the root of the root.

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

 

– ee cummings, from i carry your heart with me
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I have been blogging for a long time.

It might not seem it from here and the (relatively) short posting history at this site, but I have been online and creating content in blogs or journals or the like since 1998. Which is a LONG time.

After reading this post on Pancakes & French Fries, it made me think about why I blog.

It’s definitely not for page views, put it that way. :) I’m lucky if I have more than a visitor or two a day!

I guess, for me, I write because I have to. I have always needed to write regularly. Purge this cluttered mind of mine. I also write to connect. To make connections in my own head, sort things out. I have been able to connect with other like-minded people – or at least find them and read them, even if they don’t read what I’m putting out there.

I do find that blogging is becoming less personal than it used to be. Definitely.

I met most of my closest contacts online through blogging. Well, journalling. I have followed some of these girls (women) for well over ten years. Moving from place to place, blog address to blog address. Back then, the internet was a lot smaller. It was weird to put things about you out there.

Why would you ever do that?

For me, though, at the time, it felt a bit like coming home. I still feel that way. Like the people I met are “my people.” I have shared experiences with these people that I would have shared with just anyone.

I’m finding that personal connection to be more and more elusive, though.

The slow creep of sponsored posts onto my reading list is one that I’m not liking. I’m finding that I’m editing my reading list way down to avoid some of it. Same with the Pinterest-friendly posts (you know the kind.)

I understand that it’s a way to make money. Totally get that, but if the content isn’t there – if people are feeling like they’re just being spoon-fed advertising, eventually, they’re going to stop reading. Especially if the part that they liked – the personal connection – is gone.

What people don’t realize, though, is that not all blogs can be super huge. Not everyone will gain a book deal or free stuff.

I’m okay with having a small blog. I’m okay if I have one or two readers – I’m okay with more. I’m okay with less. Because I’m not creating for “readership.” I’m creating to create, period.

Originally written 3/24/13, published in March 2016.

looking forward.

It was a warmer day, today. Relatively speaking. Last year, at this time, it was one of the warmest months on record – ever – in Minnesota – I think on the radio this morning, the weather person said it was forty degrees below than this day last year.

Needless to say, our house faces north, so our yard is one of the last in the neighborhood to thaw. Our roof is still covered with a heap of snow. Our driveway has gotten narrower and narrower as the winter passes on and is, at current, about a car and a half width wide, rather than two full lanes.

I’m looking forward to that moment when the snow is gone, past the point when the ground is spongy with moisture. Where you can take a walk without a coat and smell the damp freshness in the air, see the florescent sprigs of new grass dot the lawn.

I have things that I’m looking forward to doing. I want to paint our house – possibly a greenish-gray color. Maybe a deep bronze brown. I’m not completely sure of the color, just yet. I just know that I am itching to do it. We have had some flecks of paint come off when we pressure washed last and the “undone”-ness of that bothers me.

Honestly, our house needs some TLC outside. It needs a really good pressure wash to get the dirt from under the eaves – we’ll need to have a ladder to get in-range this time. We need to caulk some things. To paint some things. To plant some things. I would love to have some flowers this year – maybe zinnias?

Inside, I bought some new curtains for in the living room. I bought some traditional double-width velvet panels in a pretty brown the color of hot chocolate mix. I am now pretty much convinced that the deep gray walls are not right for me, but I have no clue what to use, instead.

I have been pinning Spanish-inspired interiors – a look that I have always loved. A fairly traditional look, but with lots of pattern. I know that Spanish style was popular in mid-century homes and I can just tell that it would compliment our home well. I’m waiting a bit for the pieces to come together – my taste fluctuates so much that I want to make sure I’m really in-love with the concept before I give myself the go-ahead.

Looking forward to spring.

One of the things I have always struggled with is living in the present.

I’m always either dwelling on the past or looking forward, onto the next new thing. Both, I sort of blame on my reflective nature – I’m an avid paper journaller (well, I haven’t been writing as much lately, offline and on, but that’s a subject for another day) and spend quite a bit of time thinking about the impact past decisions have made on my life, as well as how I would like to live somewhere down the line.

I don’t know what it is. It’s not that I’m unhappy, because I can honestly say that I’m fine. But maybe I’m not as “present” as I could be.

I think it’s a spot that lots of people find themselves in…How many of us find ourselves tied up with work today that in six months will be insignificant? Or concerned about how people view you. Or fixated on the messy house. Or how someone’s tone of voice in what they said – that note that told you they meant something completely different than what they said?

I read too much into things, most of the time. I get that. But I feel, sometimes, that I’m so fixated by static that I’m missing the big picture. I get home at night and am exhausted –

Originally written 3/15/13, published in March 2016.

I am having trouble finding something to write about.

Just feeling really uninspired. I’m spending too much time online, doing nothing. Tonight, it was looking at paint colors. Again. It’s a problem, really.

Originally written 3/12/13, published in March 2016.

We brought Jayan in to the doctor this morning. He had woken around six, at about the same time I did, with a constant cough that hadn’t been there the day before. My husband and I were both concerned that his pneumonia was back – fortunately, only croup, so he was well enough to go back to daycare. That being said, I missed a half-day of work and the rest of my day was full of meetings, so I still have work left to do tonight. Blah.

In the meanwhile, I’m taking a break and decided to write a bit.

I’ve been looking at the January Cure at Apartment Therapy. Why, yes, I was looking at the January Cure in February – at the close of February – hey, I never implied that I was prompt! :) Anyway, for Day 1, it involves going from room to room and making a list of projects that need to be done and then narrowing them down to a few main points that would improve the look and function of your space.

So, I’m going around, making mental notes and I’m noticing that most of the things that need to be done? Are projects that I did, but didn’t complete or I’m not completely happy with the outcome.

Lower Level

Formal Living Room / Entry

1.) Hang star light fixture in the entry.

The star light fixture has been in a box in the garage for five months because the current light fixture would leave a big hole in the ceiling.

2.) Bring in a console table to better define the entryway.

This is more of a “nice to have.”

3.) Caulk around threshold of front door.

Not the funnest, but a necessary.

4.) Replace the front door.

We have a set of double doors right now and the draft is ridiculous. Planning to replace with a single door and sidelights this summer.

5.) Add a coat rack near the front door for guests’ coats.

I have just the one picked out. :)

6.) Add hooks for our own coats, like a mini mudroom near the garage door.

Now, just to figure out where exactly to put them.

7.) Finish painting the door casing on the front door.

Who looks at the casing from the side, anyway?

8.) Re-work the flooring.

We have wall-to-wall tile in our entire lower level. And the tile is a light grayish white, which, while easy to clean, it’s also always looking dirty. Plus, the floor is cold (especially with our drafty door) and hard (we worry about head injuries if any kiddos would happen to fall down our stairs.) We’d like to either replace with natural slate heated flooring or to go over the current tile with a vinyl hardwood-look floating floor.

Office (Future Guest Bedroom) 

1.) Touch up messy paint job in the office.

I don’t really care for the color in the office – it’s a yellow green and is kind of sad looking. I’m really picky about undertone. I couldn’t tell you which undertone is which, but if it’s off, I’m not liking it.

2.) More vertical storage.

Because absolutely everything ends up on the desk.

3.) More file storage.

Again, because everything ends up on the desk. Our current file cabinet was super cheap and is showing it. We need more storage that looks good and an easier filing solution, so we can avoid the piles we have now.

4.) Add the wall.

Right now, this room is only separed from the Formal Living Room by a beam in the ceiling. Because the rooms have a continuous floor of tile, it makes it complicated to add that wall without completely changing the floors.

All Lower Level

1.) Caulk around trim on the lower level.

I should have done this when we moved in and the grout was cleaner.

Middle Level

Family Room

1.) Finish touch-up paint around the windows in the living room.

Do I have enough paint to do this? Thinking not…

2.) More plants!

I have a brown thumb…maybe synthetic? Loving succulents and maybe a big ficus plant by the window?

3.) A new rug, more traditional-styled.

But not too traditional…I’m picky. Note to self: Remember your “no word” of trendy when shopping. The current rug? Trendy – and now, you like it, but you don’t. Stay true to your style, not to someone else’s!

4.) A leather sofa, preferably a sectional or with a chaise. Stronger furniture lines, so it doesn’t clash with our mid-century modern fireplace.

This isn’t happening anytime too soon, but would be nice. Just more kid-friendly. Also – don’t buy in a rush, note current sofas that I don’t like.

5.) Adding a mantel above the fireplace.

Thinking a simple box-beam type, spanning the full length of our off-center fireplace. Chunky, dark stain? Possibly an old barn beam or railroad tie?

6.) Something to put above the fireplace to break up all the brick.

Thinking a mirror, but am picky, once again. Probably not the worst thing in the world. :) Some unique vases or sculpture for the longer side.

7.) Hardwood floor or possibly cork?

We are not fans of our carpet AT ALL. But it is in good condition, so steam cleaning of our carpet is a must. It is super gross.

8.) A side chair to have by the fireplace to round out the conversation area.

It would help to make sense of the brick and would break up the room, a bit.

9.) Drapes – in a color to break up the blah in the rest of the room.

Maybe an amber or gold to play on the color in the fireplace?

Dining Room

1.) Touch up paint where the curtain rod was by the slider window.

Hmm. I’m sensing a trend, here.

2.) Finish painting the beam between the living room and dining room.

Heights! Icky!

3.) Finish painting the trim/baseboards along the stairs.

This is more of a “started good, but lost steam” project.

4.) Find a pair of drapes that you like and re-hang.

Maybe in a harvest gold?

Upper Level

Hallway

1.) Rehang the smoke alarm in the upstairs hallway.

Husband will need to do this – heights!

2.) Put the doorknob back on the hall closet, now that we can get it to close, again.

Mental note – when removing a door and painting it, be super careful to not have too much paint on your hinges or behind your hinges or it won’t hang right!

3.) Paint hallway.

Maybe the first step would be to choose a color?

Master Bedroom

1.) Rehang the smoke alarm in the master bedroom.

Want to say that we also have combination smoke alarm / carbon monoxide detectors in all of our bedrooms, so are not completely out of line with our smoke alarms!

2.) Put up the center support on your curtain rod.

Again with the heights?

3.) Steam out the wrinkles in your $8.00 drapes.

Best deal ever – four silk-looking heavy-weight lined panels for $8.00 total? Yeah, Savers. It was like hefting a wedding dress when I took it to the counter. Best Savers trip ever.

Bathroom

1.) Finish painting the trim and door in the bathroom.

Did you notice that much of these involve paint?

2.) Find a non-cream-colored rug, so it stays clean-looking longer.:)

Because laundry never was your strong suit!

Guest Room

1.) Make this into Jayan’s room.

His room is way too cold and this room is the largest bedroom in the house and unused!

2.) Find homes for the ironing board and for the fan, so they’re not out all the time.

And tell your husband where they are, so that they can be put away!

3.) Part with the dollhouse?

It was handmade for me by my grandpa. It is my one, singular “guilt” item. I was going to donate it to Goodwill, but my husband stopped me. He will grab things out of the trash, too. He is my saver, while I am a thrower. I’ll need to think on this.

Jayan’s Bedroom

1.) Sort through his baby/outgrown clothes and donate a bunch of it.

Bittersweet. I have been saving for the in-case we have another little boy. A topic for another day, I guess!

2.) Insulate!

This is getting done this summer. Absolutely must get done.

3.) Rehang the curtain rod that has semi-fallen down.

This time with a stud finder.

4.) Line the red curtain with white blackout liner, so have the same color facing from the street.

Basement

22.)

Originally written sometime in February 2013, published in March 2016.
Also, note that I probably didn’t finish this entry, because a lot of the items on this list need to get done, STILL, in 2016. I start way more projects than I can physically do. Such is life.

making a list. or not.

I was writing up a post, yesterday, about all of the things I needed to do around the house. I had found the January Cure at Apartment Therapy (in February, oh, well.) and thought, hey, a list is always a good way for me to stay on-track!

But, the list, it was long and today was longer and just looking at the list? Makes me kind of tired.

So, the list? I suppose will be for another day. I have a lot of little things (and big things) that would go a long way toward making our house just a little bit better. But some of those things can wait.

My daily life at the office has been challenging. Just lots of things going on and feeling overwhelmed. Nothing out of the ordinary for me, I suppose. I’m a bit of a high-strung person, so I worry when worry isn’t always necessary.

Don’t we all?

Anyway. So my time, here, at home? I’m just savoring it before I dive back in, again, tomorrow.

Which makes it all the more sweet when home is a place where you can look around and not see more things that need to be done. But…there are a fair number of things that I have done, where I can see progress.

I’m not sure how “normal” this is, but I’m always noticing how much the things in the background of our photos have changed – that the wall is a different color, or how we have a different table or that the window coverings we used to have really, really, did not match the paint on the walls. :) (There were fights about this.)

I suppose it’s a little fickle, being that it’s really physical things changing that I notice and that’s, clearly, not what a home is about, but it is gratifying to see progress. To see that little changes over a period of time can make a big difference to the feel and function of your house.

So, the list of to-do’s? That’s for another day. But I think it would be good to write things down and check things off – maybe with a date? It will make me seem so much more productive than I feel.

I was reading today’s discussion topic at Retro Renovation and felt inspired to write a bit about my on-again, off-again love of minimalism.

On-again, off-again, because I’m not a minimalist, but, gosh darn it, I would like to be.

Here’s my story.

I have always been a creative.

Creatives, my friends, are, by their very nature, messy.

Growing up, apparently, my room was always a mess.

I, of course, never saw it that way.

I had my desk, full of papers, but those papers? They were stories I had illustrated, photos I had cut up to display in a fun way, pages splattered with ink to use as a background for a scrapbooking page. Stacks of discontinued wallpaper sample books I scored from True Valu to “redecorate” the walls of my Barbie doll house (I’ve always been into houses).

My mom was completely exasperated at trying to get me to clean it, and, of course, I didn’t (at least not to the same standard that it was supposed to be), and so, I was punished. I was home, instead of at sleepovers, the phone in my bedroom was taken away. (I still had to go to pep band. Ugh.) But honestly? The problem was the mess was that I couldn’t see it.

Sure, if I dug through the desk, I might find something I had forgotten about, but, for the most part? I saw projects. Things I had been working on and were in-progress.

My mom is about finishing things and being done. I’ve never minded the process.

Anyway. I’ve always been this way and continued to be a creative all through college. Until, I needed to share a bedroom. It was an absolutely miserable semester, but the girl I shared a room with and I were in there a lot and so it helped to keep the “stuff” to a minimum. I found it really helped when I was trying to study, so from there on, I’ve tried to keep that sort of outlook.

But, it’s more like a pendulum.

I buy more in a way to self-soothe. I shop when I feel a bit less worthy, if that makes sense. I have always been calmed by taking a stroll down a super organized store and window shopping. Most trips, I’m okay with just looking and appreciating, but if I’m feeling bad about myself, well, then, watch out, because something’s coming home.

And I probably won’t like it very long.

Most of the time, I’m disciplined enough to keep my receipts and return things that aren’t a great fit. But sometimes? I’m not so quick and keeping things I’m less than thrilled with? So not cool.

On the other end of the spectrum, I am a ruthless purger. While I was single, I would go through my things and sort every few months – or at least once a season – donating quite a bit. Mostly, because I was in a one-bedroom apartment and didn’t really have the space to keep so much. Now, in a three bedroom house, I don’t purge nearly as often as I probably should, and it’s starting to show.

I told my husband that this weekend, I’m tackling the closet. The one that we just shove things into? I’m not really sure what’s in there. I kind of don’t want to find out, but it’s time. Like the big box of things that was sitting in our garage from the time we moved in, I’ll probably find when I actually go through it, that most of it can be thrown out, anyway.

Originally written 2/15/13, published in March 2016.

side note.

Is this becoming a “mom blog”? Because, really, I am not very maternal by-nature and that would be funny.

I will say, though, that there has been no biting at daycare in a week. So, that’s good. (My child, he is the biter, in case you were wondering.) It’s a completely frustrating situation, because he just bites this one girl and her mom is insistent that a boy his age should know not to bite.

Sigh.

We are figuring that it might be due to his frustrations with speech. We have a visit with our pediatrician scheduled, so hopefully will have a game plan figured out, soon. Totally not trying to be flippant about this other mom’s concerns, because, hello, if the roles were reversed, I would have a problem, too.

I guess we’ll get it figured out, eventually. We will see if the pediatrician has any recommendations about the biting.