Making the bed

"Making the bed is a gift from your present self to your future self."

I read that once, don't ask me where but it sort of stuck. I suppose I have always made my bed out of compulsive neatness but never really thought about how it did actually make me feel. I like looking at a made bed and I really love getting into a made bed.

So every morning I make the bed and then it looks like this...

Until today.

Because last night, my dear husband asked "Why are there so many pillows on the bed? All I do is this motion?" (And he motioned the taking pillow off bed and throwing it on floor thing, several times.)

And I answered, "Because it looks better and I like it."

"But it doesn't." he replied.

Now, usually when it comes to the topic of pillows and upholstery and stemware and table settings and floral arranging, I trust my instinct, not his. But for some reason, I woke up this morning and thought again about the pillows on the floor and figured I would just give his suggestion a try.

So then it looks like this...

Minimalist, yes.

No pillows on floor to fall over on the way to bathroom at 3am, yes.

Easier to make, yes.

Looks like a hotel room, yes.

Will try this out for a week or so, yes.

What you do you think?


Built in 1894

We're in a holding pattern. And at this moment I am irritated by it. Yesterday and last week, I was fine with it. Guess that is how it goes.

We are waiting on our new architect to come up with a few schematic suggestions for our internal staircase. He has a 2 week window of needing to attend to another project and suddenly 2 weeks is feeling really long.

So I came up with some filler due diligence work for myself. When you buy a house that you know is built in 1894, it is worth checking into its documented history. And what I found is that a well funded library + volunteers with passion for things past + a small town = a crazy organized history room. I gave our address and less than a minute later, I had a manila folder in my hand.

And sure enough, there she was...

Image from 1974
She even has a common name: Gravem Place.

On the Historic Resources Inventory that accompanied this photo, were some hand written notes. I smiled mostly at:

12. Description - Altered

Yup, she is altered alright. Our real estate agent even dared to say "bastardized" at one point. I didn't hold it against it - if you could see our house you wouldn't hold it against him either.

There is very little left of what once was, which on one hand is good for us because it means our house is not listed on a historical register that would dictate what we can and can not do. But it also means that we have ourselves a hodgepodge of design styles and additions, that make our renovation like a twisted ball of necklace chain - you know you can get the knot undone but it takes pulling here and tugging here and letting go here. A load of patience and a pair of very pointed tweezers is helpful too.

16. Statement of Significance - One of the oldest houses. Was visual landmark from center of town.

Yup, she is old.

And yup, you can see our house from downtown. Less now with the addition of new houses and growing trees, but she is there. Which just reminds me that the location of this here house, is ideal. And you know what they say: location, location, location.

But what does old and altered and landmark mean really?

It means that we can't (and won't) just tear down this house and build something new. It means that we care about what was here before us and have every intention of keeping what we can and fixing and updating what we can't. It means that we need that load of patience and that pair of tweezers.


Flinging my prana

Getting happy. I mentioned this in January, I think. And now it's October and I am mentioning it again.

It struck a cord with some of you - my getting happy. A fellow mom and friend said to me after I posted it, "Looking forward to seeing where this goes." Guess that's what happens when you actually share your thoughts with others in an authentic way. Since January, there have been a few disjointed conversations over the sound of playing children that have kept narrowing in on this getting happy thing, at least momentarily.

One of those conversations was with one of my favorite women who is also a mom and a wife and a yogi. She gave me the analogy that we as mothers are often flinging our prana (life energy or breath) - at others, at our children, at endless to do lists and domestic responsibilities, leaving very little for our own sustenance or passion. It's a lovely analogy because it is so tangible to me - I can actually feel this happening in my body. And to be able to name it, means I can be aware of it. And do be aware of it means I have the ability to change it.

So, in getting to happy, I am reeling in my prana first - looking at all the places I toss my life energy.

And let me tell you, there are many.

Some are conscious and others lie deep in my overcrowded mind and habitual ways of doing things - keeping me distracted and discontented. Too many things to do. Too many half started projects. Too many responsibilities. Too many people with too many needs. Not enough time. When in actuality, there is time and there is energy. It is just choosing how to use both, wisely.

But its not easy. Because it means being able to prioritize and be clear about what you want. And for that you actually do need time and I some days I don't brush my hair or shower. Time with 2 children under 5 is basically no time. Here enters Megan Flatt and her Mamagroove.

Basically, through coaching and online classes, Megan provides tools, tips/tricks and infectious enthusiasm about finding your passion: that thing that makes your eyes twinkle and crinkle at the edges when you think about.

In June, in a coaching session with Megan that I thought was going to be about getting back in shape after baby number two, amongst my shoulds and wouldn't it be nice to wants, lay a treasure of a sentence, just waiting to be plucked from the masses.

I want to write every week.

I wrote this for the first time in 2008 in a journal which materialized into a blog about being a first time mom. It was a cathartic and an empowering and 100% satisfying experience.  But babies who take 2 naps a day turn into toddlers who turn into big brothers and you know the rest.

I want to write.

Typing it again now gives me that little flutter and grasping around the heart, like when you are standing at the edge of just about anything and your equilibrium is off and your whole body quickly reorganizes itself in order to regain balance. You know.

But in order to write again, Megan explained that I needed to prioritize doing so. That means I have to dedicate time to untangle the ball of duties and tasks and to-dos in front of me and then prioritize, eradicate, automate, delegate, streamline and simplify.

I thought it would be as easy as simply scheduling an hour a week on my calendar to write. I set up a desk space, I made a pretty 90-min box on my Google calendar every Wednesday from 1-2:30.  But in half-assing the automating, delegating and streamlining step for all of my other more important tasks, I hadn't really made the time in my mind, so it was easy to brush off the allocated calendar time.

Five months later, I have no blog posts to show. But I have something else: an unexpected sense of balance and spaciousness in my home and in me because without knowing it, I actually choose a different want/goal to prioritize in the last 5 months. In choosing the get our finances up to date and organized, I surreptiously...

- Said good-bye to Repurposed Playground: Now I have one succinct place to write and gather my thoughts
- Took apart the play area under the stairs and reclaimed a working desk just for me

- Set up Amazon SubscribeNSave for almost everything
- Set up Safeway grocery delivery for the rest
- Set up Grocery IQ (shopping list iPhone app) for Trader Joes's and Whole Foods

- The daily 6-7pm hour to my husband

- Week is structured according to kid-free time, nap times and activity times
- Laundry, dry-cleaning, car wash, gardener, house cleaner etc are scheduled either weekly or monthly
- Weekly snacks are pre-packed
- Checklist for updating finances monthly is typed and printed
- Mail is opened once a week (this is my all time favorite)

- The train table is taken apart and now the coffee table is multi-functional again
- Closets are cleaned out
- Bags of things donated

Some might call this procrastination. I call it freeing up brain space and reeling back my prana.

And reclaimed prana means more passion and freed up brain space means more creative thinking and I don't have to be a math genius to tell you, that for me

passion + thinking =writing

Please forgive an typos, grammatical mistakes and mis-used words. I didn't say I wanted to write well. At least not yet.