Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Different Ending (Part 6)

[This is the 6th and final part of a series of catch-up blog posts covering the past year I've spent not-blogging. Part 1 can be found here, Part 2 can be found here, Part 3 can be found here, Part 4 can be found here, and Part 5 can be found here. I fully realize that this is faaaaar more in-depth than most people care about, but I'm having a lot of fun going back over the past year and choosing photos and telling snippets of stories. I'm also realizing that some of these photos I uploaded to the computer and then never even looked at, so this is a good and much-needed chance to catch up and document our 2010. Thanks for bearing with me!]


She decided to choose One Little Word like she's done before. Two years ago she chose Cultivate, and she considered just using that again because there is so much she wants to get done this year, so much she wants to work on and so many projects she wants to do. But it didn't feel quite right.

She thought long and hard about it, and tried many words on for size but none fit very well. She wanted a word that signified the process of {something}, because she is very much in the process of so much in her life. In a season of flux.

She's kind of in love with Brené Brown and her books and TED talks and this post on her blog and the whole philosophy of being enough just as you are, not when you lose ten pounds or earn your degree or find an eye cream that actually works or learn French or get married or move into a bigger house [or get pregnant or have a baby]--you are enough right now. [This. Very. Minute.] She is not quite there yet, but she wants to be, she is trying and striving towards believing that she is enough and whole and complete just as she is. That she is a whole and complete woman, whether or not she is able to bear children. That she and her husband are a whole and complete family, whether or not they have children (not to mention however and whenever and from wherever children arrive). She is in the process of trying to feel like that complete person, just as she is, so there is only one word for her this year.

[It also conveniently encapsulates all of the home and art and life projects she wants to work into completion this year.]

She started running with her husband again (much needed after the gluttony of the holidays). [She feels it necessary to tell you that her husband runs much, much faster than she does, but he slows down to run with her because it is such amazing quality time for them.] She even found, buried in her basket of gloves in the hall closet, the pair of gloves that she used to run in in high school, a zillion years ago. Her high school colors were green and gold yellow so she bought two pairs and cross-matched them (because that was cool in the early 90's--shut up). She has no idea how this pair followed her from high school to college to Las Vegas to Ohio to Oregon to Italy to Virginia throughout 17 years, but there they were right in the place all her other pairs of gloves live. [She wishes the rest of her life and home were organized so well.]

She was still in Hibernation Mode and was trying to take it easy on herself, so whenever she got the urge to forget the To Do list for an hour or a day and play with paper and glue and paints and inks, she did.

She found berry garlands marked 90% off at JoAnn's and decided that red berries were perfectly suited to winter and Valentine's Day and she made wreaths for the front door and the pantry door. [She just accidentally typed "panty door" and couldn't stop laughing for several seconds, imagining just what that would be.]

She accepted a job getting two little girls off to school every weekday morning. One day they had a 2-hour delay due to snow, so she brought over crafts for them to do together. Much later that day she found gold glitter stuck to her favorite black sweater and, to her surprise because she is very careful about things getting on her, it made her ridiculously, inexplicably happy. She felt it was a sign from the universe that she would feel this precise kind of happiness again, and that gave her a distinct feeling of what she can only describe as Peace.

She went on a date with her husband, concluded with a trip to Total Wine where they spent most of the $100 gift card she won for being their 1000th "Like" on Facebook. [Social media FTW!]

They had a new water heater installed and it has a remote control. This is impossibly fancy to her, that she can stand in her upstairs bathroom and request, from the water heater in the basement, an exact temperature of water for her shower or bath and then that's what comes out of her taps. It's like the future has arrived. [And it's in her bathroom.]

[She is thankful that she finds wonder in small things.]

She met up with her Wine and Cheese Club, perhaps her favorite "club membership" and definitely the "meetings" she most refuses to ever miss (although the three other "members" are amazing and will reschedule until all four of them can attend, so missing is not really an issue).

She wore indigo and violet wool socks, just because they made her happy.

She was kind of addicted to shopping at Marshall's and buying fancy foods there.

She loves olives.

One day, out of nowhere, she decided to try to clean the inside of the oven door. There were long drippy streaks of milk inside the glass from a day long ago when she spilled milk (she didn't cry over it) across the counter and the stove and it dripped down inside the oven door. Not on the inside of the door like when you open the oven, but the inside in between the two panes of glass.

She was completely shocked to find that it's the easiest thing in the world to take apart and clean, and she wondered why she hadn't done it ages and ages ago. She decided that next time something seemed like it would be a huge pain, she'd just go ahead and try it because maybe it was just as simple as two screws on an oven door.

She took an online class and the class was encouraged to think of the negative mantras they tell themselves and to come up with new mantras. She journaled about it (as they were encouraged to do) and when she re-read what she'd written the same three words kept popping up over and over. So she adopted her new mantra, "Be positive, calm, and hopeful," and she said it to herself about seventy-thirteen times per day when sneaky fears would pop into her mind (which happens a lot). It helped, a lot. [It's still helping a lot.]

It snowed and snowed, but luckily not like it did last year. This snowman was the highlight of her day one day, though. Thanks, neighbors!

She and her husband went out for tapas with Danny and Sophie and Erin and John, and then across the street to an Irish bar. [She is past the age where people jostling her about in a bar is okay with her.]

Fisheye lens + flash in a dark bar = vignetting and Danny's eyes closed.

She bought herself flowers, and she discovered that her camera has an entire set of filters that she didn't know about.

She became addicted to Dexter.

She watched her amaryllis (which she bought at Marshall's) bloom, and bloom, and bloom, and bloom.

She took self-portraits in her guest bathroom. [All of her online photos were years old and she felt they represented the Then Her instead of the Now Her. And so very much has happened between Then and Now, she's not quite the same person.]

Smiling into a mirror and taking photos of herself was kind of a big deal for her.

She had brunch with a friend she hadn't seen for seven years, back when they both lived in Ohio.

She used her Silhouette to cut all different shapes and colors of paper hearts, and she strung them across her kitchen because she thought it would be awesome (and it was).

She took joy in the first early signs of Spring.

Her husband indulged her craving for not cooking Mexican food one night.

She and her husband decided this is the year for the completion of some projects--big & small--in the house. He replaced a ceiling fan. She spent time organizing her basement (her fabric cabinet is shown below). He ripped up the nasty carpeting on the stairs and landing to see just how much of a pain it will be to put in hardwoods. [Verdict: DIY-able but a total pain.]

[She is tempted to just fix them up a bit and paint them like this, instead.]

She made a shadowbox full of a rainbow of paper flowers, just because she felt like it.

She has lived in the DC area for three and a half years and she finally went to Five Guys for the first time. [Thanks to @MeganBoley and @Tristina_Wright talking about bacon cheeseburgers all the ding-dang live-long day on Twitter that day.]

She ordered silver chains and charms for a jewelry show she has coming up soon (and for Mother's Day and her Inspired even in May, which will be here before she knows it). It cost almost a thousand dollars a crap-ton of money, and when it arrived it all came packaged inside a sandwich-sized zipper bag. Not even close to full, either. She tried not to have a heart attack and reminded herself that you have to spend money to make money (and she prayed and crossed her fingers).

She went out for a fancy dinner with her husband, and the men at the next table sounded like Boss Hogg from The Dukes of Hazzard. She marveled again how she is living on the edge, the very boundary between Washington DC and The North, and people who sound like Boss Hogg and The South (she is aware that not all people from The South sound like Boss Hogg). It is a weird, weird place to live sometimes. Fascinating, to be sure; but weird, too.

She [re-]learned that she should stay true to what she wants to do, and doing things just because people ask her to and she wants to be accommodating does not always work out. It's okay to say, "Let me think about it (or try it out) and get back to you with my answer." She will try to remember this lesson.

She caught up on her blog and looked at photos from the past year and is amazed at just how fast time has passed. She felt vulnerable and unsure but practiced authenticity and just putting herself out there, and hoped that kind souls would find her and accept her as she is. They (you!) did and do and are.

She is so, so very glad to be back.


Tristina said...

Hooray!! Beautiful series!

And the shadowbox of flowers? OMG I WANT ONE.

And, lady, I love you for EXACTLY who YOU are and always have. Hugs, my darling. I'm so happy to have met you and know you and call you a bestie.

Melissa said...

Can I just Ditto Tristina? Because really, who you are is who your meant to be and it's awesome. (says the women who struggles with this daily!)

So glad to catch up on your story and get to know you and I can't wait to continue on your journey with you.

Annette, Kent, Signe & Anni said...

Cameron, these posts have really touched me. We seem to be on parallel paths. I've just finished Soul Restoration & read Brene's book. While I don't know you very well, these posts feel very authentic and honest.
What really rocked my world was the idea that I could clean the inside of my oven door be removing 2 screws. It has had drip marks on it since we bought our house 6 years ago. Makes me crazy. Can you guess what I'll be doing tomorrow while the kids are in school?

Skip'sMKGirl said...

Some people might think we are in completely different places in life, but your words of being gentle with yourself, focusing on completion...all of this puts words to the place I feel I am entering. I know that the next few years are both precious before my children are gone...and they cannot go by with me neglecting my spirit either. Thank you for sharing from your heart, you speak to women everywhere with these words. XOXO

Cortney said...

When I grow up, I want to be just like you!!!!


Sarah Viola said...

I LOVE this post, and your word.

I'm glad you're back, too.

Elizabeth Cavendish said...

"She sometimes feels like a sponge that soaks up the emotions of the people around her and becomes overwhelmed with it all." - I know the feeling well. And the clumsiness... and the sadness... and the chaos of 2010. I'm thrilled to hear how you've overcome your own challenges and I'm so glad you're 'back.' Hugs and love and blessings to you as you work toward completion this year. L & L

Tena said...

I loved reading your catch up posts. And seeing your happy face in photos. Tena

keli [at] kidnapped by suburbia said...

bestest post ever. seriously, i smiled the whole time.

and your oven door is kind of amazing.

Chiara said...

I have loved reading your recap. I envy you for reaching that place. I am really really trying this week. I have decided that I just need some happiness again. Love you so very much and honored to have you for a friend.

Anke said...

I love olives too ;)

Cynthia Friese-Hassanein said...

Doing catch up:) I really need to check out Brene Brown!!!!! more! She sounds amazing!!!

My high school colors were green and gold too:) Spartans:)

Reading all of this makes me so happy about the latest news!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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