Bits and Pieces

Every day I turn on my computer and check in, both here and on Facebook. I've never been much of a fan of Facebook - too many ads, too impersonal. But since my mother died, I've been trying to reestablish a connection with my sister. I've been apart from most of my family for the last 25 years. So when she challenged her friends and family to #100happydays, I accepted the challenge. Today marks day 20, and so far, I haven't had any trouble finding things to post. If it seems like I've been absent, that's why. But I still read, everyday.

On to the topic at hand....

One of the things my daughter sent out to me was a box of old journals. I start and quit journals all the time. I think it has a lot to do with trust. My husband would read my journal, and then beat me if he didn't like what it said. My journals became very insipid. I wouldn't write anything that could be used against me, and even when things seemed to be going good, something terrible would happen and rather than write about it, I would do the opposite and stop writing all together. In a month or two, I would start a new journal.

Throughout the years, one thing was obvious. I WANTED to write. But I was bound by circumstance.

I held onto all those journals, because occasionally I would write a poem, or record a story idea, or even just create a scene that I might want to use at a later date. I've been going through some of those old journals, looking for those story ideas. What I've discovered, in my journey through the past, is a pattern. In just about every journal, within the first few pages, I would make a list of all of the things I could, or should, do to change my life. Lose weight, save money, etc. Those are the normal ones. Then there are the other, weirdly specific ones - plant an herb garden, write more, learn the names of the wildflowers, go canoeing. It's like I have an odd case of dementia where I keep repeating myself but keep forgetting that I said that already.

Number one on the list of things I keep repeating to myself is "simplify". I always thought that if I could just clear some of the clutter from my life, everything else would follow. I'd try. I'd usually start with my closet, taking out all of the clothes that either didn't fit, I didn't wear, or I didn't like. They would get folded up and put into a garbage bag to be dropped off at a local donation bin. But somehow, they never did. Instead the bag would just sit there. Or I'd go into the pantry area and start boxing up all those appliances that we never used - apple corer, sandwich maker, bread maker. But I never did anything with those either. The storage area - I'd try to get rid of things but then I'd change my mind. I might need that someday. In the meantime, my husband was a collector. He'd just keep bringing home more stuff.

Stuff, stuff, stuff. None of it means anything. And it just kept getting worse.

When I left, I left with almost nothing. My camera, some blankets and a few clothes. My daughter sent a few things out to us but we tried to keep it to just the basics and a few personal items. And you know what?

I've never been happier.

I still need to lose weight. I still need to save money. But I am growing an herb garden. I'm writing more. I'm learning the names of the wildflowers, and I'm searching out places to rent a kayak. (They're easier to handle than canoes.)

Letting go of the stuff wasn't that hard after all. Sure, it happens that once in a while, I wish I still had something that I used to have (cheese grater), but most of the time, I don't miss it at all. There were a couple of books I treasured that had to be replaced but generally speaking, I've surrounded myself with just a few things that mean something to me.

It's not that I'm learning who I am - apparently I always knew that - it's that I'm finally BEING who I am.

Hmmm....

Someone has been trying to access my facebook account. This is not a surprise to me. But it's also the reason that my last posts have been locked to friends only.

Those who know me know why.

...There was paper, and a pen...

About a year and a half ago, I had an idea for a book I wanted to write. The idea has been floating around in the back of my head ever since.

Yesterday I sat down and actually started writing it.

I was a little worried that resuming my on-line journal was just a way to avoid committing to a project. That's my usual MO. Self-sabotage at it's finest. But the fact that I let this idea percolate for so long might be the difference between success and failure. By success, I don't mean getting published - I mean finishing something I started.

My track record in that department is not so good.

...there was a bird, and another bird....

I live out in the country, and I love it here. As mentioned previously, a wide variety of wildlife pass through my yard on a daily basis, although I don't see most of it. Every time I leave the house, I just don't know what I'll see.

While driving today, I saw a flock of birds rise up from a field and land in a bush next to the road. Wondering if they might be newly arrived Snow Buntings, I slowed down to have a look. Just then, a Merlin swooped down and snatched one of the small birds out of the bush, coming to rest on a fence post a few yards away to eat it. And again, I had no camera with me. There wasn't even time to mess around trying to take a picture with my phone. But what a sight! Incredible.

...there was a fox.

I came across this fox the other day while on my way to drop my daughter off at the train station. Because I don't like to leave one of my regular cameras in the car during the winter, and I find it too heavy to carry with me every time I leave the house, I was forced to use my phone. I suck at phone cameras. I'm going to borrow my son's camera for the winter - it's small enough to carry in my purse. If he can find it, that is...

bow tie cam 012.JPG

...A shadow fell across the land...

It has arrived. At the risk of sounding "Game of Thrones", winter is here.

In the space of a week, the temperature has changed 50 degrees Celsius, going from 24 to -26. For any Americans that might be out there, that is (in Fahrenheit) 75.2 to -14.8.

Brrr...my bones hurt.

Of course, there was a half a foot of snow in my area as well, making driving conditions treacherous.

But just when I think I can't take another winter, I get up in the afternoon (after working all night, thank you very much) and my yard looks like a Christmas card, complete with blue and silver glitter. There are wild animal tracks crisscrossing my driveway, the fireplace is on and someone has decided that this should be a "jammie" day.

Maybe I can do another winter after all.