I’ll Never Be A Minimalist…

IMG_1180I’m a very sentimental person. Whenever I use or admire one of the many “hand me downs” in my home, it’s a point of contact with the person it originally belonged to. I use an old bottle opener with a Bakelite handle that belonged to my husband’s grandmother, GG. The Pyrex salt and pepper shakers that my mother handed down to me before she passed away have a very 1960s’ “race for the moon” feel that bring to memory snippets of my very young childhood. There are a few EAPC (Early American Press Cut) glass serving pieces my Grandma Power gave me when I moved into my first apartment. I’m pretty sure she picked them up at a garage sale — she loved garage sales, and I enjoy that memory of her. Things like these, that are in regular use and help to keep the memories of loved ones alive — I will never get rid of them if I can help it. But the rest of it? I am cleaning house, my friends.

Last night I spent about an hour posting items for sale on VarageSale. The most time consuming part of this is taking decent photos to upload to the site. Decent photos are important because potential buyers need to be able to tell if the item is in good condition. I look at listings on eBay, Etsy, and VarageSale regularly, and if the photo is blurry, I just keep moving on. I’d already taken quite a few photos of some things I want to sell, so actually posting them goes pretty quickly. I woke up this morning to discover a lady wants to buy three of my listings: a crystal vase we received as a wedding gift (can’t remember who gave it to us), a crystal rose bowl that was at my mom’s (have no idea where it came from), and crystal candlestick holders I bought for a party we had about eight years ago that I haven’t used since.

$28 for things I don’t use, and I’m decluttering, too. It’s a win-win!

IMG_1181I’ll never be a minimalist, though, because I’m just too sentimental. When I see my mother’s copy of “Etiquette” by Emily Post sitting on my bookcase, it reminds me the importance she placed on good manners and the importance she placed on how we treat people. Flipping through that book when I was a teenager was how I learned about “bread and butter” letters (a short letter of thanks to one’s host and/or hostess after an overnight visit). And when I look at the children’s world globe (still reflecting the United Soviet Socialist Republic!) my husband gave me our first Christmas with a sweet, but cheesy, note that said he would give me the world, I remember the butterflies of newlywed love. IMG_1182

Yeah. No. I’ll never be a minimalist.But I am working on making sure what’s here deserves to be here.

Be joyful, y’all!

Laura

One Foot in Front of the Other

The list of hats I wear is pretty lengthy and I’d be lying if I said that I’ve never had one fall off my head. Right now, in addition to running the blind business and working on stories for the magazine, I’m trying to continue making progress in several areas — organizing my work and personal space, getting our ducks in a row for home projects that we will finally be able to do when our mortgage is paid off this spring. Making sure my guy and our girl aren’t ignored, neglected, or forgotten in the hurry scurry of all the rest of it. Working on keeping my priorities in the correct order. One thing I am striving to become more diligent at is looking at my calendar and making lists. The other is to remember to have fun and not make this journey all about checkmarks (unless they are the fun kind one marks off bucket lists).

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Ready to fuse glass at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. (Remembering Norm Abrams of The New Yankee Workshop: “And remember this. There is no other more important safety rule than to wear THESE safety glasses…”)

I’d love to hear if any of you have tips on how you keep putting one foot in front of the other!

Be joyful, y’all!

Laura

Monday Morning Good Stuff

A lot of times these “lists” are thrown together off the cuff groupings of no-brainers. This particular list is full of good stuff, with strong scriptural support. I plan on going back to this from time to time, in hopes of getting stronger in the areas where I struggle.

via 10 Things Real Christian Women Shouldn’t Do

Timing is Everything

I’m a night owl, it is true. I tend to putter around in the wee hours because there are no distractions, no interruptions. For more than a while I’ve noticed that when I publish a blog post late at night, I don’t get that much feedback from readers on my side of the world. I’ll get likes and sometimes comments from people on the other side of the world, where the sun is shining at 1:00 am my time. I need to find that perfect “publish button” time — the time where one side of the world is waking up and the other is about to head to bed, but both have opportunity to stop by for a quick visit.

Do you notice one time being better than another for publishing your blog posts?

A Flash from the Past

In my purging/organizing frenzy, I’ve run across a disc that holds most (if not all) of my blog posts from Xanga, when it was still a thing. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to import them here, so I’m going to go through and copy/paste entries that might entertain you. This one is especially poignant for reasons that don’t need to be explained — a simple reminder to keep praying for all those in the Caribbean, that they will recover and come back stronger than ever.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

The green-eyed monster has me by the tail . . .

Cane Bay

This is where my sister-in-law is right now.  And where I am not.  While the average Jill might be a little green with envy, a tiny bit jealous . . . I am CONSUMED.

This is St. Croix, U.S.V.I., and St. Croix is where I spent 15 of the most glorious months of my life when I was a teenager.  In fact, this picture that I copied for your viewing pleasure happens to be of Cane Bay, where I made my certification dive when I was 15.  Yours truly swam out to sea and dove a deliciously scary 80 feet down the Cane Bay Wall (which continues to drop a toe-curling 3,200 feet before hitting bottom — think phosphorous glowing fishies a’ la “Finding Nemo”).  I saw the most amazing creatures, collected the most beautiful shells, made the most wonderful memories.

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Colony Cove, formerly The Barrier Reef

While it has been 24 years since we returned to Texas, I am positive this is the condominium we lived in the first three months we were there.  The name has changed — it was called “The Barrier Reef” when we lived there, but the view is the same, the design of the condo is the same, I’m certain this is it.  In another photo on the website, I identified the condominiums next door as Mill Harbor, hence my confidence.  I learned to snorkel off this beach before advancing to my scuba adventures.  The reef we explored was full of sea life and named “The Barrier Reef” because it resembled (on a much smaller scale) the Great Barrier Reef off Australia.I remember wandering through the 300+ year old streets of Christiansted and shopping in store fronts that were built by Danish settlers in the 1600’s.  My best friend, Cindy, and I would roam the shops and then grab a sandwich at Reed’s Deli followed by a trip to Steele’s Smokes and Sweets.  Did you know that the aroma of flavored tobacco mingling with the sweet scent of chocolate is intoxicating?  We bypassed the smokes (although the antique lady’s pipe with a pink coral bowl and long ebony stem made smoking a pipe seem almost elegant), indulging in the chocolates that were to die for.

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The Cruzan Rum Distillery

I don’t know why, but many of my memories are tied to scent:

Each morning, our school bus drove past the Cruzan Rum distillery.  Even now, at the age of 40, when I smell rum, I think of Good Hope School and the school bus . . . weird, I know.

 

 

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The Good Hope School

It was an awesome school — a private school built on beachfront land donated by Laurance Rockefeller.  We had a rotating schedule, which was geared toward making sure that we were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed at least one day a week for each subject.  (So, if you had Math, English, and Science on Monday, you’d have English, Science, and Math on Tuesday, and Science, Math, and English on Wednesday, etc., etc., etc.)  I had one open period in my schedule and I often spent it in the art classroom pretending to be talented or sitting on a rock down on the beach until my next class started.

I met probably the most intelligent and interesting educator of my life while a student there.  Richard Collings was my European history prof and even now, I occasionally correspond with him.  An amazing man, he was born in England and travelled all over Europe and other parts of the world.  He was able to teach history with so much more depth and make it so much more interesting because he’d actually been all the places he was telling us about.  While he managed to keep us on track lesson plan-wise, he still allowed us time to discuss issues that were important, confusing, or interesting to us.  One topic that came up repeatedly was the hostage crisis in ’79 – ’80, when Americans were held prisoner for months on end in Iran.  We were 9th graders, and for the first time in our lives, we realized that sometimes things happen that our parents might not be able to protect us from, or even themselves.

In my mind’s eye, it seems almost like yesterday when we left.  Three days after my sixteenth birthday, we boarded a plane and came back to Texas.  It was really difficult for me, because I’d made some very close friends in the brief time I lived there.  I wrote some heart-wrenching poetry (thank you, teenage angst) and slowly but surely readjusted to life in the “real” world.

Someday, I hope to return.  I’d like to take my husband with me and share “my” island with him.  If I’m feeling particularly generous, I might take my daughter, too . . . but it would be an awesome “just the two of us” trip.  Jami might have to stay with her MoMo. 


A lot has changed since I wrote this — our girl is grown and finishing college. My mom passed away two years ago. As much as my mom was a homebody, I think she enjoyed our adventure as much or more than we did. She settled in to life on the island really well, learning to drive on the left side of the road quickly and was not hesitant to get out there and explore, even while my dad was at work — taking care of us, running errands, participating in the HOVIC women’s service league. She bought cookbooks to learn how to fix the crazy things Dad brought home from his snorkeling and diving adventures — I can still see her standing over the stove, frying conch fritters and letting my sister and I make “creatures of the deep” with the leftover batter. Sometimes I think she adapted to life there better than any of us. I know if she were here now, she would be praying for the islanders, too.


I have borrowed photos from a variety of sources discovered through Google Search for the purposes of this blog post. As best I can tell, they are not copyrighted.

Update

So what’s up with you? I’d love to see some comments below — let me know how you are, what’s happening in your life, even if it’s only a couple of sentences.

Life’s pretty good here. It’s a little weird to be living a normal, non-eventful life when I know there are so many people dealing with the after effects of hurricanes and floods. I’m still working on putting things away after being gone for a number of days. As I put them (photos, negatives, sentimental this and that) back where they belong, I’m trying to cull the things that really aren’t important and organize the things that make the cut. Part of the reason: it was incredibly stressful trying to figure out which boxes to grab and which to leave behind when I evacuated. My goal is two-fold: to better organize my memories so that they can be enjoyed, and so it’s easier to secure them if we are ever threatened by storms again.

This past week has been a banner week business-wise. I had two appointments with potential window covering clients, and I am thrilled to say they have both selected me as their source. I am doing twenty plantation shutters for one client, and a combination of plantation shutters, decorative roller shades, and 2 1/2″ blinds (8 shutters, 9 shades, and 4 blinds) — so that is a real blessing. I have a couple of appointments on the schedule next week, too.

I’m hoping to finish up the editing of the photos I took during our “mother of all road trips” this summer and then I’ll share a little bit about our adventure. I should have already blogged about it, but truthfully I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by documenting an 18 day trip that covered over 4,500 miles. Our trip exceeded our (mine, for sure) expectations in so many ways — I just don’t know that I’ll ever be able to express it adequately. But I will try.

My Island

My island is not really my island, but for the short period of time I lived there as a teen, I fell in love with the rather small rock in the middle of the Caribbean, and I’ve never forgotten St. Croix. Right now, she is being battered by the winds and rain of Hurricane Maria, and I have been and continue to pray that loss of life will be zero, and there will be some sort of miracle as far as damage goes.

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It was on St. Croix that I first experienced that painful ache of viewing something of indescribable beauty, and the overwhelming desire to record it and remember it as best I could. It was on St. Croix that I really started flexing my poetry muscles with any sense of satisfaction. Keep in mind, what I share below was written by a fifteen year old teenager. At the time I thought it was pretty awesome. And now as I wait for news, as I wait for answers to my prayers, I read these words written almost forty years ago and remember.


Twilight Sea

Silver moonlight,

Diamonds scattered

By a careless hand

Across the waters.

Cool winds,

Scents of hibiscus,

Ginger thomas.

Peaceful winds,

Quiet shadows,

Gently moving palms,

Swaying flamboyant trees.

Cool winds,

Peaceful winds, 

Bring the spirit 

Of a twilight sea.

(1979)


Turquoise in Portrait

The ocean:

A turquoise stone

Melted into fluid motion,

Waves capped with

Ivory froth,

Ivory that is swallowed 

By the turquoise sea

And comes forth

On the next wave,

Undaunted.

(1979)


The Lonely Ruin

Turquoise, sky blue, deep purple

Blended together in a velvet sea

Washing golden white sands.

Long, stony road

Through tangled vines and

Tall mahogany trees of an ancient rain forest.

Clearing in the forest —

Ragged, crumbling vine covered walls,

Hundreds of years having stood.

Silent ghosts roam the halls

Open to the skies.

Gentle rains wet the floors

That have known the tread 

Of the elite dwellers 

Of a bygone day.

Worn path leading away

Through hibiscus and sea grape tree

To a rocky, jagged cliff.

Below,

Turquoise, sky blue, deep purple

Blended together in a velvet sea

Washing rocky, jagged shores.

(1979)


Tuning into Memories

Every song brings back

The memories of a distant age,

Where life held no requirements 

On the spirit.

In my ear’s memory, I hear

The fading strains

Of our favorite band, Styx,

And the delicate taste of

Orange Lipton tea still lingers

On my tongue, while the

Click of backgammon die

Quietly punctuates the

Heavy heartbeat of the “Renegade.”

Those were such fine days,

The sun streaming down on

Your pale green shag;

I stretched like a sleepy Siamese,

And you accused me of

Laziness.

We raced down the hill to the courts

To play a game of one-on-one,

While Dennis and Dave sat in the red Datsun,

Feet on dashboard,

Ears keenly attuned to Pink Floyd dreams.

Sweat beads formed on your lip,

And I asked if you wanted a Coke.

As we walked toward the rec hall

Beneath the sea grape trees,

A breeze smelling of salt

Cooled us and made us long for Cane Bay.

(1980)