The Clean Side of the Living Room


I am typing this post in the messy half of the living room. I just cleaned half of the living room — vacuuming and steam cleaning. I moved all the toddler debris to the other side of the living room. I moved the couch until I could not move it anymore. I blocked in all the mess and decided it was OK to clean what I could. Half is better than none.

I managed to put away rogue toys and forgot (intentionally) about the proper container to put them in. Thinking to myself — if they are in a container that is good enough and then musing about containers and problems and people and who is an IKEA or container store person and WHY. WHY? Why must all the debris be put away? It is in the messy side of the living room that true living happens, but I long long long for the clean side of the living room, with its toys put away and rug vacuumed. And steam cleaned. Steam clean it all away — all of life’s dirt and grit.

But the dirt and grit is where the living truly happens.

F that. I want a clean living room. But for now I acknowledge that the messy side is where I really live.

Ben sits in front of me finger painting  his lime green Dollar Store Play-Doh knock off cap (with water colors).  A stack of boxes he will not let me have or rather disassemble to put in the nice IKEA/Container Store cubby shelves. The plastic cubby buckets are his ladders to his roof. His roof is his Mickey Mouse Playhut. Ya know the square tents that fold up to be one dimensional. But once unfolded are three dimensional with a fourth reserved for the imagination of a toddler’s mind. The dimension which transforms it to a roof to a house that hold everything that is needed: messy imagination on the other side of the living room.

So, one side of my living room is clean. The other still messy. And guess where I feel most comfortable and write this right now? Yep, the messy side.

Life gets messy. And sometimes it is just as beautiful and serene as the clean side.

Photo by Megan Oteri

Photo by Megan Oteri — Field in Southeast Wyoming

 

March Muse


Ben picked camellias today on our walk. Camellias mean perfected loveliness. In the Victorian era, they were given when courting. Click here for list of different flower’s meanings in the Victorian era.

From The History and Language of Flowers

  • CAMELLIA (PINK) – Longing
  • CAMELLIA (RED) – You’re a flame in my heart
  • CAMELLIA (WHITE) – Adoration, Perfection, Loveliness
Camilla

Camilla — Youth and Beauty

I live in a house built in 1880. I guess that means I kind of live in the Victorian age.

Victorian Snow Fall

Victorian Snow Fall

We also saw a bright red cardinal. It was interesting because I literally was just thinking about my mom. And the cardinal came out of nowhere. It was so red. We stared up at the tree, our necks craned. Then I reminded Ben that Bob the Builder was into birds too.

This is a link about the meaning of cardinals. The second paragraph is very interesting to me since my mother recently passed away.

Cardinal in tree

Cardinal in tree

“Many spiritual people will tell you that a cardinal also represents death or afterlife. Reports from loved ones and hospice workers often state that a cardinal appears just before or after a death, or that a cardinal frequently visits or appears in dreams after the loss of a loved one. As a totem symbol, the cardinal symbolizes vitality. A balance of intuition, perseverance and strength, the cardinal is said to offer safe passage into the realm of personal power to realize one’s goals and dreams.” – wildlife.blurtit.com

My mother gave me this angel and her mother gave it to her.

My mother gave me this angel and her mother gave it to her.

“Many spiritual people will tell you that a cardinal also represents death or afterlife.”

"Where there is sorrow there is holy ground." - Kahlil Gibran

“Where there is sorrow there is holy ground.” – Oscar Wilde

I spoke with someone I went to junior high with in Chicago today. He lives in my hometown, where I grew up (Wheaton). He is going to help me create a video for The Community Kitchen to help promote the book project. Anyway, he went to the elementary school where my mom worked and he remembered her. He remembered her red hair. Her beautiful flaming red hair as bright as the cardinal. I got all verklempt and couldn’t hold back the tears. It was strange being so vulnerable with someone I hadn’t seen or spoken with since junior high school.

My mom, Betty with her beautiful red hair and amazing smile

My mom, Betty with her beautiful red hair and amazing smile

Those two moments today were beautiful, but sharp. Like an elegant stick — like the elegant stick that Ben grabbed as I tried to corral him away from the street as he walked in toddler wonder, curious about beauty with his two camellias he picked for his daddy. Perfected loveliness.wm Ben with flowers
“You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
― Anne Lamott

In memory of my mother, Elizabeth Miller.

in memory wmstone statue wm

Recommended reading: The Language of Flowers by Victoria Diffenbaugh

“It wasn’t as if the flowers themselves held within them the ability to bring an abstract definition into physical reality. Instead, it seemed that…expecting change, and the very belief in the possibility instigated a transformation.”
― Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Language of Flowers

Who do you miss and what makes you think of them?

Feel free to write a comment and/or add “In memory of…”

Let the Light In — Dog Sh*t Happens


Window Light

Window Light

Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.” – Williams Wordsworth

Wyoming hills near Cheyenne, Wyoming

Wyoming hills near Cheyenne, Wyoming

“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” – C. S. Lewis

Dog in boat, resting in the sun

Dog in boat, resting in the sun

“To love beauty is to see light.” – Victor Hugo

I am rather smitten with this photo.  I just adore it.

Leaf on Lake

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” – Aristotle Onassis

My mother and I on my wedding day.
My mother and I on my wedding day.  My mother passed away Christmas Eve 2012. My heart hurts.

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”- Edith Wharton

"Every moment of light and dark is a miracle." - Walt Whitman

“Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.” – Walt Whitman

I had a really good day today. I spent time doing meaningful work; I played with my son. I watched him build a mountain out of couch cushions, which he called his mountain. He climbed it, curled within it, and sat atop it proud. He stood on it, went underneath it, and cried behind it when I moved one of the pillows. Toddlers are curious creatures; their moods so intense. I thought to myself, “My son built a mountain out of pillows. Who says I can’t move mountains?”

I continued my day thinking only positive thoughts — I let the light in, after all it was shining. I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with my son. He stood on a chair, pouring in the ingredients. I let him crack the egg, allowing his own method of crushing it. Surprisingly, no eggshells fell into the batter. The light shone in through the kitchen windows. I pulled back the curtains I usually keep closed. I let the light in.

My day was filled with warmth and sunshine. After I dropped off my husband at work after lunch, I took my son with me to get shoes. I never shop for shoes. I needed a pair of sneakers. I found the perfect pair: purple Nikes. I had the check-out clerk call the manager (in fact I asked twice — I get that from my mom being a little pushy when necessary). I thanked the manager for a wonderful shopping experience. My son played with a penny we found on the ground walking into the store. He ran up and down the aisles as I walked away from the shoe helper in mid-sentence looking for my toddler son, whom I could hear laughing. The shoe helper, TJ was kind and patient. He knew a lot about shoes; he knew a lot about feet. I tried on a dozen pairs at least and asked two dozen questions about shoes. TJ kept an eye on my son and told me if he was within sight if I had lost sight of him. My purple shoes were perfect. I have bad knees, torn ACL and ACL replacement surgery. TJ helped me find my purple shoes. He was kind. He was knowledgeable. He also was born the year I was a sophomore in college.

I told the store manager how great this shoe shopping experience was after we checked out. Purple shoes, bubbles my son found near the check out line, and M & M’s in a bag. The manager smiled, revealing Invisalign braces and shiny freckles on his forehead. He was happy; his light was shining. He said, “This is great. Usually people call on me to complain.”

“This is not the case. I have had a wonderful shoe shopping experience today.” I followed with, “I really hate shoe shopping.”

He asked me, “Is this your first time in the store?”

“Yes, but it will not be my last.” I smiled.

My light shined.

“Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.” – Desiderius Erasmus

***

My next stop was to get my haircut.  Ben and I blew bubbles while we walked.  His light shined. I focused on this moment and held my breath. I felt lucky.

I gave my hairdresser three cookies: homemade. We chatted about motherhood and its hidden secrets. I told my hairdresser, Libia, “I give you creative freedom with my hair.” She cut my hair as we talked. My son ate M & Ms and played on the floor. I shared my creative passion with her: writing. I love my hairdresser. Her light shines. I always request her and I get my hair cut at Great Clips. I wouldn’t spend any extra money at a fancy salon. She is that good. She is that kind.

This time my hair shined.

I finished the day at the park with my son and mom friend.

My son at the park with his friend

My son at the park with his friend

It was a lovely day.

I went to pick up my husband at work. When we got home I noticed a strong scent of poop. I checked the area for a rogue dirty diaper. Nothing.

Then I check my new purple sneakers. Bingo!

I stepped in dog shit getting out of the car — in my brand new perfect purple sneakers. Dog shit happens.

You can always clean it up.

It was a good day. Light trumps dark. But the two exist together. Today I chose light. It chose me. We shined.

Mirrors of beauty

Mirrors of beauty