48 days, day 35-36: what helps, 10 things

{{ I am chronicling 48 days of writing before my July 31 travel. If you are chronicling your summer writing/days and would like to share, please link or comment so we can all cheer one another through. Strength to your sword arm!}}

Friday I realized: I've been wading through the sludge. Now I can make a plan.
What helps you through the sludge? I'm putting it here so I remember what helped me. Ten things this weekend:

1.  Time. Two days off to listen and rest and try to believe (I do) it's a good thing to do for myself. Staring at the wall in the quiet.

2.  Journaling. Writing about it. "I write because I don't understand what I think until I read what I say." - Flannery O'Connor

3.  Activity, half-mindless. Organizing the office on more than a surface level has been on my list for years. My office serves as overflow whenever someone spends the night (or visits, depending), and it catches EVERYTHING in between visits. It's a big space -- my living/dining room in this house. I've pulled everything out to look at it. I've piled the desk high and I've got boxes ready. Keep, toss, save for one day, give away, etc. It feels good. I couldn't do it until now, for some reason. And the going is slow. But it's going. It's like emptying out my mind to look at its contents and putting everything back in order... or letting things go.

4.  Podcasts, old movies I don't have to really pay attention to to enjoy, music -- depending on my mood. Usually while doing #3. Do y'all have podcasts you like and can recommend? I'm open to almost anything, when I'm not basking in the silence.

5.  Sleeping in. Napping.

6.  Connecting with people I love who love me right back. You can tell, can't you? You can feel it. That's good medicine.

7.  Eating good food. Eating bad food. Special thanks to frozen strawberry fruit bars and the beans from the garden (not at the same time) that are inspiring me.

8.  RAIN. We finally had some decent rain yesterday. Last night we went to bed listening to frogs. Frogs! The gardens are making me happy, and now they are happy, too.

9.  Not writing.

10.  Feeling like writing again.

So here I go. Thank you for all the mail of the past two days. I've tucked all your good wishes into my pocket, where I touch them like they are wishing stones.
crazy, amiright?
right down to the drawers and shelves (not shown) and closet (ditto)
The garden is coming in. These are our green beans. This is the first garden we've had in so many years... already making plans for next year.
I'm loving apple cider mixed with fizzy water over ice. Jim and I are using our old standby coasters: the back of the old Methodist hymnal for me, and the back of an old Dr. Seuss for him. It works.
I'd like to think I can go through the entire house with my box system. But I'm trying to stay in the present and hope I can finish the office. That would be a major coup.
Saturday breakfast. You should have seen it smothered in almond slices next. Because I could.
Our tomatoes are slow to come in. Next year we'll be here in May (so she says) and have more time to get the garden in. I have traveled for 15 years and not had a garden, and I have so missed it. I am determined...
Come on! You can do it! Grow, grow... this tomato is on a berm in the back (water management project) along with six or eight others, in an experiment to see if we get enough sun in the back now to grow tomatoes. I think not. The tomatoes in front yard are exponentially bigger. These guys got into the ground at about the same time, the first week in June... we'll see. They are scraggly... grown from seed and too long in their little cups, I fear...


  1. Great job taking on your office! I keep looking at mine and walking away. It is the boxes of photos that I don't know how to sort.
    I also pulled in my first tomato today - way up here in the northland. One small red tomato! I expect the others will turn red in late August or early September just as our frost comes in. Freezing 6 cups of beets today - thinking winter stews!

    So fun to listen to you talk about fall or winter gardens. The chance to grow most of the year would be amazing! I have re planted carrots and beets and hope they will grow. Lettuce will be planted in August with the hopes that the weather will cool.
    Enjoy that garden of yours - always exciting to eat right from the garden!

    1. The photos! Don't get me started. They are downstairs, and downstairs they shall remain. We can't grow most of the year -- we do get very cold here, but for a shorter time, so I can't grow peonies or lilacs -- both my peonies died this year. I can't put lettuce in the ground in August -- too hot. But September, maybe. I like hearing about your tomato. IT ALL COUNTS. :>

  2. There's a bit of Zen involved in cleaning and reorganizing. Finding things amongst your piles triggers memories, stories, inspirations. Still, a clean desk is inviting, and then you mess it up again, so it's a cycle. It's a sign of an active mind. And I love how the subject of food keeps coming up in your posts and comments. Stories are so nourishing, eating well is a great way to keep the muse close by. We share stories, we share nourishment, we garden, we reap -- there is fulfillment in process and it leaves us hungry for more. Good luck with your organizing. I guess it's like weeding and tilling the garden. Stories will grow robust from that.

    1. well.... yes to the Zen. Have you read THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP? I think that's the title, a new book, I read it because so many raved about it, I found some nuggets in it, but I can't see doing it her way, which is to take EVERYTHING in your house and dump it in the living room and start from there. Maybe I'm mis-remembering. Not at all Zen, though, except for the empty rooms. Food is a big part of my life, and my writing. All my books have lot of food in them. Here's to growing stories, no matter what way we approach it!

  3. I loved your list. All of them are things I find helpful. I recently retired from teaching and went through a great deal of stuff on my last year. The biggest of those things was retiring, a house that had gotten out of control the last few years due to some health issues and then throw in a losing my step dad to cancer while giving my daughter her dream wedding. There are a few others too personal to share, but I was wiped out when I finally hit that retirement day. It has take a year to put myself back in order. One thing I found very hard to do, but it was the best thing I did for myself was get that house back in order. I am a sentimental pack rat! I love all things, and much to my daughter's dismay can organize "stuff' pretty good. After all, I was a teacher. Finding a way to let some stuff go this year was hard, but I must say that less stuff has made me more sane. I try to look now at pictures of the stuff to spur my memories without having to have it all around me cluttering and stressing my environment.
    My son got a kick out of the fact that one day I was sewing up a storm while jamming to "America's Greatest Hits." I was belting out "A Horse with No Name."
    Good luck with your office!

    1. Thanks, Sandy. It's good to hear from you! I can so relate to what you say here. Oh boy. So much love. You inspire me to get the house in order. This year -- well, most of last year, and until June this year -- has been one long travelogue for REVOLUTION, or for teaching/speaking, and my office became the catch-all where I'd empty the suitcase and refill it. Among other things. I like the idea of taking photos, too... I have been packing away keepsakes because I can't get rid of them -- I don't want to -- but there are just so many.. kinda like all those horses... on the first part of the journey... :>


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