The college application process is revealing. Not just for the applicant, who has spent hours navel-gazing in order to answer their curious questions, but for her parents too. It revealed the administrative headache that is applying for college, the lack of patience I have in general, and the burning and eternal question on a 5-year-old’s mind: “Can I play Mario Kart?” “How about now?”
I can’t believe I survived 2017 because I am pretty sure it tried to do me in.
However the home improvement front was more productive. Spurts of activity driven by sheer agitation and desire for distraction led to projects getting done that have been on the back burner for years. We hired a contractor! Yes indeed!
My kitchen window was cut and made bigger. The masons that did the brick work were artists and it looks beautiful.
The new window by Marvin.
We (by which I mean said contractor) replaced the window sashes on our glass porch. Custom wood windows made by Marvin that are energy efficient and true to the 1941 style of the house.
My vintage tree.
The porch revealed!
I painted the upstairs bathroom, which was desperately needed. Take my word for it, it looks nice and I was too tired for pictures.
The chair in my kitchen was recovered. It belonged to my grandmother. New window+new chair=still un-renovated kitchen. But progress is good!
Kitchen wall and cozy chair.
In a gravity-defying performance that was inspired by Cirque du Soleil, I whitewashed the ceiling over my stairs.
Whitewashed ceiling in blue.
The space on the porch is livable now. The view of the yard is seeable now. The house is quietly changing into the house I knew it could be. And 2018? I say bring it on. Here’s to wishing all of you, my dear readers, a joyous and happy New Year!
The other day, in the midst of swirling teenage angst and drama, I was sitting in a chair. The chair is in Prima’s room, and belonged to my grandmother. It’s tucked away in a corner on purpose. Prima uses it as a hide-away spot. As I sat, I felt myself withdrawing further from the conflict and pondering the chair. It had a wild blue and white print on it, one that I remember from my grandmother’s bedroom growing up. Now that the chair belonged to my teenager, it gets hard use and had deteriorated. I felt the tug at my heartstrings as I was reminded of Grandma’s deteriorating condition, much like the chair.
I poked my finger through the large holes and I saw something…. a blue fabric, peaking out from underneath the printed fabric with the holes.
My grandmother would be the type to have a perfectly good chair recovered. I pondered this as I poked my finger through the hole. More focused now I jumped up. I pulled the cushions off and saw the outlines of a well-made slip cover. I undressed the chair, unzipping the cushions as if opening a present. I felt the building excitement as I discovered the subtle blue printed fabric underneath, in perfect condition.
The rush of happiness at this unexpected surprise brought tears to my eyes. How is it that I have had this chair for five years and never noticed? It is a much better fit for the room.
I am grateful for the gift she has given me, that even now in her condition, she can bring me such joy. How amazing is that?
Since working at Community Forklift for three years now, I’ve taken to a different view of dumpster diving. It’s a sort of rescue mission, a diversionary tactic for landfill-headed junk. I am not a dumpster diver…. I AM SAVING THE EARTH! This is an empowering feeling, even if the skeptics call it spin. I never exactly felt bad about dumpster diving before, but now it holds an elevated sense of purpose bordering my morality.
You would not believe the stuff people throw away. It is true that trash tells a story. I often wonder why someone would get rid of this…. or that. Things that are fabulous among the rubble, no matter your sense of style. Trash is an exercise in diversity.
Working in a reuse store gives you a birds-eye view of the excess of American culture. Imagine creating 30-40 jobs just sorting out and selling old stuff: the cast-offs, dirty and dusty, waiting to be claimed and given a little TLC. That is what we do every day.
Just yesterday I dragged this chair home with me. While on our evening walk, the dog and I examined it with our cellphone flashlight and carried it at least half a mile. Juggling the poo bag, the found rocking chair, and the leash was a workout rivaling Crossfit. We did make it all the way home in tact.
A rocking chair story.
Behold this beauty! I have only one question for you all: why are we wasting our time shopping for anything new? Let your trash tell its’ story.
That depends on you. Right now, life is too full. I am grasping at inspiration like a drowning victim reaching for air. Buried beneath a barrage of deadlines and yet still able to find hours to waste online. Craving a moment of beauty, no matter how insignificant. Reaching for hope.
Brooklyn Bridge walk to clear your mind!
Inspiration is for those that are alert, tuned in and ready to catch it when it comes, for it is fleeting.
Inspiration is the glimmer in that homeless man’s eyes when you’ve just given him your gloves. Inspiration is a moment by the fire, laughing with friends. Inspiration is quiet and reflective, when you are worried about the well-being of your people. Inspiration is the grief that makes us carry on, in spite of ourselves.
Fountain in New York City!
Seek that which inspires you. Maybe it is the comfort of the holidays or your family. Maybe it is solace in your work or a walk in the woods. Maybe it is just curled up with a book. Pay attention, because as the philosopher Hannah Arendt says, “it is our duty to understand” and through inspiration comes understanding.
I remember that awful day like it was yesterday. Walking out of my twin sister’s house as my big sister walked in, she was returning from an MRI scan with her oldest son. I smiled at her, I felt light and happy as I walked out into the sunshine behind her. I said, “I guess we’ll know in a week?” and she said warily, “I guess.”
She called me on the phone a mere 3 hours later. She was breathless, I was clueless. The next few words from her would change my life forever. She said, “I’m on the way to the emergency room with V, they found a mass in his brain and they told me I need to get there immediately.” I instantly felt that awful punch in the gut, the breath now stolen from me as well. I felt panicked, I felt my throat constrict, my…