Friday 23rd October 2015

by chel
first foggy morning of the season...

first foggy morning of the season…

In my head…
Just so you know, I wrote my last post (the one about Ginger, anemia, and the issues with the floors) over the span of the last few weeks. I know it seemed like a big load of stuff at one time, but it was sort of spread out over a month. I just wanted to thank everyone for their support and for the love. I know I sounded a little overwhelmed but I feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m just moving towards that, one little step at a time.

I think right now I need to focus on that- taking things one day at a time. I recently finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s book “Better Than Before” and she has what she calls “Rules of Adulthood” which are basically little maxims about being an adult that make life a little easier. As I was reading, I made up my own Rule of Adulthood, which is: Make the Right Decision at the Right Time. That’s kind of a response to my anxiety- I’m always thinking way too far ahead, processing all possible alternatives and outcomes and agonizing over everything, whether it’s what time to get in the pool to what to have for dinner, etc. “Make the Right Decision at the Right Time” is my reminder that there’s no need to agonize about decisions in advance or worry about things before they happen. I almost always change my mind, anyway.

I know it sounds silly, but just keeping that in my mind has been a big help. Make the Right Decision at the Right Time.

I’m also finding a lot of comfort in constantly making fresh to-do lists, even if they are just carbon copies of each other. I usually just write a big to-do list on Sundays and follow it through the week, but I’m finding that writing them every other day helps me figure out what’s important and what I feel up for and then I can sort of tackle those things first and not spend a lot of time wondering what needs to be done first.

and…

I know I keep mentioning it, but I’m *still* adjusting to the new school schedule. Life at Grace’s new school is busy, and I keep waiting for it to settle down. The truth is that it may not settle down- there’s just a lot going on. Grace seems to be thriving, though, so that’s all that matters.

I’ll be honest- my issue is that all my extra time (the time I used for painting, creative stuff, etc.) is pretty much gone. I used to get a few hours in the afternoon, but now I’m lucky if I get about half an hour before dinner, and a little bit of time first thing in the morning and right before bed. I probably should learn how to use those bits of time more constructively, but I gotta admit, I’m not really firing on all cylinders first thing in the morning and right before bed. Especially not now, with anemia clouding my brain. I have to admit- I think the mental part of anemia (the dizziness and the lethargy) is far worse than the physical part. I hate not feeling sharp and focused. I thrive on that, so to feel like I’m sort of spaced out so much of the time frustrates me.

On the flip side, it’s taught me a lot about authenticity and values. I know this sounds super weird, but stick with me for a minute. Because I don’t have much time/energy/focus, it becomes very apparent very quickly what I really feel driven to do. The other stuff falls away very quickly. That’s been eye-opening for me in a lot of ways, and I’m still working through what I’m discovering. Now I need to find the courage to cross the other stuff off the list and just go for what really matters and makes me feel good.
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Outside my window…

IT’S FALL! Well, it’s still 80-85 degrees out every day and it rains pretty regularly, but *still*, it’s fall!

There’s something very different about the light and the quality of the air in fall. It’s kind of magical to me, and I’m not a really big “magic” kinda person. I have said this before, but there’s a weird quickening I get in the fall that I can’t experience any other time of the year. It’s like my personal New Year’s- everything feels fresh and new and possible and okay. I don’t know why the heck I feel this way at this time of year, but it’s really a big deal for me. It’s almost like summer being over is this huge weight off my shoulders- I physically feel such a difference.

I’m trying to enjoy the weather as much as possible. We were able to open the doors and windows a few days ago for the first time in about five months, which was so lovely. And there was a beautiful morning fog this past week, the first of the season.

The flip side to Hurricane Joaquin was that we got this stretch of astoundingly gorgeous weather- cooler temperature, super breezy and dry, puffy clouds racing across a deep blue sky. It lasted for about four days. I felt really wretched enjoying that weather when the hurricane was causing so much damage and loss of life and threatening major problems on the east coast. But, it was sort of like summer was pushed out and fall came in overnight.
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In the art studio…
Working on the planner. I forgot how addicted I get to collaging stuff and figuring out what images and information to put together. I know I said this before, but I *really* like the “mish-mash” approach to documenting life so much more than scrapbooking (which I also like, I just like being able to add everything – including magazine images and ephemera and random stuff- even more.)

Also, I can work on it on the fly. I can spend 10 minutes on it, and get things done, as opposed to my other creative interests which often require an hour or more to do anything.

I haven’t really been able to do any coloring or color palettes in the last month. No time.

I also want to start painting in acrylics again SOON. I keep thinking about it. Yearning for it. That’s a good sign. I just hope I can get going on my own. The last two years I took Flora Bowley’s “Bloom True” during October and November, and that forced me to start painting, but this year I didn’t sign up because I didn’t want to lose six weeks of the fall to me being obsessed with the class. But if I can’t get painting again, I will be signing up for a class soon.

There’s also a bunch of classes on CreativeBug that look great. I got a subscription for Gracie this summer (she likes to take online art classes because we usually have all the materials here in the art studio) and there’s some stuff on there that *I* want to take. The rest of Lisa Cogden’s classes, the watercolor classes, etc…

And I *really* want to take an online class on Buddhism. I don’t know where, or when, but every year I try to take something spiritual/well-being-based, and this year I think I want to do something that’s more like an overview (history of buddhism, etc.)  of a big topic. I think the fact that it’s autumn makes me itchy to take a class.

I just need to figure out the time.
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In the garden…

I finally made my fall seed orders, and got everything a few weeks ago. I wanted to plant everything right away, but I learned the hard way in years past that if I plant when the weather is still too warm, none of the seeds sprout. For those wondering “WHY is she planting seeds in fall?” it’s because here in Southwest Florida, fall is basically our spring. Spring and summer are too hot and wet to grow anything, so fall and winter are our peak gardening months.

As far as seeds, they are a bunch of different Coleus (a regular in my garden), Geranium (another regular, but this year I am only doing four varieties as opposed to the ten I usually do), Petunia (another regular, but again I’m scaling down- four varieties), and a few random selections: one packet of Nasturtium (skipped it last year but want to get one big planter going again for this year), a bunch of catnip (Chester’s obsession), Brazilian Fireworks (could never get it to go before but will try again) and a few other seeds I can’t remember. The reason for fewer petunias/geranium is that I got a lot of tropical/all season plants this summer (shrimp plants, lantana, mandevilla) and I’m out of room for seasonal plants!

This year I decided to try germinating the seeds indoors so that I could get an early start. My geraniums and petunias have already sprouted, but I’m giving them a bit of time in the Jiffy soil pellets before I transfer them. I also planted a single Nasturtium seed, and that went crazy, so I transferred that yesterday. Usually nasturtiums don’t like being transferred so we’ll see how that does after being started inside.
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Reading…

Right now I’m reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Glibert which is amazing (I think I have highlighted about 85% of the book) and at night, when I can’t sleep, I am reading Celeste Ng’s “Everything I Never Told You.” I’m only about 20% into that book, but so far, it’s very readable and I’m interested so that’s a good sign.

As I mentioned above, I spent September reading “Better Than Before” by Gretchen Rubin, who wrote “The Happiness Project” and “Happier at Home”. As with all of her books, I liked “Better Than Before” a lot. I definitely got a lot out of it.  It’s all about how people form habits- good and bad. I have an obsessive and organized personality, but I’m also super indecisive about things, so for me, habits are always really hit (like swimming, which I have done religiously since I got in the pool 23 years ago) or really miss (remember that 100 Day Project? I lasted two weeks.) It was very interesting to see how my tendencies about thing factor into which habits stick, and learn a little about why.

Next I read the newest Alexander McCall Smith (“The Woman who Walks in Sunshine”) and it was charming. I read it in two afternoons.

I also re-read a book called “Spark” that I was sent for review a few years back and found on my shelf the other day.

I wanted to throw “Fates and Furies” across the room because it was so bad (not really, it’s on my iPad so I didn’t throw anything, but I *wanted* to). Total nonsense about totally ridiculous characters. It was readable, but just insufferable. I know some people are going insane over this book, about how good they think it is, and I guess I can see it, but in the end it just felt like more manipulative fiction dressed up in interesting writing about millenial hipsters living very broken lives..
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Watching (Movies)…
We finally started going to the movies again a few weeks ago, and we’ve been catching up on movies at home, too.

The Martian was amazing.

The Walk, (in 3D) was BEAUTIFUL and so inspiring. Of course, I have a special place in my heart for the story since I’m a New Yorker, and it’s about the Twin Towers right after they were built, so it was amazing to see it unfold in 3D. I can’t recommend “The Walk” enough. I’m a little crushed it’s not doing better at the box office, because it’s a wonderful movie (really great for kids, too) and the story is really meaningful. Maybe if it’s nominated for some awards, it will gain some traction, and more people will see it.

Loved Crimson Peak and I am very very glad we had a chance to see it in the theater. Sumptuous, and not that scary at all- just creepy and gothic.

Black Mass was good, not great. Johnny Depp was amazing, though.

San Andreas was surprisingly good. Not excellent cinematic innovation or anything, but a very very watchable movie. A little trigger-y if you are sensitive to natural disasters and/or urban destruction (watching buildings fall always makes me a little edgy…)

Finally, The Wolfpack was AMAZING. The description: “Winner of Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, this critically acclaimed documentary follows the Angulo brothers who were locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and discovered about the outside world through the films that they watch. Nicknamed the Wolfpack, the brothers spend their childhood re-enacting their favorite films using elaborate homemade props and costumes. With no friends and living on welfare, they feed their curiosity, creativity, and imagination with film, which allows them to escape from their feelings of isolation and loneliness. Everything changes when one of the brothers escapes, and the power dynamics in the house are transformed. The Wolfpack must learn how to integrate into society without disbanding the brotherhood.” If you have a chance to watch one film at home anytime soon, you should check this out.
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Watching (TV)…
Okay, we found an amazing show- it’s called “Fortitude”. We watched the first season of “Manhattan” (which was excellent) and then I went on IMDB to look at their “if you enjoyed ____, you might enjoy _____” list (from which I have found a lot of interesting shows for us to binge watch) and Fortitude popped up. I never heard of it, or the channel that it aired on (Pivot?) but the trailer looked great and Stanley Tucci was in it, and it was supposed to have a sci-fi element to it, so we went ahead and downloaded it.

Description: “Fortitude is a place like nowhere else. Although surrounded by the savage beauty of the Arctic landscape, Fortitude is one of the safest towns on earth. There has never been a violent crime here. Until now.”

SO. GOOD. Really great.

It’s sort of like if Broadchurch was set in the North Pole, with a mystery about a Wooly Mammoth in addition to the murder mystery. I know that sounds insane, but it’s so compelling.

And “Mahattan” was great, too. That’s an American cable series about the scientists that built the Atomic Bomb during World War II. Unfortunately, they made a few changes in season two (no more Sigur Ros doing the score, and Daniel Stern’s character seems to written off, which is unfortunate…) that makes me like the show a little less.

Oh, and season two of Fargo started! And season two of The Affair. Homeland started, too, but we always find that we like that show so much better when we binge watch it, so we’re saving the episodes on the Tivo and we’ll watch when the season is done.

As far as family TV, we’re watching the new season of Amazing Race, the current season of Project Runway, and an old season of Survivor (season 14- Fiji) which we started late this summer and will finish before we start watching the *new* season.

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Okay, that’s a lot for now 🙂 If you’ve read all this, thank you. <3 I hope you have an amazing weekend!

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...comments...

  1. Meg says:

    I love these posts! <3 I like hearing about all that you're up to, and love the books / tv / movies too! I have been hearing a lot about Big Magic, that sounds like a good one. And Better Than Before sounds awesome too. Oh man, "Broadchurch, if it were in the North Pole" == SOLD!! Ha, now I totally want to watch!

    I also like your new rule of adulthood. And I love your enthusiasm for Fall! I feel that way about Fall too, and not even sure why. It's just my favorite season, especially up here, with the Fall colors, I'm just thrown into this LOVE of the earth and.. yeah, it's amazing. There's just this switch in the air, too, and I totally get the "magic" feeling. It's just so different from summer, and I adore it.

    Glad you wrote and shared all this, Chel! It's awesome to read these, as always. 🙂

    • chel says:

      Aww, thanks! I’m glad that you are reading 🙂 I’m so glad you get the whole “magic” feeling about fall. It feels like everything is so different. It makes everything just more… magical. And I’m not much of a “magic” kinda girl. Just a big relief after summer, like the sky opened up!

  2. Misti says:

    YAY! 🙂 I love reading these posts…so much that I’ve started doing my own the last few months. It’s a really good place for a brain dump! 🙂

    The whole knowing what’s really a priority—yes…yes…yes. Still trying to figure that out but I think I’m getting there.

    Hugs to you!

    • chel says:

      I love your “Around Here” posts. I’m sorry I’ve been so bad at commenting- I get so little time to do anything so I always read things and mark them to come back and comment and then just get overwhelmed. And you know how long-winded I get in responses 😉 The whole “what is a priority?” thing is… wooooof. Still puzzling it out, and it changes day to day. I feel like I need to figure out bottom line stuff (apart from family and health) and then just follow that, period.

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hello!

I’m Chel (pronounced “shell”, short for “Michele”).

I’m a visual artist, writer, gardener, art historian, long-distance swimmer, crochet-er, movie watcher, animal lover, and avid reader.

I’m also a (newly) practicing Buddhist, studying online at Sravasti Abbey.

Random facts:
– I have an eleven year old daughter named Grace and a husband named Tom.
– I grew up on Long Island, NY, went to college/grad school in Atlanta (Emory University) in the 1990’s, and now I live in Southwest Florida.
– I’m incredibly shy but I adore my friends and family.
– I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 30 years and I love animals of all kinds- we have four rescue cats, three parrots, and an elderly gecko and we raise butterflies.
– I swim five miles every day- rain, shine, storm, or travel.
– I was born with Spina Bifida, and swimming keeps me healthy and sane.
– When I’m not in the pool, I’m in my art studio, with a hot cup of tea.
– I am REALLY BAD at answering email, and I hate the telephone, so I apologize in advance for being hard to reach. (Told you I was shy…)

If you’d like to know more, click here

contact me at:
lists@gingerblue.com

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