Being Thankful

We are moved into our new home. We aren’t quite settled but that will come soon enough. Max rides the elevator with us without qualms. Poor Lilli the cat, escaped out the door twice, but came back quickly once she realized that she’s in a different place and there might be monsters who hate cats around every tree and shrub.

We still have workmen around doing last minute touchups and hopefully they’ll be gone very soon. Our main floor is the most settled and in the evenings we enjoy lazing in front of the gas fireplace knowing we’ve worked hard and long to unpack more boxes. We are still purging. Figuring out what we have space for is continuing, sometimes with a twinge of regret, but we get over it quickly and are thankful for what we do have.

We’re extremely happy and feeling much lighter as we find our way into living with less. I do miss my big studio, but once the new one is unpacked I know I’ll be ready to get back to work.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
I’m grateful for all of you and am happy your part of my world.

Missing My Writing Time

 

No matter what you do or where you are, you’re going to be missing out on something.
Alan Arkin

I got a sweet email a few days ago from a follower who said she missed my weekly blog posts. So even though I will be moving in to my new house in just 15 days and I’m stressed out to the max,  I decided to sit down at my desk and send off a note to tell you all that I will be back once we get all of our leftovers placed in our new nest and I have my new studio set up. There is still so much to do to get rid of our extra STUFF, but I have missed my weekly writing sessions and your responses.

Besides, I’m over the burnout from publishing my book over a year ago and I really, really want to get back to writing again. Every day I spend stuffing boxes that go to Goodwill, the library, or other places I’m donating to, I think about all of the things I want to write and tell you about. About losing Sam, that sweet being that still sits in my lap in the photo to the right but is no longer here for me to hug or talk to. And how his brother Max seems rather relieved that he is now an only dog-child. He still loves his cat, Lilli, because she is not a lap cat and doesn’t need the amount of attention Sam did. Max seems to think he should now go everywhere with us, even to restaurants and the movies, deserves the very best treats on the market, and being let out the back door every time his squirrel appears so he can chase it. That event can happen several times an hour. We all do miss Sam very much, but in the end he was very sick and as with all living beings it was his time to leave us and is now at peace.

That is our end unit! Can’t wait!

So far everything is going smoothly with the move. I have a lot of helpers and though it all still does overwhelm me, I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The work at the new place is on time. We’ve rearranged the kitchen a bit, repainted the whole place, finished up an office for Bill, have redone the master bath, and the screening in of the back porch is now being done. We can’t wait to spend our first night there and all of the following nights to follow.

I’ve enjoyed putting these few words down on paper and look forward to being able to sit down and write whenever I want.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful fall.

Being Big When You Think You Are Small

In the past, when I heard about the horrendous terrorist events in Ferguson, Charleston, Paris, and other places around the world I was saddened and angry. It was only through television and the internet that those of us who don’t live in those places got to observe and imagine the damage done and the lives lost. Those things hadn’t happened in my own backyard. And I wasn’t in touch with those who were affected by those appalling events. But now I know what it’s like and how it feels.

I’ve been struggling to write about what happened here in Charlottesville on Saturday, August 11th when all hell broke loose with the arrival of the AltRight, NeoNazis, and the KKK. I still cannot find the words. But that’s okay. It doesn’t matter. You all know what happened. You saw the footage on television and the internet, or maybe you were here on the street standing up for what you believe in.

I was not on the street. I was at home. But the action was only 1.8 miles away and I could hear the hellicopter monitoring the situation overhead in the distance. The same helicopter that went down later in the afternoon killing both of the state troopers on board … not long after a lovely young woman was hit by a crazed, domestic terrorist with his car. She died and 19 others were injured, some seriously.

Many are criticizing the city government, the police, and the university for not being prepared. But how can a small city like Charottesville be prepared for something like that. All of us are only human and we do the best we can. The KKK rally earlier in the July was a walk in the park compared to what happened on the 11th. Though many predicted that the August rally would be violent, we have never needed police or military forces to protect our little city before now.

What I can tell you for sure is that despite many unhappy souls, we in Charlottesville are healing. And our little city has become BIG. BIG hearts. BIG love. BIG conversations are happening. Not only here but all over the country. The support and the love that is still streaming our way is astounding and so very much appreciated.

I have always believed that even in the horrible scenarios, good things can manifest. If what happened here is beginning to change the conversation around our country and the world, which I believe it is, I’m proud to be a Charlottesvillian. We may look like a small blue dot in a big red state on most political maps, but we are BIG. And praise be that we have been given the opportunity to let the world know who we are and what we stand for. Mistakes were made. Lessons were learned. People came together. The world will be a better place because of what happened here.

The Next Great Adventure

For Bill and I, big changes often come out of the blue. We’ve been perfectly content and happy where we are. But less than a month ago we were in conversation with a friend who is about our age. We were talking about aging, aching bodies, brain farts, and a host of other things that inflict those of us who are moving on in years. She told us about a couple she knows who have sold their lovely dream home and moved into a new one-story home in a small, nearby development. They are loving their new place, meeting new neighbors, and the convenience of having the outside mainenance of their home taken care of for them. No more seasonal gutter cleaning, leaf raking, snow removal, lawn mowing, etc. Healthy and happy, they now have more time to travel and take advantage of leisure time they’d not experienced in the past.

As we were listening to our friend, both Bill and I realized we’d been thinking about a similar kind of move. Though we’d talked about it now and then, it was something that was way in the future. But with birthdays coming up in November and being in our mid-seventies, we have been aware of the struggles of other friends who have waited too long to accept the changes that aging brings. Some have gotten very ill, passed on, or are now moving into senior living facilities. Wanting to make the most of the years we have left, we want to live with dignity and grace while we can. And there has been the haunting question of what would life be like without the other? Would the one left behind be comfortable living where we are now … a big house that is also aging and needs continuing maintenance? Though the garden is small and exquisitely beautiful, I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with it as my body refuses to do what it used to do. And though I do loads of self-care including Egoscue, Pilates and Yoga, it still won’t go back to the way it was when I was twenty-five or even forty.

So we decided to go take a look at a small, new development not far from where we live now. And though we said we’d never live in a townhouse, we walked into the model that was open that afternoon and fell in love. During the next few days we toured other places, but at the end of the day we always went back to that first place in a quiet location with lovely gardens and walking trails in the woods next door. We put a hold deposit down on one of the last available lots that will be a finished home next June. We figured we’d need at least a year to clean this place out and prepare ourselves for the next chapter.

But God, the Universe, or whatever you may want to call that thing that helps us and directs us through life, had other things in mind. When we told our good friend and realestate broker, Bob, what we were doing, he found a finished resale available in the same development. It is an end unit with glass on three sides rather than on just two. We went to look at it, made an offer and it was immediately accepted. The unit is only a year old, and the seller lived there for only seven months. It is a four story home, but get this … it has an elevator for when our legs, knees, and other bodyparts start failing us. It is half the size of the home we’re in now but I’ll still have a fairly large studio on the top floor with a walkout veranda.

So here we go, ready to set out on our next adventure. This house will go on the market shortly and with lots of available help we look to move into our Out of Bounds townhome sometime in November. We will miss this gorgeous home and our wonderful neighbors here. But it’s time for us to simplify and to move on.  Life moves on and we need move with it. I’ll post pics as soon as I can get some.

I’ll keep you apprised as the adventure continues. In the meantime I hope you are all having a wonderful summer.

Are you setting out on any new adventures?

What? Me Retired?

Last week when a friend asked me if I was making visual art or writing, I caught myself saying, “No, I’m retired.” Even though I haven’t been painting or writing much these days, I haven’t considered myself retired. I’m still busy as a bee and can’t seem to tell you where the days go. Since then I’ve found myself using that word more often, especially when it’s time to get up in the morning and I tell myself, “Oh, there’s plenty of time. After all, you are retired.”

Interestingly, I’ve recently talked to two artist friends my age or a bit older, and they tell me they aren’t making art either. They, like me are simply letting the days unfold before them and are enjoying things they haven’t done in a long while, like sleep in, travel, and not worry about tomorrow.

So I’m beginning to think that maybe I really am retired. I’m taking it easy, working on getting the kinks worked out of my stiff body, and enjoying extra sleep time. It’s time for lots of reading, writing in my journal, and eating foods grown on the lush farms all around me. Virginia Peaches are just coming in and their sweet juiciness is what summer is all about. Our farmer’s market is the place to go early on Saturday mornings if you want to fill your frig with the best veggies. It’s also where I often catch up with friends I haven’t seen in a while.

As a way of testing whether or not I’m retired, I’m taking some time off here and blogging only when I have something important or inspiring to say. Though we’re mostly at home this summer, we’re eyeing a lovely cruise up the New England and Canadian coast, then down the St. Lawrence Seaway in the fall. And who knows what else will present itself? I’m opening up my life and my days by leaning into the breeze and seeing where it takes me. I’m not giving up the visual art and writing ghosts at all. I’m simply allowing my muse the extra time and space she needs to fly.

See you next time! And have a wonderful summer!