Friday, April 22, 2011


In the past week I've been fortunate enough to spend three days at the beach. Mostly in the rain and chill, but it didn't matter. It has been a wonderful reconnection with an old friend.

I grew up the Puget Sound area of the Pacific Northwest and I'm a beach girl through and through. This does not mean tanning on a towel! It means I can spend hours walking the shoreline and climbing logs, alone or with company and be perfectly at peace.

The first day was spent with my children at a tiny strip of sand near the boardwalk downtown. The rain was pouring and the wind was freezing cold (we had woken to snow in the morning), but my daughter had requested the beach as our destination, so way stayed as long as we could--about thirty minutes--before we were driven, dripping, back to the car. The magic was there, even in those chill conditions.

The next day we drove south as a family to Oregon where a short memorial was planned for my husband's grandmother. She passed away last fall, and her descendants gathered for a moment of silence on the shore as her ashes were set adrift in the outgoing tide of the Pacific Ocean she loved. It was my first experience with this sort of service, and it was a fitting and unique send off for a woman who had led a unique life.

After a family luncheon, we changed the kids into less formal clothing and spent several more hours exploring the beach. It was a cool, windy day, but the rain declined to fall. I loved watching my children and their cousins, my husband and his cousins, walk and talk and stare and the waves in awe. It was worth every minute of the fourteen hours we spent driving to be there.

Arriving home, we had a day to ourselves before my husband's brother and family joined us from Oregon. It was their first family visit to the Northwest and we spent a wonderful afternoon at the state park on the beach watching the starfish and marvelling at the sandstone cliffs and rock formations.

It was good for me to remember what I feel like when I'm walking on the beach. When I'm absorbed in observing Creation. It's a hugely centering thing for me and it brings both a sense of well-being and an outpouring of joyful gratitude.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Neverending Laundryyyy--a look at my dirty laundry

So, even though I promised it would never, ever, happen again . . . it did. I got behind on laundry. This is a feeling I really dislike. The quote "Cleaning while raising kids is like shoveling while it is still snowing" comes to mind these days. And there are only two of them! Well, and the two of us. I am almost at that tipping point where there is as much clean and unfolded as there is waiting to be washed, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how fast I actually start folding. I'm either closer to being caught up (should I begin to fold soon) or on my way to that awful place where it is all clean and on every available surface in my house, in piles, in baskets, just waiting for the kids to dump, jump and roll.

In my house, after it's clean, it either goes into the dryer to dry or on hangers to dry. I hang some short stuff above the dryer:

And the rest goes in the bathrooms on the shower rod. I've accidentally ripped plenty of them down over the years by overloading them before my husband learned to install heavy duty ones in creative ways that would withstand my laundry habits.

It's mostly kids' clothing that hangs up. It wears better and fits longer because I do this, which means I can save it for the next kid or resell it. Multiple friends think I'm nuts for the effort, but hey. There are worse things to be nuts about, right? Plus, I have neither the space nor the stamina to do all our laundry this way and I figure we're using a little less energy this way--it's good for the planet, maybe.

After it's dry, it goes on my bed. I've tried folding it on the living room, but all it takes is a phone call or a five minute break and it's EVERYWHERE and unfolded. I remember the tantalizing smell and feel of a warm laundry pile as a child, but I'm not happy when my laundry gets mussed. Sometimes I don't know how my mother lived through the Disrespectful of Laundry Boundaries years!

Finally we get to this stage. And hopefully it ends up in drawers instead of just piles in baskets waiting for drawers . . . but it doesn't always. I don't actually mind laundry for the most part--I actually kind of enjoy doing it, but as usual with housework, there are things I enjoy more :)

In a few days I'll get caught up again I hope, and promise myself never to get behind again, I'm sure. Then there will be a story to read to a child or a walk to go on, or cookies to make and it will all pile up but I've made peace with that I think. I can live with it because if I have to choose between reading to my babies or catching up on the laundry, I want to choose them not it. As long as the clean underwear and socks hold out, anyway :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I've been trying to get out lately. I send the kids outside to be nature-fied at least once a day and so I've been getting myself out with them. It's not that I don't like it, I do, but as with so many things, five minutes of children occupied by something other than me gives me time to think or finish a task on my to do list.

Giving it up for being outdoors though always fills me up a little more and I feel more centered and less crazed as I come back in to do what I need to do.

This was on my calendar yesterday:

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. --Rachel Carson

It seems that my thoughts inevitably turn towards gratitude when I'm outside for even a short time, and this song is an old favorite by a new favorite group of musicians and one that runs through my mind often as I pull dead grass from my flower beds these days and see life returning to my little corner of things.

I'm working on the front yard right now--very slowly. We saw two frogs yesterday, a little dark brown and green one and this peachy beauty. I love frogs :) I also found the pink hyacinths are coming up and a fringed yellow daffodil has blossomed, but no photos of them yet. Maybe I'll actually do a little nurturing of the soil this year and bring the camellias and irises back from the brink that years of my neglect has pushed them to.