27 September 2013

country roads, take me home, to the place i belong...

I just read my last post for the first time in many weeks.  I was a bit amazed by what I read.

"But...I dream of space...and trees...and peace...and quiet...and stars...and maybe chickens...goats...barefoot girls running across a big open yard and around trees and squealing with delight...growing our own vegetables...fruit trees...blueberries... blackberries...scuppernongs...all those little trees and plants that Brandon has dug up on walks and transplanted and nurtured finally finding a permanent home...a quirky old house that doesn't have to be so perfect...room to roam and explore...room to be messy...room to create...somewhere I can plant herbs in an old sink and no one will complain...somewhere to reconnect and escape.

And Brandon would say, within a good school system and near a good grocery store. ;)"

We closed on the sale of 1928 Bungalow at the end of June.  In mid-June, my mother-in-law went back to the neighborhood where my husband grew up.  She stayed with her former next door neighbor and spent days visiting old friends.  In doing so, she discovered that the house across the street was coming up for rent in the next thirty days or so...and it was in our price range...and it was on two acres of land...and it was in a fabulous school district...and the homeowner has a HUGE garden between his house and the rental house...and that the owners were old friends of the family.

Tonight my children sleep in a large bedroom painted pink and purple, with room to spread out their toys and play.  Tonight we sleep with windows open to the sound of crickets. Tomorrow morning I will possibly see the family of deer that live in the neighborhood and visit us almost daily, including two fawns that have almost no fear of us.  Tomorrow I will drink my tea on the front porch which is just a few feet short of the width of our entire lot at 1928 Bungalow.  Tomorrow my children will run in the grass in this huge yard and look for the turtle that lives here as well.  Tomorrow we will take a walk down a quiet road where they can run in the middle of the street as we walk.  

The house is not old and it is not new but it is comfortable and it feels like home.  It is like returning home even though I've never lived here; everyone here watched my husband grow up and it is an amazing support network already built into place before I ever even knew it existed.  My children get to have my childhood, and his, and their own.  It feels safe.  It feels good.

As I sat and watched the girls play in the backyard the other day, I noticed how familiar the patio table placement seemed.  It's at the back corner of the house, under some trees.  It's not exactly like my dream but it's uncannily similar.

And the grocery stores?  Ten minutes away in one direction we have a choice of three situated across the street from each other.  And one more within ten minutes in the other direction.  And in between?  Pasture and fields...cows and horses, goats and donkeys...stars and open sky.

04 May 2013

still waiting and dreaming

I don't have a lot to write about today but I want to throw some happy energy this way, and the last post was a bit of a downer, to say the least. 

I would like to say that I am quite amazed that we have kept a gingko tree alive in a pot for TWO YEARS, waiting for our next home and a permanent spot for it.  (See post farther down with pic.)  I was so afraid we had killed it by leaving it out too long last fall, but it came back more beautiful than ever this spring.  I'll have to post a pic of it soon.  And tomorrow I hope to borrow a few leaves from it to print for notecards.

We are still waiting on bank approval for our new buyer.  We had approval on the old buyer but when he fell through, it seems we basically had to start the process over.  UGH.  Fingers crossed that something will be happening very soon on this front.

Meanwhile, we're biding our time in the rental, which has spoiled us in many ways.  Both homes have, really.  I know our next home probably won't have a granite and stainless kitchen, and that's okay.  I will miss the large (by our standards) and private master bathroom we have now and our big closet (again, by our old house standards!).  But...I dream of space...and trees...and peace...and quiet...and stars...and maybe chickens...goats...barefoot girls running across a big open yard and around trees and squealing with delight...growing our own vegetables...fruit trees...blueberries... blackberries...scuppernongs...all those little trees and plants that Brandon has dug up on walks and transplanted and nurtured finally finding a permanent home...a quirky old house that doesn't have to be so perfect...room to roam and explore...room to be messy...room to create...somewhere I can plant herbs in an old sink and no one will complain...somewhere to reconnect and escape.

And Brandon would say, within a good school system and near a good grocery store. ;)

I worry that what I want doesn't exist anymore.  That there is no safe place any longer.  That crime and illness and pollution and worry and fear have creeped in everywhere and that it's no longer possible for my childhood or his to exist anymore.  I want that sense of exploration and wonder for the girls.  I grew up on a semi-rural acre of land, but roamed the creeks and woods and pine trees and hayfields (much to my mother's worry and/or without her knowledge).  Brandon grew up in a more rural area.  We both had to go "into town" for groceries...or anything else, I think.  I wonder if what we want (even if it's not always exactly the same thing) exists here or if we should look elsewhere...or if it matters where we look.  I remember one of our first conversations after we met being about how many generations of our families had been in Georgia, and how it just felt like home...how when I drove back to middle Georgia the feel of the land itself called out to me.  The thought of picking up and moving somewhere we have no relationship with seems very strange to me, although I'm sure people do it all the time.

For years I was content to live an urban life and go home on weekends.  Becoming a family changes your perspective, especially when your family size doubles all at once.  No school seems good enough, no neighborhood safe enough, no yard big enough.  I've become too picky and it has immobilized me.  I've thought too much.  How to let it go?  I have no idea.

Friends post photos that make me jealous...not of their homes, but of their sunsets, their sunrises, their trees, their trails and paths and rocks, their chickens and pigs and turkeys and bunnies and dogs, their snow covered mountains, their lakes, their children grinning and holding a duck.  I think that must be an odd thing to envy, but maybe not.  My sister takes a walk every day equal to my two block circle--and she only goes to her mailbox. 

Is there a term for cabin fever when it's actually marked by the boundaries of your yard? 

I had a dream several months ago of a house.  Not even a dream, really, just a brief moment of a dream right before waking.  I was walking around the corner of a white wooden single story home, maybe 1940s or so, simple.  I round the corner and come to a patio table and chairs, under a tree which is at the front corner of the house.  The table and chairs are on pebbles not grass, and the driveway--gravel and rock--loops around the front of the house.  I was carrying a tray of food, it was early summer, and it was perfect.  I woke up thinking, that's home.  Wherever it is, whenever we find it, and it's not anything like the house I thought I wanted.  But it's imperfectly perfect and it gave me pause, and hope.  I have no idea where our home is, or when we find it, but I have the feeling we'll find it even without looking.  (This is nothing like my usual organized, super-planning self.)

This is possibly the most rambly post I've ever made.  Thanks for sticking with me and listening. 

*This post is sort of a personal response to a home I found on Craigslist tonight.  I clicked the link and froze--THAT is OUR house, I thought.  I unplugged the ancient laptop and hauled it to Brandon, plugged it in, practically jumping up and down.  LOOK! I said.  LOOK AT THIS HOUSE.  Where is it, he asks?  Oh, he says...I'm not sure I want to live that far out.  And he rolls over to go back to sleep, obviously unaware that THIS. IS. IT.  So...maybe it's not it.  It's a dream, for sure.  But it's hope.  And that, for now, is enough.

14 February 2013

a different sort of post

This is sort of a departure from the kind of posts I usually write here...but it was too long for a Facebook post, and the timing (Valentine's Day!) was sort of off.  So, I share it here so I can get it out of my head and go find the strength to deny my children mint chocolate chips for breakfast.

It's Valentine's Day, but I woke up (at 6am when the dog came to see if we were awake--ha! we are now!) thinking about grief and internet sharing (and over-sharing) and how people react to grief as well as how people react to grieving people. Grief used to be a pretty private thing, witnessed only by those close to you, but now it can be shared with dozens, hundreds, thousands of people--not only instantly but with a real-time play-by-play. It's interesting seeing how people react to those in grief, and how people often expect everyone to follow their predicted model. "If that happened to me, I'd be sitting in a corner crying--not on FACEBOOK!" But the reality is, you most likely have no idea how you would react. Every grief you experience is different, and every situation is different, and even YOU are often different in various stages of your life.
All this came into my thoughts this week when I read about a mother (who I won't name here, to prevent further drama) who lost her young toddler to a SIDS-like incident. This mom is a big advocate for attachment parenting, babywearing, and co-sleeping. Her post about her child's death was somewhat defensive and prideful of what she and her baby had accomplished toward these parenting goals...and probably rightly so. People would wonder about the death of a co-sleeping baby, particularly from a co-sleeping advocate. Her post stuck me as a little...off...somehow, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I finally just decided it was the tone of the post but that she was most likely trying to share her thoughts but in a way that let people know what happened and the lack of a reason why. I did a little searching and found sites where people were wondering if the whole thing was a hoax...all due to her reactions and posts. Ugly comments were put on a memorial page for the site but removed by moderators.
Another mom of a young child is on my mind this morning as well...a Georgia boy who had a limb fall and strike him on his head while at daycare. News reports say things like "...as he recovers in a local hospital" but his mother's Facebook posts are full of stark honesty. I can't bear to read them but I see them from time to time when a Facebook friend comments or likes a post. His mother is angry, scared, sad, frustrated...and full of love. She hates seeing this happen to her child and just wants him to have one day of peace with no pain. I cannot imagine her heartache.
Pain and grief used to be very private things, and now they are sometimes very public. I think part of our reaction to this is just how different it is...there's no "public face" to put on and everything said can be judged by anyone. If you sound too sad, people thinkyou are oversharing, and if you are too positive, people think something's up because you should be very sad and show it. That's a lot of standards to live up to.
I've seen a lot of loss in my circle of friends over the last few years. Loved ones have lost children, spouses, friends, and family. And while in many ways, Facebook and other social media seem so very superficial at times, they have also provided a window to my loved ones' souls as I see them struggling with these losses. Online communication provides a medium for this somehow, creating both a fast network of communication and also maybe a wall of sorts that they feel safe enough behind to share what they are going through. To criticize someone when they are most likely stripped of all awareness and simply reaching out to someone, anyone, who might offer a reason, a solution, or a hope is ridiculous to me...yet at the same time I've felt the same reaction in myself. Instead of criticizing, I've tried to examine my own feelings and figure out why and learn from it.
Ultimately, we are in control of what we read and see. I admit. I hid posts and eventually unfriended someone due to their overwhelming grief and inability to move on with their life. It wasn't because I thought they should be doing it differently so much as it was someone I felt I didn't know well enough to see this side of their soul and I felt helpless...yet I still feel uncomfortable that I just walked away.
The loss of these traditional boundaries sometimes makes us a little uncomfortable, but in a way, it makes it so much easier to let someone know that you are thinking about them.  I love that I can chime in and throw some love and support someone's way at such a minimal expense to myself (as selfish as that sounds).  Sometimes I do want to just unplug the modem and leave the online world forever and retreat to a more simpler way of living.  But I think I would also be depriving myself of this amazing connection (no matter how superficial it can be at times) to other people...people I love...and people I just met.  Some of the people I am closest to right now wouldn't be in my life at all if not for social media, most of whom I met in person at some point in life and then got to know better (or again) online. 
So I guess this post really does come back around to the importance of love and compassion.  Happy Valentine's Day.  Now go hug someone!

13 February 2013

old is new again

Yesterday I was drooling over the FLOR catalog, when I realized we had carpet tiles in the attic (which I knew, since I helped store them up there) but we'd never put them together like a rug before.  We made a rug in the girls' room once (they have green and ivory Pooh Bear tiles), although now their room is so small it goes wall to wall!

In the dining room, though, I was tired of trying to sweep around the Persian type rug we had and tired of trying not to catch the fringe in the vacuum. And the cat had decided it was a perfect scratching spot, and the fringe overlapped the walkway from the side door and was getting pretty dirty.  Plus, it didn't fit quite right under the table and at dinner, your chair was always wobbling half on and half off the rug. So...Brandon went up to the attic and got the carpet tiles down (he actually threw them down...but whatever.  They're heavy!)  And...voilĂ ! 

Love it!  I never thought this was the prettiest carpet in the world when it was our bedroom floor (wall to wall on a concrete floor), but it looks great as a faux sisal rug!  We've had these for years and they've been through at least one flooding incident (maybe two) and cleaned up great each time (pressure washed, etc).  When a tile gets dirty or damaged, just pull it out and clean it or replace it, without having to remove the whole rug. 

And now I feel like I've been shopping and can recycle my FLOR catalog without any more wishful thinking.

06 February 2013

operation fiesta ware

I will never forget wandering around Macy's before we got married, trying to decide on a china pattern to register for because we were "supposed to."  We finally chose something blue and forgettable (I can't even remember what it was) and started to head home.  We got almost to the door and stopped.  We ran back and deleted all the blue and registered instead for a set of lovely and durable everyday dishes by Denby.

We still use them every day and have yet *knock on wood* to chip or break a single one!  We have mysteriously lost one bowl--last known sighting was at a Halloween party when I was pregnant four years ago--but the price of replacement pieces online has gone sky high and we refuse to pay that much for one bowl!  Which leads me to our current situation...while I love, love, love the Denby, I find myself wishing for a little more color from time to time.  Enter, Fiesta!  When we moved to the rental house, I was determined to add some color with chair cushions and tablecloths--and thus red, blue, green, and yellow entered our lives for the first time since we got married.  (Brandon is more of a "earthtone" sort of person.  Huge understatement!) 

So for my birthday this year, I planned, schemed, and connived to get these beauties:

Red!  Green!  Yellow!  Blue!  (The little yellow salt and pepper shakers had already made their appearance a few months ago.)  I took this photo about five minutes after I unpacked them--I washed one mug and made tea right away :)  I think they will fit in quite nicely here.  (The red cabinet in the photo has since been moved to another wall but still holds dishes.  I moved all the Denby to the dining room where it can hang out with the other earthtones and be happy.) 

Added bonus:  The girls had been eating on mostly plastic dishes.  My attempts to get them to eat using the Denby failed miserably.  "Those are grownup plates!" they would say.  I'm not sure what that says about Fiesta, but so far they LOVE it.  They've designated a color for each of us and the top shelf of the dishwasher--which cannot be set to anything without a heated dry--is no longer jammed with plastic.  We have four plates, four saucers, four bowls--just as you see here--and we wash them after each meal.  The dishwasher seems a bit empty and lonely this morning and I'm wondering if I'll have to find something to put it in so I can run the silverware and glasses later.

So...I know this is more a "buying new stuff" vs. "decluttering and making do" sort of post, but I think it most definitely fits into the "if you love it, keep it" category of home decor.  It certainly makes me smile and I almost look forward to washing dishes.  How weird is THAT?

03 February 2013

a bit of a vow

I've let things slide here at 1928 Bungalow and for that, I apologize.  We are still living in the home we've rented from a friend, and 1928 Bungalow still sits waiting for its new owner.  We were certain we would complete the sale long ago, or we never would have left so soon.  A problem with our first buyer caused the sale to fall through, but we have another buyer on board and hope to get approval from the bank soon so that we can move forward. 

I'm mulling over ideas for a new blog, but until I think up an imaginative new name, I'll keep on posting right here.  All the ideas I mentioned ages ago are still on my mind, including urban (or suburban...or rural?  who knows what's in our future) homesteading, mindful living, bringing art and creativity into everyday life, and calming the clutter chaos.  And a love of old homes will also be on my mind.  So with that, I plan to start writing again and share this journey.  Thanks for hanging in there with us!

10 October 2012

good morning!

Greetings this morning from our temporary home...a lovely 1927 bungalow that we are renting from a friend.  More info to come...