Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Letting Go of That Which Once Meant a Lot

Movement out the window catches my attention. The brook runs high and fast from the earlier rain. The water’s fierceness draws me, for a brief moment, from the chaos swirling inside me. My mind is in turmoil.

My mother looks down on me from the perch where I keep her photo. Would she approve? Perhaps not for herself had she still been alive; she loved to hold onto stuff. But I have to believe that she would understand I have to do this. She would definitely like to see me get rid of music she didn’t like or approve of. Yeah, she would understand. She would support me. She smiles at me from her photo.

Today I went through my couple hundred CDs and half… or almost half went into a box to go out to the curb. I don’t know why I hang onto some of this. I can’t even really say it’s for the memories. Maybe the real reason is because it is MINE; my stuff, stuff that once meant a lot to me.

The key here is: once meant a lot. So, just because it meant a lot at one time, does that mean I have to keep it forever? For what purpose do I even care anymore? Many things have been stored in boxes for over 10 years. All it does is take up space – of which I have precious little now. What’s the problem in letting it go?

Letting Go of Stuff

The past is stacked
into a box
with care
soon to be carried
to the curb
free for the taking

Do it!
Don’t think!
Don’t remember!
Don’t feel!

I wrap my heart
in numbness
lest it starts to break
lest I refuse to let go

The past is 
the past 
and not needed
today or tomorrow

I hold myself tight
lock down feelings
so I won’t miss
what was once dear

I have to do this

Too late
my throat closes
my eyes leak
already I feel the loss.

---SW 09/2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

Rewriting Older Poems

In today’s blog, I use a couple pages pulled from the old book which were written in a waiting room. Waiting rooms of one form or another; whether it’s for a doctor’s appointment and car repair, and the time spent in limbo is similar. I hate the blaring TVs everywhere (and in restaurants, too). Heaven forbid people are alone with their own thoughts for awhile.

Instead they need to be assailed with the media trying to push products at them or some soap opera putting more drama to the senses. Some places blare the news and it’s all about disaster or the most recent government program taking away people’s rights (all in the pretext of protection or making life better – the question being making life better for who) or big business running another mom and pop store out of business. Is it to have someone else’s problems relieve those waiting of their own? Is it the need to be told what products they need to make their lives better? Is it only for distraction?

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy TV. I spend a couple hours watching every night, but the shows are my choices and I’m very fussy at what I subject myself to. I have a DVR to record the shows I watch so I can fast-forward through commercials – which I find absolutely disgusting. 

I do not want this in my life. Waiting time for me is used to write or read or meditate. The limbo-ness of waiting is an opportunity for reflection. I certainly don’t want to be bombarded by negative news excitement or have commercialism shoved down my throat. People don’t realize what the repetition of the same types of media messaging does to them. (Think about it – exercise and training is about repetition so the muscles, body, and mind can react quickly when needed. So when repetitive commercial messaging or having some official tell you over and over… it’s similar. Your body and mind takes it in. You believe what they are saying even when you, at first, don’t agree. It’s like being brainwashed.) 

But I digress. This topic is about waiting rooms. When I can, if no one is around, I will shut off the TV so I can sit quietly.

Waiting Room TV

I’ve been here before
been more affected before

I remember the feeling
remember the fear, the worry
the unfairness of it all
as some government news
attempts to control everything

I watch concern on others’ faces
hear their despair
feel their sorrow

It matches my own
and I refuse 
to subject myself
to the added stress.

(originally written 07/10/09; edited and titled 09/28/15 – SW)

And this one:


“Computers are down”
people panic
can’t function
don’t know what to do
don’t know how to 
handwrite a form
communication shuts down
work stops

When technology fails
life comes to a standstill

I pull out
a notebook
and write

And this one: 

TV Distraction

Breathe in
breathe out
an attempt to shut out
other noise

Sharp voices penetrate
blaring siren on TV
pull further in
breathe in
breathe out
concentrate on feet
center and ground

Shut out economic concerns
block out job loss fears
try not to feel it
as another business closes
desks sit empty
phones unmanned

Waiting seems forever
when listening 

to sad news. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Words Come

Poems come to me when I’m out and about. I always carry a notebook and pens, as I’ve said often. I write when I’m walking. Words flow when I’m driving, but I won’t stop then and usually I forget by the time I reach my destination. I tried doing the recorder while driving. It doesn’t work for me.

This is how my philosophy about the muse came about. When She (the words) come, I have to pay attention in that instant. If I don’t, She goes away. She demands immediate attention. When She gives attention to you, you’d better take the time to listen to her. Thankfully She doesn’t hold a grudge and will come back another time.

The notebook comes out when I’m in a restaurant waiting for a meal. Different atmospheres will sometimes evoke different feelings. Of course the current state of mind plays a role in what I write, too. Whatever comes out, I’m always amazed and pleased.

I knew a woman once who used to write these amazing, funny poems about food. My food poems tend to be how I try to use food to make me feel better when I’m down… and how it doesn’t work, ha ha. As much as I love certain foods and food can certainly be cheerful, it doesn’t help solve problems.

I wrote this poem in April of 2009 at my favorite restaurant, the Flying Goose Pub in New London. (I always like the words in the first two lines and have used them before and since). By this time, my mother’s health was really going downhill and it was hard to be away from her and I never knew what I’d find coming home. Would she be okay? Would she be miserable and awful to me because I’d been gone so long? (I’d usually try to bring her home something to eat to appease her.)

Don’t get me wrong. I loved her so very much! But it was hard. She’d try to be understanding when I went off. Sometimes when I got home, she’d be excited to hear about my adventures. Other times she’d be very angry and upset with me because I’d left her alone. So, I never knew which mom I’d come home to. I understood, too. It was hard for her.

Emotions Unreleased

My heart bleeds tears
my eyes will not shed
the knot in my gut 
will not allow release
It’s 1 p.m.
and I wonder 
if eating anything
will help

Driving for two hours
did not erase
the sadness
in my soul
The solitude
did not bring the comfort
usually found
while out and about

Maybe the weather
affects my mood
Maybe if it was warm and sunny
my mood would be also.

Friendships can ebb and flow. Sometimes words can sever a relationship. Sometimes boundaries are crossed. Sometimes ties need to be severed. It doesn’t have to be forever, though at the time, emotions are strong and the ego screams, “Never again!”

After some time, these words came to me. I don’t normally include little snide comments that my conscious mind can throw in, but in this case, I kept the comment.

Below are two poems written about broken friendship. Words spoken can easily be misconstrued or the hurt can cause such a spiraling down that it can take a long time to recover from. 

Friendship Betrayed

I thought by now
my heart would have healed
I thought by now
words would have lessened
the pain

But still I fear

What trust I had
has long gone

When will it return?
will I ever get it back?

(Maybe not where you’re concerned)

(originally written 04/23/09; edited and titled 09/26/15 – SW)

Did You Know

The chill in the air
matches that in my heart

Did you know your words
would cut my very soul?

Did you know I’d retreat
into a dark, damp abyss?

Did you know I would give up
everything I was building for myself?

You did not call
nor did I call you

Neither willing
to apologize
neither willing
to acknowledge wrong

I cannot face the distance
in your voice
nor the accusation
in your eyes

My loneliness 
eats at my joy
I will never
be the same

For now I will be alone
you cannot accept me
as I am
and I can’t be anything else

Did you know your words
caused me to change my entire life direction?

(originally written 04/23/09; edited 09/26/15 – SW) 

I’ve not talked much about this happening. I’ve not said what really happened to me or how I totally turned from a path I worked towards for many years. But I turned my back on all the training and the practices and focused on being only an artist and writer. I’ve never told anyone how it affected me; never said how I’m still affected.

I forgive other and self. Five years later I am happy to say the friendship rekindled. There are still scars. Someday I may talk about it fully. Not to place blame or find fault for there are at least two sides to every story. I played a part and I’m not blameless.

I would have been a great soul healer. It’s still in me. But the other path was chosen and I don’t have regrets. I love being an artist and writer!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Returning to a Childhood Home

I am saddened whenever I ride by the home(s) where I grew up. Though we didn’t have a lot of money, we had enough. Though there were unhappy times, as is wont in any life, for the most part, we had a great childhood. Don, my brother, and I often talk of it.

Life was simple. A lot of time was spent outside; especially wandering wooded trails, climbing trees, building tree forts, playing in brooks and fields, riding bikes, playing hop-scotch in the road, and erecting big snow forts with tunnels at the end of the driveway in the winter. (Things parents now-a-days would not allow their children to do.) We waited for the school bus without a parent present and sometimes we’d walk far down the street to wait with other kids.

We grew up, as kids do, and moved away from the childhood town. The years passed and eventually there were moves to the other side of the state. Going back to the old home area is seldom done, but when I do, there is always a sadness. We can never go back to childhood, to those simpler times…

I want to do more thinking and talking about this. It feel like it was a lifetime ago. It was. There are stories to tell, stories lost...

Home Town Return

The claws of unfamiliar
in a familiar place 
rip holes in my heart

Recognition brings sadness
the familiar
deteriorated or gone

With brightness glare
new sites 
dot the once-open fields
and woods where
we played hide ‘n seek
now filled 
with buildings and concrete

The many changes 
make the landscape
hardly recognizable
My stomach knots,
heart pounds
sadness permeates

I try to remember
yester year
it is but a faded memory

The wooded trails
I once walked
are no more

What was familiar
will no longer be…

even memory fades.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

When the Past Echoes to Today

In the reworking of the old poems to get them on the computer, I am surprised to find I still hold the feelings in my heart. Oh, the moment is not exactly the same, but there are echoes through time. I can still feel those emotions even though I am not in the same place.

Time, circumstances, and personal growth have made changes within, and yet, there’s that part of me that knows, that remembers, that understands. Some things don’t change much. There are things in a person’s soul, things embedded deep inside, that will always be there.

Maybe I am a person who carries sadness. That doesn’t have to be considered bad or negative. I will even admit there are times when I enjoy being in that place because it is a chance for exploration and discovery. I find it rather fascinating… when I can move beyond the personal in-the-moment emotional outburst, that is.

Writing allows me that chance to explore. How do I describe what I feel when often there are no real words? How do I let you know that I find excitement in these discoveries? 

It’s a definite treasure hunt. Find the right words to share pain while not making the writing sound depressed and unhappy. Find the right words to bring beauty to unpleasant moments. Find the right words to convey falling down into the dark depths of the well and crawling back out to vibrant sunshine and life. 

Writing poetry that comes from those darkest places is like shining a beautiful light into the soul. The words enable me to find my way out. What joy to see that light! What joy to put the words on paper or the computer and see that I’ve done something amazing. What joy to be alive to experience these things.

In Limbo

I don’t know when
I quit shedding tears

Sorrow gathers in my heart
like autumn bees
sucking the last nectar
from a dead rose

It doesn’t matter

I sit with this moment
of sadness
knowing joy is just
around the bend 
of a mind
when it agrees to yield

I don’t know why
mountains shed color
and new coats
shiver in different hues

What once my heart
called delicious
is now stale

Yesterday’s hunger
Does not satisfy
the cold breath
of a frigid morn

My mind overheats
and I lie
on a bed of coals
waiting for spring.

(Original writing 11/07/08; edited 09/23/15 –SW)

For the Beloved

Snow fell 
ice formed
walls came down 
for a brief glimpse
doors slammed shut 

I could never be
I acknowledged

But you knew
and you waited
with a patience
I could never 

Oh, Beloved,
when summer
becomes fall
will you still love me?

(Originally written 02/09; edited 09/23/15 – SW) 

I occasionally write about the Beloved, although I’ve not shared many of those poems. Maybe it’s because I am unsure how to describe Beloved and is it THE Beloved or is it just Beloved?

Beloved isn’t any one person, or even a person per se. I don’t know if Beloved is God or Great Spirit… Maybe Beloved is different for each one. I’m not even sure if Beloved is male or female, though most of the time, I feel She is female. But it doesn’t matter.

Beloved… higher spirit, my higher spirit, it doesn’t matter. There is something greater, something beyond this realm, something watching, waiting to be acknowledged…

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Walk in the Past

Today in looking through that old notebook to record poems written there onto the computer, I reach the year 2007 and 2008. Here are writings of doctors’ appointments and long waits in waiting rooms. Here is some of the anguish as we dealt with my mother’s declining health (mental and physical) and my own declining mental well-being. I could not be the daughter she wanted me to be and that cut a hole in my heart.

Feeling Lost

Asking questions
I cannot answer
searching for truths
only she can find

I soothe the energies
reach invisible arms
of comfort
of listening
of understanding

I know the pain
I once walked
these very shores
crying my heart out
to the wind.


Tunnels and rock
square, hard, and dusty
the narrowing chokes
breath and mind
saps all strength

Nothing to feel
but fear and terror
filling my entire soul
I can’t go on

What was this
that happened
the other night?

What was this fear 
that had me trapped
in my own mind?

I fought my way
out of the dream
missing the message.

And, of course, there are words of past relationships:


I thought I was
but I was wrong

I thought he was
but he wasn’t

Was I wrong to trust?

I wonder
but I cannot be
anything else
but what I am. 


Words cut deep
a cold jagged knife
shreading my soul, 
leaving me questioning
my very being

Hurtful words ripped
through my heart
creating a bleeding gaping hole
filled with tears
my eyes cannot shed

I have become
an empty wasteland
in a body lost of joy
sorrow grows like mold
its seeping ugliness
spreads through my mind 
screaming obscenities
to the wind

What did I do wrong?

My cries echo
through the barren canyons
of my mind
until my tongue lies still
and eyes leak the pain
I cannot hide

For now
I am dead
there’s no hiding
from the grief
of shattered friendship

(From two poems originally written 09/12/08; edited 09/22/15 – SW)


To heal
I must let
time and nature
melt the pain

My soul
I must sink 
into the earth
where the womb
of the Great Mother
will bring me
back to life.

--SW 09/12/08

Monday, September 21, 2015

Back to the Roots of My Creativity

Selling the Bradford house and preparing to move took the entire spring and summer seasons. My entire life was wrapped up in downsizing and moving. Life, my artist’s life, was put on hold as the stress built. This week will be the fourth in the new house… which I cannot call home… yet. 

The artist’s call is growing strong again, and I steal time from unpacking and organizing to catch up on some much-needed creativity. It’s my strongest suit – writing – which has saved me so many times in the past and will save me now.

Today I continue going through an old notebook to record onto the computer the writings I recorded while out and about for the past ten years. I am trying to decide what to do with them. Many should be gathered into a book; a book about my life. I’m not quite sure what to call this new book or even how to organize it. Maybe that doesn’t matter at the moment. Maybe it’s good enough to save the writings to that folder of “memoirs” or the one of “poems.”

In This Instant

I have no words
for the emptiness
that waits in my soul

I have no words
to describe the way
I experience life

Too often I am dimmed
my tongue not seeing
what my eyes hear;
my mind is speechless

I touch a rose
but cannot decipher
the language
that wraps itself
around my heart
in tissue paper

In this instant
I am nothing.

In this instant
I am everything.

In this instant
there is no I.

This instant
is the simpleness
(or the greatness)
of just being
in a moment.

(Originally written 09/13/06 and edited 09/21/15 --SW)
This is an example of what I feel when I am able to reach a certain… space… within myself. It is within me, and yet, it comes through me from somewhere else when I am open to whatever there is. This is what poetry is like for me. I sit and wait for words. 

It is about opening to something greater than just the self. It’s moving beyond the mind chatter. It’s about trusting that something will come and whether it is a bubbling up from the well inside or it comes from somewhere “out there:” my higher power, God, Great Spirit, or whatever, doesn’t matter.

Trust is the issue. Trusting that whatever happens in that moment of sitting is the right thing. Sometimes the words that surface don’t make much sense, but if I am patient and trust that everything is all right, the writing happens. And although most of my poems are short, there is often a surprise as the ending isn’t what I expect.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Utilizing Space

One of the most important concerns in downsizing is utilizing space. This has been difficult for me because (not only do I have way too much stuff) I’m used to spreading out and not always putting things away thinking I’ll get back to it later. When space is limited, that luxury is no longer wise… not that it was wise before.

A quick look at the bedroom closet space in this house would make you think it’s ample enough. There is the wire shelving system making the one main shelf with clothes hanging below. Then on either side of the closet, the previous owner built wood shelves. This looks great except for one big issue: if there are any clothes hanging, you can’t get to the shelves without pushing the clothes to the side and messing them up.

An upcoming project will be to re-organize the closets to best utilize the space. I’ve seen some great organizing systems. It gets pricey, but in the end, if I can use all the space I can and have each section easily accessible and organized, it will be worth it.

And staying on the subject of space, this all makes me think about those who design and install cabinets and such. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what they are thinking or do they even consider how the space will be realistically used. 

The bottom kitchen cabinets in this place are one big cavernous space with no shelves. The counter is deep which means items get pushed to the back of the cabinets below and you have to get down on your hands and knees and crawl inside to get them or to clean. (With my short arms, I can’t do it, nor can I reach inside to the back of the corner cabinets... let alone get down on my knees.)

There are many places in a house where space could be better utilized. That’s something people moving to tiny homes (and those that build the tiny homes) are learning to do. Perhaps those designing and building bigger homes could learn from the tiny home people. 

Everyone needs to be more aware of space and how to best make use of space. It’s another form of creativity after all.

Settling-in Goes So Slow

Sometimes I feel it will take me forever to get settled in. Do I like this house? Not yet, not really. Right now it’s just a place I live. I come here because Pele is here and I have to come home to my fluff-ball kitty. I have met a couple of neighbors and that’s good. However, this doesn’t feel like home. It hasn’t been Sasha-fied, and it isn’t what I want…yet.

What I want is taking time. Yes, everyone warned me. Yes, I need to be more patient. I can’t have it all now. It will come, it will… it will… but until then, I can’t help but feel… uninspired.
People ask, “How do you like your new home?” I can’t lie. “It’s just okay.”

A lot of it is a waiting game. I still need to get rid of a lot. I can’t do this until I get that done and I can’t do that until tradesmen can fit me into their schedules to do their part and they are all so busy. I’m living in limbo with messes all over the place and although I have all kinds of tote boxes, some are not quite the right size or exact shape for what I need. (sigh)

One good note this week was that my electrician friend came to change the old bug-filled range hood for the new one. The new one is on a circulator and does not require venting to the outside. And that means when I do my kitchen renovation this winter, I can have the stove moved out of its squished-in corner to the other side of the kitchen where there will be more prep and cook space. That will be so awesome! I don’t like having the stove in a cramped corner and that spot will be much better for the refrigerator. 

Mike also put in a dimmer for the lamp over the table. Now it is a much better work space. We also made plans for the generator which I hope to have installed before winter.

Another happy note for the week was selling a couple of items on Craig’s List. I was extremely pleased that my favorite old writing desk with file cabinet and printer stand found a good home. More things are ready to go out to the curb for free pickings while others were photographed and listed for sale on Craig’s List. 

Some things have to stay packed until the kitchen reno is done and others until next spring when the garage and mudroom are built. With such cramped space in the spare room, having to keep those things in storage takes up space I could use for art. Such as it is – as I said above – patience.

There’s still so much to go through, so much that cannot be kept. I have to get rid of lots more. It’s hard, but I am getting better at it. I want to feel happy here. I don’t, yet, but I will.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Organizing is Sometimes Messy

Nan came over Wednesday afternoon and we tackled what I am calling the front room (which is the second bedroom and the one facing the road). The front room is mostly going to be used for photography projects and charcoal drawing. One wall is designated as storage and I’m in the process of stacking components to use the entire wall for regular office supplies and smaller art supplies. Pieces will need to be attached to the wall for stability before I can fully stock the shelves and cabinets sections.

We moved things around and were able to set up tables along the opposite wall on which I will do matting and framing. The tables are set on bed risers which enable an easier height on which to work while standing, and it allows the drawer units holding most of the mats to fit nicely underneath.

An old stereo cabinet fit into the corner between the end of the table and the closet door and will hold bigger mats, clearbags, and papers needing to lie flat. The oldest computer desk set, which for the past 10 years has been my writing desk and which I’ve been trying to sell, fit in front of the window for the time being. The first unit my son, Adam, made me to hold photo albums is on the other side of the window. It doesn’t quite fit in the space, but because Adam made it, I want to keep it (along with the other two units he made which are in the living room).

Yes, there are still things needing to be put away, but there was a big feeling of accomplishment. There was space in the middle of the room! There is still one storage cabinet which I don’t know where it will fit yet. Maybe it won’t. We both felt good with the day’s work.

The back room (the third bedroom facing the back of the house) will be for most art storage and currently holds most of the still-full plastic tote containers. Most of the kitchen supplies are here, too, while I wait for the kitchen to be renovated this winter. The unit with the widest shelves (which holds the 13x19, 18x24, and 21x34 sizes which also need to lie flat) will have to go in this room. And right now with all the tote boxes still full, there’s no room to set up that unit. My books still all need to stay packed because my bookcases are being used for pantry items.

Yesterday, Nan again came over. We tackled the closets to better organize those areas. Now that I have so little space, it galls me to have to save seven years’ worth of old receipts (which is what I’ve always been told is necessary). The suitcases were able to nest inside one another, but wouldn’t fit under my bed and have to take up closet space in the back closet (the biggest closet in the house and the only one with a light).

The closet in the front room will hold frames and anything to do with photography. It’s nice that the previous owner added nice shelves in the closets, but if there are any clothes hung on hangers, you can’t get to the shelves. OK, I admit, there will be other stuff in there, too. 

Nan moved hanging clothes to the back room closet which has more room and shelves are only on one side. She moved things that will go in each of the closets while I went through some of the boxes for things to compact or get rid of. Yes, more things went out to the curb for free and some will be photographed to sell.

I think Nan is finally getting totally exasperated with me and all my stuff. She is very tidy and a minimalist and I’m a bit of a pack-rat. Yes, I’ve gotten rid of a lot, but I still have a lot. But, each time I go through a box, something will go away; sometimes many things. If it wasn’t for Nan, I probably would just stack all those boxes and never go through them. (My sons will thank her, too, because I’ve always joked that I was going to leave it all for them – and they don’t want the stuff.)

We piled boxes in the living room for me to go through nights while watching TV. Part of me screams, “Where am I going to put all this?” While another part of me knows it will all come together. I do have bins and files and places where most will eventually fit nice, neat, and organized. What won’t fit will go bye-bye. I no longer want to be a cluttered pack-rat. What fit in a 3,000 SF plus house will not fit in a home less than 1,200 SF.

So, while yesterday it looks like we made more of a mess (as compared to Wednesday), sometimes you need to make a mess to better organize. It will all come together. I just have to be patient. That’s hard when I want it all done now. Plus, if it sits in my living room looking messy, I’ll have to do something about it. I can’t wait for it all to look nice with drawers and bins labeled so I know where to find things.

It will be done.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Old Writings

I carry a notebook wherever I go. I’ve been doing this for years because, even when I’m out walking or sitting, waiting, words come in those moments of contemplation. It’s like a door to my mind opens to a flow of thoughts.

These snippets have been collected for a long time and many are lost. Sometimes I’ve re-copied them into poems or other writings, but mostly they have remained anonymous in these little books. This type of writing is a form meditation for me.

Often when I’m writing poetry, it is what it is. I write, then I’m done. The poem is immediately finished. Other times the collections in the little books are simple thoughts that don’t go far. Sometimes I get distracted and never get back to finish that thought process.

Today I decided to take one of the little books and type the writings onto the computer. Most do not translate word for word, because I can’t help but edit and add to the writing. The initial words are like the underpainting to a piece of art. Layers need to be built. 

One of the topics that often comes up is about loneliness and being alone. There is a difference. I’ve learned a lot about myself through these contemplations and writings. Yes, I may live alone now, but even when I lived with my mom and aunt, I did go through periods of being lonely. Even now, I slip into those feelings… which I find very interesting.

Maybe someday I should gather these together into another book. (Yeah, like I need to be writing another book… I still have two in the works, ha ha.)

Terms of Loneliness

Coming to terms 
with being alone, with loneliness
where I fight my way 
through the mazes of humanity
where no one recognizes me

I wander streets
feeling cut off and alone
those whom I love and bond with
too busy to accompany me
on this trek of solitude
(no one could on this type of journey)

What does it mean
to be lonely?
How does it compare
to being alone?

Only my heart
can tell the difference
when my feet are tired
and there’s no one
to rub them

Only my heart
can know
when I put no time limit
to my wanderings
and no one is home
to worry that supper
is not on the table

Only my heart
can see
with eyes piercing darkness
looking into the shadows
of my soul

Loneliness is when I am alone
and wanting companionship 
where there is none

Loneliness is being afraid
of being alone
fear that demons inside might waken

Loneliness if being afraid
to be alone with myself
Loneliness is for finding my mettle.

(Am I afraid to be alone? Not really. I am never truly alone. 
I only need to open my heart and I’m surrounded.)

(Written 05/08/06; edited 09/15/15—SW)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Choosing Wall Colors

I finally contacted a painter who will come next week to give an estimate on doing my walls. There was a part of me that wanted to do it myself, but it would take forever and there are places I cannot reach even with a ladder. Then there’s the safety aspect of climbing up and down even a step stool.

I’ve been collecting paint chips for years. This morning I organized them by color into baggies because they kept falling out of the folder. The ones I liked the best, I taped to walls to look at a few days. Yeah, I know, a small paint swatch cannot give the complete picture of what an entire wall would look like.

I loved the colors I had in Bradford, but I’m not sure I should do the same. Originally I was going to do so, but because this house gets less natural light, I’m wondering if I should go a shade or two lighter. I’m considering doing the bedroom and master bathroom in purples, but the swatches are either too red/pink or too blue. None are exactly what I want.

Color is important to me. I need to have bright, happy colors on the walls. Vibrant colors (and I’m not talking garish) help my moods. My favorite shades of yellow are also good for showing off pictures and drawings hung on the walls.

It’s still going to take awhile before this house fully becomes Sasha-fied. Until then I feel like I’m plodding along and it’s just an okay house. I’ve yet to feel real excitement about it. There are so many things missing which is why I wanted to get more done before I moved in. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option.

I didn’t want to take a year or years to get this place the way I want it. I want to get back to my art and my life. I can’t do that until I am comfortable living here. I worry about the winter… but I just have to take that one small step at a time. It will all eventually come together.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

More Downsizing

This morning I am taking photos of items I put aside to sell. I need to have all the information together before I post to an online Facebook site for selling. If you have over three, you have to list them together.

This is not easy. While I do have some items together, I will be coming across others I no longer want. Some, I’m tempted to keep… I hesitate… but I have to get rid of items. There isn’t enough space here to save everything. My dad made that or that was my mother’s or maybe I’ll use that someday. I know, if I’ve had it for a number of years and I’ve not used it, I probably still won’t. And to hold onto something because it belonged to a family member — no, I don’t have room for that any more.

Then there are those items that came apart for moving and the pieces somehow got separated. I can’t sell part of something and I know the other pieces are here somewhere. In the meantime, the bulky part of it is taking up much-needed space.

I no longer have the space for multiple easels. (I had a habit of having five or six charcoal drawings or a multi-media painting on various easels in three different rooms. I can’t do that any more.) That means one stand-up and three table-top easels will be going bye bye.

Sometimes it’s just so much to think about with everything else going on.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I Admit...

I admit…

One thing about having a darker house, it stays cooler on these hot days. It works well for me as I’m not a hot-sun person. The mornings have been refreshing.

Yesterday I went off for a photo job and friends Nan and Clare McCarthy came over to help organize my things and make things disappear while I wasn’t around to say nay. I admit, I need help downsizing and tend to hold onto things. Friends are convincing me to throw things out.

Later they stood over me as I went through my tons of clothes. Maybe another thing I need to admit is that when I get depressed, I spend money. Oops, that’s a habit to break – and surprising for someone who doesn’t like to shop. Lots of items got taken to the swap shop in Hillsborough.

Today, the plumber showed up and I picked out new faucets from his catalog. I don’t want to deal with cheaper fixtures that end up leaking in a year or so. This time what is installed will be guaranteed. Another lesson about money is to know when to put quality over price. He’ll start the reno work on the bathroom early next week. Hopefully, it will only take a couple of days. I’m excited about having a new walk-in shower and vanity with faucet handles that are not yoga positioned (one turning one way and the other opposite like yoga poses). 

After finishing my editing work for the InterTown Record, I took photos of items I want to sell. Some were posted on a couple of online area garage sales. The first item sold right off the bat. I like that, but there’s still a lot to get rid of before I can fully set up the back rooms into usable work and storage spaces… and before I can paint to give my walls a happy color.

A third thing I have to admit is that friends were right. There was so much I wanted to get done to this place before I moved in and it didn’t happen. Friends encouraged me to be patient, to wait until I moved in to get the “feel for the place.” Oh, I did not want to do that. I want what I wanted and I wanted it done.

And now I admit that I’m glad I had to wait. On some things that I ran right out and bought, I wish I’d waited. (Not all, but some). There is something to sitting in the house for awhile and letting the rooms say what is needed. Yes, the wall colors I want are still the same, but one thing that is different is how I am an envisioning living room window treatments. 

Sunlight or lack thereof, views of the neighbors’ houses, and size and position of the windows play a part. I originally was going with mini-blinds, but due to the height of the house, I’m not sure I want to block the light coming in the upper part of the window. I only need to cover the lower part of the window to block the neighbor homes during evening hours. The only time I would need the blinds is late summer afternoon when the heat of the sun is beating through. 

I admit I will often take the easy way, then suffer the consequences.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Day 9: The Sorting Continues

I suppose I could say I did something artsy this morning. (Gosh, how long has it been since I’ve done any art?) I sorted all my pens into their respective colors.

Oh, have I ever said that I’m a pen-a-holic? I bet there are over a hundred pens, markers, and highlighters in as many colors as I can get. (I don’t know why I have a lot of highlighters. I seldom use them.) I don’t have enough containers to hold the various pens to keep the colors separate; and yes, I have enough that there could be separate containers for almost every color. I can’t resist buying colorful pens.

I’ve also been weeding out tools. How did I ever end up with so many? Last night I came across a brand new set of doll making tools. Why would I ever have bought doll making tools? I’m still in the process of gathering all tools together. Then I will go through them again and keep what I will use and get rid of the rest. Some are crappy and some might have come from my dad, but others are fairly new and in good condition. And I haven’t even tackled the huge tool chest in the shed!

I hung a shower curtain in the guest bathroom. I’ll be using that room when the plumber begins demolishing the master bath to get the tub out and install a new walk-in shower. I am hoping he can start that next week.

I so miss having a linen closet, though. Eventually when I get through things (and sometimes I do a little weeding out, then go back later and weed out a little more as things are still in boxes), I’ll end up with more space. I want to set up shelving units in the spare room to hold storage boxes that are properly labeled and organized.

I’m eager to get it all done, but realistically, I know it will take awhile. At the moment, my printers aren’t hooked up, I’m waiting for electricians, and more, but it’s slowly coming together and feeling like home.

It’s a more noisy neighborhood and I have to get used to the bangs and bumps (and acorns falling on the roof and rolling off — which drives Pele crazy). But I’ll adjust. I think I’ll be OK here.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Day 8 and More Progress

Yesterday I treated myself to a pedicure. Beverly Skillings of Tropical Shades Nails in Hillsborough does an awesome job. It was nice to be pampered after all the stress I've been under lately.

Her husband, Tim, was there and offered to come look at my washing machine problem. I stopped at the post office and got the key to my new mailbox. I was home and doing up odds and ends when Tim arrived.

He pulled out the washing machine to check the hoses behind it and everything looked okay. We ran it through a cycle so he could see what happens. He explained how these newer front loading machines work and that the tub doesn’t fill up with water like the top loaders. Water fill a bottom container and as the barrel spins, the water is splashed around and through the close. This is a more efficient method and uses less water.

The OE error message light came on at the spin cycle which left water in the bottom of the barrel. Come to find out, these washing machines have a filter in the front at the bottom. When Tim opened the little door, water poured out. I handed him a dishpan to catch the water and he pulled out the filter. Ewwww, it was full of small stones and dirt! And more water. How could so many stones be in a washing machine?

“What did the previous owner do for work?” Tim asked. I had no idea. The woman I bought the house had bought it second hand. I was assured the machine wasn’t very old and that LG is not a cheap brand.

No wonder the drain was plugged. What a mess. Tim cleaned out the filter and used paper towels to reach into the round slot where the filter goes to pull out more yuck. We ran the machine through another cycle and the sludge was far less. At least we got it to spin out.

After Tim left, I put a load of towels and curtains in the washer. The machine cycled all the way through and after I put the load in the dryer, I pulled the washer filter. A small amount of water came out along with material that reminded me of shingles. I also found flat, black irregular shaped small chunks in the conditioner cup and I cleaned that as best I could. The only thing I can figure is the previous owner was probably a roofer or did some other kind of construction.

I still have to find my way around these machines. I tried to look up directions online and although there is an operating instructions line, when I click on it, it says “Page not available.” There are so many bells and whistles and buttons and most of the buttons I push, nothing happens.

I also talked to an electrician about checking out the circuit breaker problem. I don’t dare plug in any of my printers… or any other electrical items until the issue is resolved.

I’m dying to get some paint on the walls to brighten this place up. These walls are so boring. I need help, though. I know I can’t reach the upper parts even with a step ladder. And in my shape, I’m not sure I can get up and down a step ladder safely.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Day Seven at Ellen Brook

I want things done so I can go back to my artist’s life. There’s still much unpacking and organizing to do, things to get rid of because there’s not much space here, or rather, as much space here.

Yesterday an issue came up with the washing machine. It’s a front loading LG. I’m not familiar with that brand and as it came with the house, there are no manuals. There are so many buttons and such that it’s terribly confusing. The wash cycle went through, then an error message flashed OE. 

I went online to look. OE means there is a kink or blockage to the drain hose or pump. I certainly can’t move this huge monstrosity to look behind it and the hoses I could see looked fine. I put in a call to a plumber, but he never called back. I now have a couple of numbers for appliance repairmen. I just fear that I’ll pay one of the latter to have him tell me it’s a plumbing issue.

Needless to say, I ended up hauling the wet clothes out and hand rinsing them in the sink before putting them in the dryer. Of course more dryer time was needed because I didn’t have the strength to wring the clothes out well enough. Still, the load got done. There is water in the bottom of the washer tub.

Nan came over later and we went through more boxes to consolidate products like multiples of cleaning supplies (remember I came from a three-floor home). I won’t need to buy any of those supplies for a long time.  We unloaded my car which has been sitting for a few days. (After having a garage for so long, I forgot how hot a car gets sitting in the sun.) Then we rearranged furniture. It’s getting there.  

I can’t wait to start painting the walls, but I don’t think I’ll be able to reach the top. I’m not sure my step ladder is tall enough and reaching over my head to do the cutting in wreaks havoc on my shoulders and back.

But I’m getting there. It’s starting to feel like home.

Morning Six at Ellen Brook

I have yet to fully establish a morning routine here. In Bradford, I’d go downstairs to make coffee then go back upstairs with a first cup to do my morning writing. When that was done, I’d get cleaned up and dressed and go downstairs to get on to the day’s work. Here I’ve been getting dressed before doing the writing.

The tub in this place is very narrow and while the water pressure is good, taking a shower is not comfortable. It’s difficult to step over the tub wall to get into the tub and then I feel pressed between the back wall and the shower curtain. Every time I turn around, the curtain pulls because it’s stuck to me and water sprays out onto the floor. 

The doorstop for the bathroom door is about four inches from the tub and the nearest wall. So not only do I have to be very careful stepping over the tub wall and down to the floor (the room floor is lower than the tub floor) while being careful of back and knees, I have to watch out I don’t step on that door stop. That would definitely cause some physical damage. 

But I am clean and feeling fresh. Laundry is in the washing machine. I’ve got the sliding door open a bit and the front and back doors to let in fresh air. Plus it keeps Pele busy going from door to door to check out what’s going on outside.  I’d put up a bird feeder pole that attaches to the deck railing and I went out and put up a suet cake and a seed tray. The little chickadees are chirping away.

It’s a challenge going from a 3,000 SF three-floor home with an oversized two-car garage and large shed to 1,100 SF single-floor double wide with small shed and no garage. I had sets of tools everywhere and art supplies and office supplies on each floor. Packing all that into this smaller home has been crazy. Right now I feel I can hardly move. The excess has to go.

Last night I started going through boxes to sort items. There were old receipts over seven-years-old which can be discarded, multiple tubes of glue for craft projects, various kinds of tape, I don’t need three hammers (and that’s all I’ve come across so far), paperwork never filed away properly, and more. More stuff will be put to the curb and some I will try to sell.