Monday, July 28, 2014

The Way It Should Be

I can't remember the last time I felt really relaxed and content.   For the past week or so, I haven't really done very much.  I've spent a lot of time sitting on my deck, reading, knitting, or bird-watching.  I have done the usual household chores, I've done what I've needed to do with the business bookkeeping,  and I've run errands. I've even done some school things, but I've mostly just allowed myself to do nothing.  Just about all my reading has been of the brain candy and fluff variety.  I've read a couple of very engrossing books, and may even have discovered a new author.  I've also caught up on all the shows that I've DVR'd.  I finally watched all the episodes of "Mad Men's" past season, and I'm now going through the most recent "Game of Thrones" season.  I've also watched a lot of "Pioneer Woman" cooking shows!  Masterpiece Theater's "Endeavor" and "Last Tango in Halifax" have rounded out my TV viewing.  In just a few short weeks, school will start again, and the nonstop frenetic schedule will begin again.  But for now, I'm really basking in The Way It Should Be."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Endless Summer --- NOT!

Summer is whizzing by.  We have finally moved/donated/sold/disposed of everything IN the old house.  Just have some stuff in the garage to deal with, and that's my husband's job!  Here at the new house I have been very slowly putting things to rights. My basement contains bins and boxes of things that need to be put away somewhere, or at least need to be reorganized.  Our plan to be very organized and methodical in packing and moving started off well, but then our time table speeded up.  We decided to rent the house to a colleague and her family who unexpectedly had to move out of her home by June 30.  They had to bring their belongings over to our house before we'd had a chance to get all of ours out.  So things became a bit chaotic.  One of the tasks that needs to be done is to at least figure out what's in each box!  

It's been interesting to figure out where to put things too.  My silver drawer isn't really large enough (thanks to a builder's error) so it's been tricky to organize.  I could use one more drawer that I don't have.  And I can't find things.  I go to get the tape dispenser which normally sat on a corner shelf under the wall phone, and then I realize we don't have a wall phone, nor do we have a shelf.  Then I spend 10 minutes trying to figure out where the roll of tape might be.  Most of the time it's in a box down in the basement!  You should have seen us trying to locate the first aid box just so we could get a bandaid for a paper cut!

I am finally relaxing too.  Not really sleeping any later or longer, but not having to get showered and dressed immediately makes for a much more leisurely morning.  I am finding myself actually sitting on my deck just enjoying the fresh air, the sunshine, and the bird song --- not watching TV or listening to music or even reading --- just sitting and being.
I could get used to this - the feeling of having all the time in the world.  When I have to do something I am not begrudging the time because I know there's plenty of it.  Once school begins there is no free time, and I never feel that I can just sit and do nothing.  There's always lesson planning, grading, housework, meals, laundry, errands, bookkeeping, etc.  Right now, the lesson planning and grading are off the grid.  Well at least the grading.  I am planning, but it's general planning and outlining -- reflecting on what went well last year, what needs to change, and looking at my incoming students to see where we need to start.  It's all "big picture" planning rather than all the nitty gritty details that take the most effort.

I've mentioned this before.  Summer reminds me of weekends, only longer.  The tail end of June is Friday evening.  Home from work, a few hours to relax, have fun, and think about the rest of the weekend.  July is Saturday.  Time to get to the business of summer - get the dentist/dr appts out of the way, clean up a bit, get some pesky errands out of the way, and then have fun the rest of the day.  August comes around and it's Sunday.  You have to go to work tomorrow.  You still try to squeeze out every ounce of relaxation, but you do have to start paying attention to work - did you get everything done that needed to be done before Monday.  So right now I am in the middle of my Saturday, enjoying myself!   Right now Saturday is my favorite day of the week.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Five on the Fifth

Five things I love about my new house:

1.  Birdwatching.  While I've always loved feeding the birds and have enjoyed watching them, my new backyard has a completely different array of birds.  I've been able to sit on my deck with a pair of binoculars and my trusty bird ID book (and even my iPad), and I've had fun identifying birds that are new to me.  We had a two different phoebe nests under the smaller deck, and it was fun watching them swoop in and out with food for the nestlings.  One afternoon, we had a pair of scarlet tanagers and I've had some Eastern kingbirds, yellow-shafted flickers, red-bellied sapsuckers, the ubiquitous robins, and this afternoon I was entertained by a catbird perched on a pine tree mewing its heart out.  And this morning I was startled to see a hawk perched on the spider plant just outside the bedroom slider.  I'm not sure who was more startled, the bird or me, but he flew off when I sat up to get a closer look!

2.  My pantry.  I have a walk-in pantry with loads of shelves.  I can see at a glance what I have or what I need to replenish.  I've lusted after one for years and this is perfect.  It even has 2 large wire sliding baskets.  I keep potatoes and onions in one, and I'm using one to store bagged items like chips or crackers.

3.  My great room.  We had our first party last night - a 4th of July cookout that due to Arthur's heavy rain turned into a cook-in!  There were 8 of us, and it was a pleasure to all be in one space.  I could prepare what I needed to prepare and still be part of conversation.  In the old house, the gathering area was at one end of the house and the kitchen was at the other end, and we'd end up splitting into 2 groups. Last night we all were together and what a joy that was!

4.  My deck.  We can have the grill on the deck just outside the kitchen.  No more traipsing out the front door, and 'round back to the gas grill.  I can keep an eye on the grill and prep whatever else I need to prep in the kitchen.

5.  My attached garage.  It's 2 steps, literally, from my car to the mudroom door.  No more sprinting across the driveway to the barn where our cars were kept in the winter, or dodging raindrops to get into the cars parked in the driveway.  It's a breeze to bring in the groceries too.

6.  My walk in shower . . . . I'll have to save that for another time since I only was going to list 5 things.