Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly celebration on her blog. I appreciate this invitation to reflect on the positives of my week.
I had big plans involving lots of reading, writing, yoga, and course design for my final week of winter break, but that’s not what the week ended up looking like. I don’t think I opened a book at all during daytime hours. I did yoga once. I hardly wrote. And I didn’t start working on refreshing and redesigning my courses (which start MONDAY!) until Friday night. It was a weird week of fractured attention, lack of focus, difficult parenting, half a dozen meetings, dog sitting, and middle school crises. Instead of feeling bad over what I didn’t feel like doing or get to do, I embraced my distractibility and focused on various house projects and tidying that kept me busy and productive. Here are 5 things I loved last week.
1. My old dog. It’s easy to take Roxy for granted. She spends most of her day sleeping. She’s peppy for her daily walk (and still, at age 11, mistaken sometimes for a puppy when she’s out and about), but then she’s ready to crash on the couch for the rest of the day. This week, I took more time to notice and appreciate her. I wish her old age could be quiet and mellow. The crazy energy in our house distresses her, and the energy has been crazier than usual this week. She wants so badly to help those who are suffering and she doesn’t understand why every problem can’t solved by a pit bull cuddle. She has such a good soul, and I appreciate how she reminds me to slow down and calm down. Her usual quiet daily routine was interrupted on Monday, when Quincy came to visit.
Though neither one of them likes other dogs all that much, they LOVE each other. They were a whirling, writhing mass of pit bull, tearing up and down and all over the couch. Unfortunately Roxy doesn’t have the stamina to keep up with Quincy’s capacity for play (which appears to be endless), but she does have fun until I make them separate and take a break.
2. Reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I read a couple of reviews of Marie Kondo’s guide to “decluttering and organizing”–both of which insisted that the book is indeed “life-changing.” I’m absolutely loving it–not so much for the tidying advice, though I think that’s quite good too, but more for passages like this one:
I visited the home of a client in her fifties. As always, we started with her clothes…. But when she pulled open her sock drawer, I could not suppress a gasp. It was full of potato-like lumps that rolled about. She had folded back the tops to form balls and tied her stockings tightly in the middle. I was speechless…. Let me state here and now: Never, ever tie up your stockings. Never, ever ball up your socks.
I pointed to the balled-up socks. “Look at them carefully. This should be a time for them to rest. Do you really think they can get any rest like that?”
That’s right. The socks and stockings stored in your drawer are essentially on holiday…. The time they spend in your drawer is their only chance to rest.
That’s crazy awesome, right?
When I was folding laundry this morning, I couldn’t resist folding my socks in thirds, as Kondo recommends, rather than balling them up as I usually do. I’ll be paying close attention to whether my socks seem happier and more rested as a result.
3. Framing and hanging my children’s art. I have been intending to create an art gallery along the staircase for three years now. My mom offered to help, and we got more than a dozen pictures framed and hung. I also got this year’s school pictures framed and displayed (just three months late!) and printed Christmas family photos to frame. AND I finally got mirrors and pictures rehung in the dining room. Well, my mom hung everything. But I provided moral support and gratitude!
4. Writing time at a coffee shop. The only way to get any writing done this week was to leave the house. I spent a couple of hours at one of my favorite coffee shops, revising a Slice about motherhood and adopting older children. Strong coffee, gooey sweets, plenty of conversations to eavesdrop on… that’s writing perfection for me.
5. Pancakes with ice cream for breakfast. This morning started out rough, but things began to look up when my son asked if he could have ice cream on his pancakes. Such an easy thing to say yes to! And you know what? It was so good that I put a scoop on my pancakes too.