work and the pressure to volunteer for everything feels overwhelming. Take a deep breath, truly. It will ground you. It’s what my mom tells me all the time when I am stressed, prepping me for flute playing without even realizing it. Thanks mom! Or possibly Obama, I’m not even sure anymore.

Drink a glass of wine, don’t stress, take a deep breath, try to use less plastic, and then if you’re lucky, do it all over again.

© Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

This post was not sponsored by anyone or anything. I’d love to know what you can’t live without.

The General Store

Maybe your neighbors are not as great as mine. If that is the case, I am sorry for you. Mine, well…. they are my neighborhood general store, daycare, garden center, and lawn-mowing service. Do you need a lemon? A carrot? Or perhaps a stray can of beans? Can’t beat the traffic home? Need them to check on the teens? Or perhaps a place to hide the liquor? Don’t forget the lawn-mowing service and dog walking to boot! And why not? Don’t you have neighbors that mow your lawn and walk your dogs?

This is a teen that is up to no good.

If only everyone had a neighborhood like mine, where civility, jokes, and kindness rule. We have fires on their patio, drinks on our deck, and watch the flickering lights of the fireflies. We have stories and foot massages, gripe sessions and therapy.

I’ve always had good luck with neighbors, so I know this is not a one-off situation. Over the years, my neighbors and I have become the very best of friends. (Except for that one time when I suspect the neighbors had the Gimp tied up in their basement and ran a hospital for dolls.)

Find the dogs!

I challenge you to find a neighbor and chat them up. Try to connect with them as humans. That relationship may eventually prove to be your lifeline, and at the very least, may come in handy when you need a cup of sugar or a friend. It’s a little something we can do to invest in each other, and in our communities. To quote Mr. Rogers, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

© Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise 2019.

The Community Garden

I write this post with an infection in my hand, a splinter that took two days and a fly-by-night surgical operation to remove, and even poison ivy.

The Community Garden!

The Garden was planted by a well-known horticulturalist and somehow I inherited this potential…. thing of beauty. I have wrestled with it over the years, referred to it as “The Wild Kingdom” and been fired by Pedro, my gardener. Pedro finally wised up and left me.

 The path.

But this time, I had help! My friends came from as far away as New Jersey and California and from as close as next door, somehow always as I was just finishing up. Demanding a little bit more and a few more hours. Prima said to me, “Mom he (the horticulturalist designer) is going to make a gardener of you yet!” Stewart said, “other people would have paid Pedro to rip it out and put in grass, but not you…. you have restored it.”

The climbing hydrangea in full bloom!

The climbing hydrangea in full bloom!

And it’s true. I finally feel like it’s becoming mine, morphing into a cottage garden like the one of my dreams, admittedly with a bit more elbow grease. I can sit outside and watch the fireflies and appreciate the work, like a runner’s high, but with more pollen.

 The swing came with the Garden.

In spite of all the injured body parts and sore muscles, I’m proud of it. It’s finally become My Wild Kingdom. Thank you my friends for helping me see what it could be and coming to the rescue.

The fig tree, still alive and well.

© Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise 2019.