What’s going on around here:
In my head…
I’m a little in shock that March is almost over. Where did it all go? How is it almost April? I know I said this *last* month, but the weeks are sort of flying by.
As far as the home improvement project, Gracie is now moved up into her new bedroom, so we can cross that off the list. *phew* She’s thrilled. I need to post some pictures.
The floors for the rest of the house are on hold because my dad is in the midst of two cataract surgeries- he had the first last week and will have the second next week. So no sawing floors and installing them with sawdust everywhere for him. In the meantime, Tom is moving himself into his new office (Gracie’s old bedroom), painting the walls, and figuring out the furniture situation.
So things, home-improvement wise, are a little less hectic for right now, but everything is still sort of out-of-place and a little out of sorts. Tom’s working off the dining room table, all the contents of his office are in the sunroom and bedroom closet, and other odds and ends (contents of Gracie’s old room she’s undecided on) are piled about.
I’m pretty tidy and organized, so the piles drive me a little batty. But only a little batty, which means I can stand them. They are mostly tucked away and in the corners. Tom did a great job with that, and I’m grateful for that, since it would have been easier for him to just put them all in one place. But he took the time to try and make it orderly for my benefit, and that was very sweet of him, especially with all he has going on. Every spare second for him counts at the moment.
I’m still a bit stressed out and feeling overwhelmed, but it’s definitely better than it was just a few weeks ago.
I’ve found it really helpful to devote entire afternoons to getting loose ends tied up. For example, last week I took two afternoons to tackle a bunch of things that shouldn’t (in theory) take long, but in reality always take quite a while. Ordering groceries online, signing Gracie up online for spring soccer, looking at school stuff for next year, looking over and paying the bills, clearing off some of the stuff on my desk, etc. Fussy stuff. Stuff that requires forms and routing numbers and running back and forth around the house to check on what we need.
Of course, I WANTED to be painting, but I just sort of surrendered to the stuff that was piling up and decided to give it the time I knew it needed (several hours), rather than the time I *wanted* it to take (15 minutes, which is totally unrealistic). Honestly, it felt so good to get it done and not have to rush through it or put it off some more.
So I want to do more of that, even thought I know I’ll be doing less creative work. I’m always afraid if I don’t paint or create everyday I’ll lose momentum, but I realized that I can skip a day or two and still be able to pick right back up. It’s when I take a long time from a project that it feels like I forgot how to do it. And then I get really hesitant to do it.
So I guess right now I’m focusing on the little things and not worrying about the big picture. One thing at a time.
Outside my window…
(cue the “I live in Southwest Florida” disclaimer here) It’s summer. The temperatures in the daytime are mid-80’s, the sun is very high in the sky- close to scorching, but not quite there yet, and the plants need water daily, which is rare for humid Southwest Florida. But this time of year, when it gets super hot and it’s still fairly dry outside, things get a little crispy and wilty. Including humans, if they stay outside too long.
Gracie has gone back to wearing shorts and t-shirts to school every day. That’s always a good indication of the weather, too. She gets cold pretty easily, so when she’s in t-shirts and shorts, it means it’s hot.
I know it’s technically spring, but since I grew up in NY, I measure the weather against what season it would be in NY. And if I were in NY, and we had this weather, it would be middle of summer. So it’s summer. We’ll have this until about June, and then Hurricane Season. And then… FALL!
But for right now, I am enjoying the sunny weather, the beautiful blue-sky mornings, and the fact that the garden is going crazy in bloom.
In the art studio…
I’ve actually turned a corner with my painting. Meaning, I can see that there might actually be a finishing point on the horizon. That’s pretty exciting for me, even though I think I’ll be working on it for at least another month. I only get to paint in two hour increments a few times a week, and I’m doing super detailed work with a zillion layers, so it is what it is.
I’m still really enjoying working on it, and I’m still taking my sweet time with it, but I have to admit, I’m excited to work with different colors since I’ve sort of locked into the color scheme of teal-aqua-midnight blue-green gold-crimson-white. For instance, orange. Orange thrills me, simply because I haven’t used any orange paint in weeks. The idea of painting something orange and leafy green and a bright sunny yellow… maybe with a splash of PINK, even.
I’m also feeling very drawn to watercolor again. It must be a seasonal thing. Usually when I swim, I contemplate my current painting and kind of work through ideas in my head. But lately, I have been thinking a lot about watercolor. Patterns and watercolor. Resist and watercolor. Abstract watercolor with acrylic painted details on top…. I have a feeling I’ll probably be pulling out my watercolors in the next few weeks (days?) and playing a bit.
Hoping/looking forward to…
Having less on my to-do list? That’s such a stinky, lame answer to that prompt. But right now it feels like I’m in the thick of it and the thing to focus on is just taking things as they come rather than looking ahead weeks in advance.
I’m also looking forward to opening two little boxes of art/craft supplies that are sitting on my desk, unopened. I placed two orders right after the CHA show (Craft and Hobby Association- every year they have a big convention where all the companies preview new art supplies and online stores take pre-orders for the products) back in January, and the products I ordered finally got released and shipped last week. I decided not to open the boxes until later this week after I get a few things done and can spend a few hours playing with the stuff, as sort of a little reward/incentive. I’m kinda psyched about it.
Honestly? I’m kind of looking forward to tourist season being over. Several of the houses on our street are vacation rentals (some illegally), so sometimes it’s a bit like living in the midst of someone else’s Spring Break, and every week it changes. One set of people leave, and the next come right in.
I will say that the vacation renters who have come in recently are nothing compared to the people that rented nearby a few summers ago. There was some serious drama going on with them and it all played out every day in their back yard, so the whole neighborhood was privy to it. Every morning at 10am, they’d bang out the back door and just start in on each other as they hung around the back yard. As the day went on, and they got more intoxicated, the volume would increase.
I’m not a fan of listening to other people talking (it kind of drives me crazy to hear other people’s conversations), so I tried to shut it out, but anyone within a five-house-radius couldn’t help but hear everything that was going on. The worst part was that one of them had a little girl, and I don’t think there was full custody because she wasn’t there all the time, but when she was, they would just carry on with the shouting at each other like she wasn’t..
At the end of the summer, they both disappeared and abandoned the house, and then there were a series of cleaners and repair people that came in afterwards that made no secret of the condition of the house. Then the house got sold for a song and the new owners fixed it up and now they rent off and on.
It was a little insane. Even when I lived in dorms at college, different apartments around Atlanta, and the condo here, I never had neighbors like that. It was like a reality TV show, every day. But you couldn’t turn it off. Even inside the house, you could hear it loud and clear.
Ever since that happened, anytime anyone new pulls up to that house, I get really nervous and cringe-y. I hear the back door slam in the morning and feel myself get anxious. I know it’s stupid, but I like quiet. Don’t get me wrong, my others neighbors definitely make noise (as we do- our cats are very vocal and we do have three parrots!), but I *know* their noise. There’s the Fox News channel guy who likes to talk on the phone outside, the Electric Light Orchestra guy with the boat, the Russian couple who have lots of their friends over and have loud, animated discussions in their native tongue, the people down the street with the dogs that bark at pretty much any moving thing. But those are familiar to me. And everyone keeps it in check, for the most part.
I like a little bit of privacy. I like living in a residential place. It’s just something I really value after years of living in apartments and condos. I feel uncomfortable being exposed to other people’s business, especially when it’s volatile but not quite at the level where anything can be done to make it better. It just makes you a little sad, in a way. Especially when that little girl was there- I really wanted to go through the bushes and just tell her to come and swim in our pool until things got quieter. I hope things are better for her.
Still re-reading my way through “Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency” series. I’m almost done with “Tea Time for the Traditionally Built.” This book is much better than the previous few I read in the series so I’m back to loving it all again. One weird thing, though- I changed the font on my Kindle app and for some reason that made the book a lot more enjoyable. I don’t know what *that’s* about, but … weird.
Also, all the new issues of Better Homes & Gardens, O, Islands, Sunset, and Coastal Living- the actual printed versions. I just can’t get on board with reading magazines on my iPad. I love getting fresh copies of magazines in the mailbox. I love the format, love the glossy paper, love the beautiful photos… I just love magazines. I pretty much hunt Amazon and other magazine subscription sites, and as soon as the price drops on anything I’m interested in, I either start a new subscription or add to my ongoing one.
I’m currently holding off subscribing to Real Simple- I just can’t see myself paying $40 for two years. Every so often a $5 or $10 for a year offer pops up, but I haven’t seen one for Real Simple in a while…
As far as the travel magazines: I’m on this weird Island/Island living kick right now. I’ve always been interested in living by the water, but lately I am really feeling super-connected to my “island” roots, even though those two islands are Long Island and Marco Island and neither are in the Caribbean. Still- they are both real, official islands, and I’ve spent all but seven years of my life living on islands, so that’s 33+ years of island life. I don’t think I would be happy if I didn’t live close to the water.
I found this show on HGTV called “Caribbean Life” which features people house-hunting on all the different Caribbean Islands. Even though it drives me a little bonkers that the people never end up buying the houses they choose, the show fascinates me because it goes to each of the different Caribbean Islands and shows famous parks and beaches.
The blue water in Turks & Caicos… just, wow. That gets me EVERY TIME. The other night poor Tom had to listen to me ask him over and over and over if he was as amazed as I was by it, even though we had already seen a bunch of episodes with the same exact video clips of the water there. The water is brighter than the sky down there. It almost overwhelms me how beautiful it looks. I don’t like to travel, and my health makes it difficult (ever try and sterilize a hotel shower? That’s always super fun.), but I might have to make an exception to go swim in that water. I mean, it’s only a quick plane ride away.
There’s also a show called “Island Life” which features the islands around the US, but that one is rarely on. I almost like that one better because I love seeing the variety of landscape and learning about the different weather around the US.
Last night we finished “The Wire”. What a great show. Very complex, and emotional, and definitely the kind of show you carry with you even when you’re not watching it.
Now it’s “House of Cards” and catching up on everything else we’ve been TiVo-ing while working our way through “The Wire”.
We haven’t been to the movies in ages. I feel kinda guilty about it, but it’s been crazy busy, there’s nothing great that we felt like we *had* to make the time to see, and because of tourist season traffic, it takes forever to get into Naples.
However, I want to see “Insurgent” so I hope we’ll be motivated to get to the movies soon. And the spring/summer movie season will start soon, and then it’s go time.
I have been cutting my usual tea with decaf in an effort to try and see if it helps my sleep, and it seems to be working. I’m actually sleeping in chunks that last a couple of hours instead of waking up every hour and struggling to get back to sleep.
I used to “de-caf” my tea, and I’m not sure why I stopped. I just get a flavorless decaf from Adagio (usually the decaf ceylon they have) and put a teaspoon of the decaf for every teaspoon of the fully caffeinated teas I drink. The flavors of the caffeinated teas come through just fine with most of the blends, and I feel less jittery.
I should probably do the same thing with my iced tea, and I mostly do, but after 6pm or whatever I should knock out all things caffeinated (well, except chocolate.) Work in progress, I suppose.
the sun rising a bit earlier every morning.
cats and birds and lizards (mine in particular, but I like all of them.)
cherry italian ices and jelly beans.
really tiny paintbrushes and Lascaux gold paint.
sleeping in every so often.
good series of books.
As always, thank you for reading all this! Hope you are having an excellent week!leave a comment...