Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Little Lights, and Other Means

Light, and hope, signs of intelligence, or at least true compassion, any means of saving our hearts and minds... that's what I look out for, and want to kindle, fan. These days, though. Oh. Truly. Just too much. National news, tragedies, bad weather, and bad governing... any of it is more than enough to keep us on edge, unnerved. I don't say much.. I don't want to add to anyone's plate, or take away anyone's peace of mind, so I paint, or crochet, or watch my hens. I listen to my children laugh, or read aloud.

I make my bed.
I floss.
Yes, flossing, and bed-making.
And yoga, too.

In the midst of some of the most trying events, and longest days, when there is a great deal I am struggling to manage, I have turned my priorities around, and am clinging diligently to little things, simple details, the very minor things I have tended to leave for last (meaning: completely abandon.) I am embarrassed to admit that, at long last, I am devotedly doing very, very basic tasks, and feeling accomplished about it. Anyway, it's what I am doing... a routine of personal undertakings that give me even a teeny sense of having done a good thing, and then I move on to whatever other pressing things I can manage. Strangely, I haven't seemed to be any less "behind" on all of those bigger, daunting tasks... I wish I could say I am getting ahead, but. Yeah. No. I am not getting ahead, but my bed is made.

This week got harder, though. Some pressing paper work came in the mail, a call reminding me about dental procedures that need completing, we are waiting to hear from the school Max applied to, and Maria was just visiting her high school of choice and there is plenty to manage and consider with that, and, and, and, and, and I am leaving plenty out, because I don't want to add to anyone's plate, which is why I don't say much. But... I'm feeling it. All of it. And if anyone wants to commiserate, or share their most best tips for how they live fabulously, adulting, coping, soaring, even getting ahead, please, feel free to share.

Confession... if I'd used the time I've spent reading Top Ten Tips to A Cleaner Home on Pinterest boards, to actually take out the garbage and shred the junk mail, I might be one step closer to being a fabulous adult. Happily, at least one good tip I read, somewhere, has made a practical impression on my cotton-headed noggin: Breaks. Housework bores me silly, and the tougher assignments, like figuring out pressing paper work that arrives in the mail, or cleaning my desk, drain my brain and soul. But the tip I read, suggests taking things one at a time, and enjoying breaks. Wash the dishes, then read an article. Sort the mail and feed the farm, then cut some flowers, plant some seeds. Fold two tons of laundry, then paint, or crochet. Instead of feeling like cleaning will mean a long day of drudgery, that everything on the list is an equal priority... I take it in small bites.

Oh my gosh. I have not suddenly seen the light and am earning a gold star for domestic competence. I would be so mortified if someone could make an algorithm to display every Chickenblog post, in the last 16 years, when I have had an epiphany or lightbulb moment about how to do things better, start over, try harder.

Breaks. That's it. That is my latest scheme and method for facing dirty dishes, another junk drawer disaster, or epic bureaucratic paper work chore. I just resign myself to going at whatever is most pressing, doing it as best I can, then enjoying an Instagram spree, or second cup of tea, or painting another ratty-rat. In fact, writing this post is my break/reward for clearing out an entire garage closet, cleaning the kitchen, and finding the thing that made the fridge stink.

Recent events make me want to reach out, to ask, Ça va? Are you okay?

Ça va, Chango?

And when the news got to be too much, I painted more...

Ça va, ratty-rats? So many rats.

So many good moments, and little lights, to hearten us, and those breaks to recharge our minds and souls.

Ça va, friends? I know I could use some encouragement. How about you?

I am looking for light, but these two... I think they'd appreciate it if, after making their bed, I would remember to close the curtains.


  1. You've made me smile, Natalie - all those things to do - I have them too. But then I just have to cut out another quilt and spend time faffing around with more fabrics. I'm teaching now, in my workshop, and that is a space that's well organised and has to be vacuumed after each class. The rest of the house is like a bomb-site! I definitely do the 'breaks' thing - empty/load dishwasher then wander around the garden, do washing then have a sit down and some crochet, sometimes I do the break and then a bit of other stuff. Love your little mice - they're so sweet. As long as there's always time for creativity, the world will be a better place! Ax

    1. If you could hear me exhale, then smile, too. There's nothing better than reaching out, and finding a friend. Thank you. We always manage to have at least one (read: 2-3) disaster areas, which mortifies me, but then, again... I feel like we are giving time and energy to the things that matter more to us, like creativity. And the "breaks" are so good! I used to admonish myself for not pushing through, getting everything done, but it's near impossible to get everything done. There's always something more, and then the next time around I face the chores and can't summon the courage to start. It's better with breaks... we know!

      I love that you are teaching! That's really wonderful, and it makes me hope and imagine that I might find myself in your workshop, one day!

  2. Natalie, you made my day with this post. At 67 yrs old my life is so full, house is so full, heart is so full. The weight of the world seems to creep over me now and then, but hearing your "confessions" just spoke to me like a dear friend who understands. Thank you. I agree with the "break" strategy, and with surrounding myself with beauty and whimsy(ie. ordering mini winnie the pooh characters who sit in my window and are always ready for tea!

    1. And you've made my day with this comment... thank you. Cheers for whimsy! Cheers for beauty! I am sorry about that weight of the world. Do things feel different? I cannot decide or understand if it's me that's changed, or if things are deteriorating outside. I know it has never been a perfect world, but it's so much easier to feel hopeful when there's at least an effort and consideration to seek progress, and dialogue about issues. Oh. Dear... you know, I could go for some tea, right now~


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