Why I Haven’t Been Blogging

Clump #141:  Begin February Paper Pile Challenge; mine magazines for vision boards.

Loyal followers of this blog might have noticed that I’ve recently taken a sabbatical.  I went through a tough time helping my mom during a health scare; she is doing better.  My posts here are a sampling of my life and, though her condition does affect my life,  I really don’t want to make this a forum for updates on her status.  I also felt the need to quarantine myself from the world due to raging negativity.

It’s amazing how bad things breed bad things.  During an almost two-week span of driving back and forth to the hospital, our washing machine broke down and the kitchen faucet was leaking into the basement.  One morning I tried to turn on the radio/CD player in the kitchen and nothing happened.  A minor problem, and normally I’d have taken it in stride, but I had absolutely zero reserve of good will.  It was if a best friend was suddenly giving me the silent treatment. My husband said, “Well, we’ve had it for a long time …” which did not diminish my sense of betrayal.  Everything made me upset or angry, or both.  The music player turned out to be an easily fixed electrical snag; the bird dropping on the windshield, pictured below, was another story. (Imagine my fist shaking at the sky.)  With apologies to the movie Casablanca:

Of all the windshields,  in all the lots, in all the world, it poops on mine.


And then there was Steve.  The night I got that first dreaded phone call about my mom, my younger daughter was still at home on winter break from college.  Before I left in the middle of the night, our daughter alerted us to the fact that her pet hamster, Steve, was making funny noises and didn’t seem to be moving much.  After I came back the next day in a haze of despair, she broke the news that Steve had died.  Now, normally I tend to forget we even have a hamster in the house. He lived in our younger daughter’s room, and when she started college my husband had taken on the duty of hamster maintenance.  Steve lived twice as long as was predicted for a hamster. But the piling on of another sadness, even if small, felt oppressive.  Below, Steve in his prime, in the caring hands of my husband:


With sisters taking over watch of our mom’s condition, last week I took a previously planned trip to Chicago to visit my older daughter.  The warmth of sharing good times with her more than made up for the freakishly frigid temperature (just thinking about it makes me wince).


I brought along a ridiculous pile of — heavy — magazines.  Talk about excess baggage.  My daughter and I had fun collecting images for vision boards while clearing away a big clump.  I certainly needed a positive vision to set my mind to.  And leaving the discarded remains in a hotel recycling bin was very satisfying.


I just need to figure out how a vision of a bathroom like this:


could fit in a cozy little house like this:


In the meantime, I will attempt to post every day in February.  My goal, or vision, is to purge the (too-often) previously-mentioned piles of paper — a traveling blight in/on our home.  Twenty-eight days.  Ready, set, go!


And Happy Chinese New Year!  The Year of The Horse.

(Photo taken last summer at the Montreal Botanical Garden)

Small Wonders

Clump #103:  Take “give-away” items from yesterday’s clump to Goodwill.

A clump like yesterday’s out-of-control cabinet consists of two phases. First, clearing and sorting into keep, throw away, and give-away piles. Then, getting the give-aways out of the house.  All the items pictured below are now at the Goodwill, and with any luck, will be of good use to someone else.

Kind of a dreary picture for the last day of my 30-day, 30-clump, 30-post challenge.  Mission accomplished!  Heartfelt thanks to everyone following along … your support has kept me going.  I must commemorate the occasion with some prettier photos.


Today is Small Business Saturday, a day to shop at local, independent businesses.  I learned that by patronizing locally owned businesses, “52 percent of what you spend stays right in your community, supporting local organizations and services.”

I became enchanted with this florist shop while walking in Chicago one night (not our local store, but a Chicagoan’s):


The city lights glittered and shone on the containers in the windows.


A car and street lights reflected in one planter was dreamlike.


I was spellbound.


Ah-ha … little elves creating the magic!


Could they please come to my house?