Friday, September 12, 2008


Lately the central focus of my life has been taking my oldest daughter off to college. We drove across several states, stayed in my parents house, and were inundated with activities for parents of Freshmen, though it was nothing compared to her freshman orientation activities. We spent a record six hours shopping in three different Wal-Marts, and still had to hit a Target after that, for food and dorm supplies, averaging almost a hundred dollars an hour. But what is money compared to the feelings… the feeling of leaving her that first night, to stay in her dorm, and hugging her briefly in the morning 5 days later as we left for the road trip back home without her.
Every time we drove away from campus scenes from her early childhood flashed across my mind. I see snippets of pictures and home movies and hazy images of pale wispy hair swirling in sunbeams. Oh, that’s when it’s really tough.
There were also many great moments of having that “You know, she’s going to do all right!” feeling. And special moments that would confirm to me that she was on the right course. Who can argue with something like that?
When I was in college, a ‘couple’ of years ago, I phoned my parents less than once a month. It cost a fortune. I had to wait in line for the pay phone, and then, because it was cheaper for them to place the call, I would call the operator, place a person to person call for someone who wouldn’t be at the house, and my folks would deny the call. This was our code, then I would wait for them to call me back. Our main communication was letters. Saying this now makes it seem like it was 50 or a hundred years ago. But really, so much has changed.
After the first few days I told my daughter she didn’t have to call me every day. We have e-mailed each other and made comments on each other’s facebook, But yesterday I was dying to hear he voice and she called last night. She told my husband “Well, Mom said not to call every day.” So I told her she could call as much as she wanted. I didn’t want to burden her or make her feel she had to “check in”, but it’s hard to find that comfortable routine still.
As for the rest of my life……
My main problem now is that I want to be more structured, and I want to be more creative. Let me explain and we’ll see if the two can’t go hand in hand.
Our home routines have all but disappeared over the summer, and I start to feel like my house, and my brain, is falling apart. I have learned that I can’t be creative when I’m stressed out, and that my spirit craves a certain level of organization. So since school has been in I make an effort to get through my daily routines, checking things off as I do them. I’m contemplating projects, but I actually bought on of those books that is supposed to help you flex your creativity, and maybe I’ll go in to that more next time. I have plenty of ideas, but need some fresh ways of thinking.
I have a new project in mind. I’m going to flip a house. Well, actually I didn’t buy a house, and I’m not going to sell it when I’m done. The house in mind is a two-story six room circa 1975 dollhouse that my father made for me. It was white with a slanty roof and columned porch. Very simple, basic design. On ‘Special Days’ I spent with my mom we would glue in flooring or use wrapping paper as wallpaper. I would save my money for miniature furniture that fit the six inch ‘dawn dolls’ that we played with. My sister had an identical house, and later a younger sister got her own dollhouse with a similar design. Often we would slide them all together to make one giant house. Many happy hours of my childhood were spent cross legged in front of that house. I played and decorated often, even long after I would have felt comfortable letting my friends know I still played with dolls.
When I got married my hubby convinced me to leave it home, and I really didn’t want to drag it all around the world with me. So I told my mom to just let my younger siblings have it. At some point I came home to see that a sister had taken it and redecorated the rooms and added shingles and shutters. I think it spent some time at her house before being brought back to Mom and Dad’s.
Last spring my mom asked if I wanted it again. This time I most certainly did, but I couldn’t take it back with me on the plane, and it would be a fortune to ship it. So I put a note on it where it was stored. “My dollhouse, do not remove. I will get it soon.”
After unloading the van of my college daughter’s belongings, I had room to take the dollhouse back home with us. My hubby still didn’t want it around, but after 20 years of marriage…. The house was coming home with us. I mentioned to my mom that I had room for it, and she casually said “I haven’t seen it around, I think the guys might have tossed it.”
I acted calm, but the moment I had a break in the conversation I casually turned down the stairs, then ran to where the dollhouse was, still sitting with the note the way I had left it. Whew!
So now the house is here and I’m planning to fix it up with a bit of Regency- Jane Austen Flair. The outside is to be based on Longbourne from the BBC A&E P&P. The two top rooms will be Fanny’s little white attic and the East room from Mansfield Park (greatly simplified of course). The downstairs will have some sort of parlor and dining room set up. (Small summer breakfast room maybe?) The other two will be bedrooms but I haven’t yet decided what to theme them after. The bedroom with the imposing chest from Northanger Abbey? Or maybe Jane’s own room from Chawton Cottage. One thing you can be sure of is that at my pace I have plenty of time to decide.
My last topic has to do with journaling. And blogging. And keeping a food journal, a workout log, sketchbooks, and scrapbooks. Every time I feel like I’m doing poorly at one it is because I have been focusing on another. I’ve got to ‘get it together’ as they say. My sisters and their Sister’s Running Club (SRC) inspired me when I was at home, to keep a workout log. I went and looked at running logs at the book store today, but I ended up not getting one. I already keep a food journal because of weight watchers, and I use the 12 week planner. But it occurred to me that each week there are a few note pages I don’t use, so I can make my own work out log on the computer and then just glue them in there when I get a new book. I’ve been sidelined with Plantar Fasciitis for a few weeks, and now I’m working out again and super excited. So I can combine the food and workout books. Then I decided that I would print out these blog entries and tape them into their appropriate spot in my written journal. My DH would be rolling his eyes right now. But I’m a bit of an old fashioned girl and worry about computer backups, even though he has an awesome back up system. I just feel like I want it together. Hey, I may even staple in pages from my sketchbook. I just feel like none of these reflections of me on their own reflect the whole me. Does that make any sense? That is why I’m ‘splintered’ and that is my solution.
I’ll keep you posted!

1 comment:

  1. I have really tried to be a little more organized, and after a super productive week or two I just fall apart. The next thing I know it is piles of laundry and jam packed closets again, and I am overwhelmed again. Ugh.

    I love my running log, but somethimes forget to keep it up. I have my appointment book (non debatable) and when I am up to it my calorie journal, then of course the runing book. I am still trying to figure it all out...someday.....


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