Day 14: Order and Beauty

9c50a14f-319f-453f-a8ae-7a94fd42fc4e.jpegEver since I moved here, I’ve been wanting to tackle the tiny back room off the kitchen. It’s kind of like a screened-in porch because it isn’t heated, but it has four windows and a large closet, wooden floors and cute wooden steps leading up to it.

It was filled up with boxes and packing material Alan saves for when he has to ship his paintings somewhere. And it had random things his kids had outgrown or he no longer had use for.

I’ve always thought it would be great to have a writing desk, chair and an arm chair or two with a few lamps, a small table and a stack of books. Oh, and an area rug as well.

Sometimes when Alan’s working in his office, which is the room next to the library, with his music on, and his son is in his room overhead with his music on, the library feels sandwiched between cacophony. If I’m trying to think, I need a quiet place to do that in.

So today, we pulled everything out of the room and closet. Alan decided what needed to be saved, what could go up into the attic, what was junk, what should be recycled and what could go to goodwill. I dusted, sprayed, wiped, swept, vacuumed and mopped. Most likely, that was just the first few layers that I removed because he hasn’t used the room all the years he’s lived there. (Over 13.) But it is much cleaner now.


I set up a diffuser with lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils to freshen up the room, sprayed the chair with an essential oil spray I made and tacked up some fairy lights around the windows. Sage from the garden is drying on the window sill, a stack of books sits on the side table and the change is amazing. Every time I walk by I can’t believe how inviting it feels already.



I still need to paint the room, the steps and railing in the spring, pull all the weeds around the steps, plant some tulips and daffodils and some perennials, etc. But we did it! We made it a space that fosters relaxation and creativity. I’ll be sure to show the progress here on the blog as it happens.


Day 5: One of Those Days


You know the days when you plan out your schedule in your head, with appointments and errands all neatly arranged and completed at the right time? No traffic jams, no appointments in which you are shown to the room and then wait, wait and wait some more? Just everything going like clockwork and you arrive back home with plenty of energy to put away groceries, make dinner and clean it up and attend to your creative work. Yeah, wouldn’t we all like several of those days each week?


As much as I dreamed of that kind of day, instead, the other kind was doled out to me. My daughter needed me to drive her to the orthodontist and we waited and waited. She forgot to bring her lunch to school today and was hungry, so we stopped at Ithaca Bakery and I bought her a mid-afternoon meal. We sat together and chatted. Then the bank transaction took longer than expected as did traffic. And then there was Wegmans. Wegmans at 5pm is never a good idea, but this was when I was in town, so I had to get groceries. Driving home was slow and long. By the time we reached home, Ella and I were both done in. Thankfully, Alan came out and helped us carry in all the bags. After we put away the contents of said bags and prepared, ate and cleaned up dinner, it was 8:30. We still needed to put in an hour and a half of practice for Sunday’s gig.

Things continued to be a struggle. Alan couldn’t (and still cannot) find his music stand. So after a fruitless search of house and car, we decided we could practice without it. He will have to look in his car again in the morning and if it’s not there, then call Ithaca Bakery on Meadow Street to see if we left it there last month when we played. So we sang two songs thinking everything was golden. And then his capo broke. His capo that he’s had for thirteen years. Well, that limited us to practicing three songs and means tomorrow morning he is heading to Ithaca to purchase a new capo and possibly a new stand if he can’t find his old one. We will get our songs practiced because we must.

The redemptive thread in this story is that Alan is able to spend time outside tonight with the moon–one of his favorite monthly activities when the moon is full and the sky clear. And I can write and read, which I’ve wanted to do all day. Those days can hold a sliver of happiness if we stay positive and look for the good.

I’d love to hear how you get through “those days” when plans are interrupted or things don’t turn out as expected. Do you make time for creativity and relaxation in the middle of chaos?