Krissie: All About You

Photo on 2013-03-23 at 22.13 That’s me in the middle of the night with a sudden brainstorm (though I did grab my glasses). That’s to fill your nightmares.
Okay, this week. I’ll get my mother’s estate bank account set up and closed and deal with all the little things left over from that. I’ll write every day, at least 200 words. I’ll continue working on my office, which is showing real signs of progress, and keep the forward momentum of decluttering. And I will Clean All Things.
Just kidding. Happiness is lowered expectations makes an excellent motto. Jenny and I both set ourselves up for failure, demanding too much of ourselves and then, of course, falling short. But I really have masses of things I need to do that I haven’t done, like getting the rest of my backlist out in e-form and keeping my website and social media stuff up to date.
And it seems like Monday’s a good day for doing business stuff. I have another blog I have to write every Monday (which I usually forget) and I may as well just put in the time.
So, for this week. Finish up my mother’s business stuff. Move towards getting more of my stuff out in e-form. Write like a fiend. Watch my eating.
And enjoy myself. Either with working on my office or sewing or crocheting or all three of those things. I think decluttering tends to be a happy process, not only because it trims down what I’ve got, but with the stuff I keep I get to enjoy it more. So many fun things to make.
Today I went to church (Palm Sunday, y’know) and then worked on making up a decorating notebook. Which meant I pulled ideas out of magazines I’d been saving for years (and I buy waaaay too many magazines), putting them into those clear page protectors in a big fat notebook (my non-virtual Pinterest) and then putting the rest of the magazines into recycling. So decluttering and pleasure at the same time. Very efficient.
And damn it, spring is going to come or I’m going to explode.
Tomorrow I’ll give a mild rant about the stupid business of publishing, but in the meantime I’ve got my work cut out for me and I’m looking forward to it.
What’s on your agenda?

Krissie: Okay, I’m doing the best I can

Photo on 2013-02-28 at 10.54 That slightly gloomy expression is right after calling my IRS case worker (I get my own special person). It’s not that bad — she’s very nice and we’ve just been waiting for a certified letter. Last time I called her (at Christmas time) I was in tears and she said “it’s only money.” Ha!
But that’s no biggie. Look at my hair. I’ve decided to get it trimmed and shaped. I’m loving it long, but it’s getting a little ragged. Tomorrow’s our anniversary and Richie likes it shorter (the only man in the world who likes their woman with shorter hair) but he’s not getting it. But it’ll look a little better once it’s shaped (tomorrow afternoon).
I need to start tracking my time better. I missed three doctor’s appointments yesterday — one at 2 pm with my therapist. I called on that one, because I was halfway there and we had a sudden mini-blizzard (about 4 inches in two hours). But apparently an hour earlier I had an appointment with a psychiatrist about my meds (in the next town over, so I would have been late seeing Ellen) and then found I’d missed a one o’clock appt. (same time as the shrink) with my eye doctor, who was 25 miles away over a mountain pass.
I will now write down my appointments, damn it. I need a calendar stuck on my wall.
I did write down my hair appointment, and my colonoscopy appt. (who can forget that?) and my rheumatology appointment.
So. Organization. just a small step.
And everyone was so smart yesterday. God, I love this place. Writer blogging seems all about talking about how glorious you are and there’s no give and take. Well, Jenny and Lani have give and take, but most blogs …
But this is a community, full of such wisdom. And thanks for the Salmon of Correction, Pam B. I needed it.
Okay, here’s what I’ve decided. My office comes first, because I need to be comfortable to write. I’m also pretty sure this book wants to be written long hand, so while I’m working on the office I can write anywhere (as long as no one’s around).
I’m going to take pictures of this place, lots of pictures, but I’m not going to do anything until I get back. I need Jenny’s help with a color scheme (I know what I want, but I need her to help me refine it. She’s going to help me redesign my kitchen and choose colors for my living room (if we get around to it). I want to feel comfortable and happy in my house again.
Anyway, lots of pictures and plans and advice sought coming up. For now I’ll get to work writing.

Krissie: Decluttering

I’ve noticed this before. I have very red lips. They’re thinning with (choke) age, but it’s surprising how red they are. Makes me think of the scene in Venetia when she first meets Damerel and he quotes a poem about “cherry ripe.” Ah, don’t I wish.
So, on to the topic at hand. In autumn I nest. I bring fake autumn foliage out and stuff them in vases (real stuff would make me sneeze), I have autumn table clothes etc., and I like to declutter.
But here’s the strange thing. I do the tiny stuff. I don’t seem to be able to deal with the big picture. Last weekend I folded up all my panties and arranged them in my top drawer. Man, it was lovely. Because I have way too many pairs of panties, and I’m throwing out anything that’s slightly worn, and now I’ve got to get rid of the over-sized ones.
But on Sunday I had energy. I went for my walk, and then I made bread, and while I was doing the bread my utensil drawers were ridiculous. I can’t find my apple slicer and I realized I have so much crap in the drawers that I use maybe twice a year. So I took out all the stuff I rarely use, tossed some old stuff. I still need to pare down — I have like 8 pairs of salad servers and we seldom use them We just toss them with the fork. I have maybe seven spatulas. 12 wooden spoons. I’m insane. Anyway, I started with the main utensil drawer:
And then, feeling encouraged, I kept going.
So … with my house in disarray, why do I spend my time on meentsy (new word) little things and not just make things look neat. My sister, who bordered on a candidate for Hoarders, used to pile things in corner and throw sheets over them, so everything looked sleek (relatively) but there was chaos beneath. Chaos and slime. Whereas I like things clean from the bottom up — surface mess is less worrisome that nasty stuff around the toilet or dishes shoved in the oven so no one will see them. Of course I see the point if someone is making an unexpected visit … ah, no I don’t. People know what I’m like and I can’t fit all my chaos into the oven.
I’m not sure if fidgeting around in re-arranging drawers is a way of avoiding things, or whether it’s a bird by bird thing. Problem is, I don’t know if I ever get to the big stuff.
Does anyone else do that? I spent a day polishing silver when I’m drowning in crap. Does that make sense? And yet I really have a hard time cleaning surfaces when there’s chaos underneath.
Maybe that’s always been my problem. I sweat the small stuff and my energy and interest seldom lasts till I get to the big stuff. I don’t get the same sense of accomplishment from straightening the living room, because to do that I just move things into a different room.
I think this time I have to do all the levels. Rearrange the drawers — done! Rearrange the cupboards and get rid of duplicates. Clear off the counters. Make space in the pantry for the appliances that don’t get regular use. Tell Richie to stop feeding the cats on the counter.
Or should I even start in the kitchen?
Overwhelmed. I guess I need to figure if I’m doing things all wrong, starting with the small stuff.
I think it’s like writing. You can’t look at the big picture – it’s overwhelming. Another thing Anne Lamott said, apart from the bird by bird thing? That you should think about writing a book like doing an oil painting, and you only have to do a postage stamp worth of work at a time and eventually it gets done.
All I know is that decluttering my house and keeping it clean has always been an Epic Fail. And I just can’t live that way any more.

Krissie: Playtime

I can do anything I want today. I’ll probably do some sewing, maybe go through the slides a bit more, work on decluttering the living room, maybe list some stuff on ebay. Right now I can have weekends off, and since I did 4k words in the last couple of days I earned it. And the book is moving in the right direction.
Funny that I would think of working on the house as playtime. But part of it is because it’s fall. I do major nesting in the fall. I’ve already hung up different pictures, I’m sorting through stuff. ready to make some progress.
Though I have to admit, going through the slides yesterday was hard.
We seemed to do slides back in the early seventies (though I found some from the mid-forties). There are slides from my wedding, slides of my grandmother, slides of Richie and me and our dog. Tons of photos of the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley (trashed those), tons of photos of Newfoundland (trashed those). Tons of photos of my sister’s wretched boy toy from forty years ago.
But pictures of Mini-me and Stuart, darling Stuart (and darling Mini-me). The two of them, ages 2 and 4, ages 4 and 6, such sweet babies. And my sister with them, looking so pretty. I’d forgotten how pretty she was back then. I sat there crying yesterday, looking at all the people I loved who were gone. So maybe I’ll give myself a break today, and not look at more.
It’s funny, though, because as I was going to sleep last night I could suddenly remember exactly what our house smelled like. The house we bought up here, the one I moved to in 1971, the one my sister bought. The smell came back with perfect clarity, and with it such a sense of nostalgia. And then I could remember what our house in Stannard smelled like, the first house we bought. Slightly creosote-y, with notes of barn-board and old wood and old house smell. Strange that that should come back so strongly.
Anyway, I’m just going to play around the house. Maybe use the timer so I don’t get overwhelmed (20 minutes work to 10 minutes play — I got that from – great recommendation!).
I’m just gonna do what I want. And if I change my mind and want to cry over old slides then I’ll do that as well.
Today is for me. I’ll do exactly what I want.

Krissie: Le Sigh

Crap. I’m having trouble uploading photos on this computer and I’m damned if I’m going to spend ages battling with it (I’m in my office this morning on the regular Macbook, whose name is BabyJenny because Mini-Me talked me into buying it over a netbook).
So yesterday was a Fail. But it was an okay Fail, I guess. My BFF has screwed up her back royally, so I thought I’d go over and work there while she did her sewing (we’ve written together with great success in the past). But instead we talked, and I didn’t get much done. And then I got home and for some reason I didn’t get anything done at the house either. I think it’s because it’s so overwhelming. At least I managed the food okay.

I think the food and weight thing is doable because it’s no longer overwhelming. I’ve made solid progress that I can see (and it helps that everyone else can see it now, too). I know what to do, what to avoid (fried foods and Fast Food and sugar and white flour) and what I should wallow in (veggies). I’m solidly on the road there, and I’m starting back swimming in a couple of weeks.

But the house is making me insane. Totally. And I can’t move anything anywhere. There’s no place, and they haven’t brought back the dumpster. I feel absolutely frozen, not knowing where to turn. I have all this stuff I want to sell on eBay and I can’t get started on it, I have an idea where to hang some of the pictures I brought from my mother’s place, but all this other stuff is just lunking around (family term). And I can’t move. I’m going over to Montpelier to buy a hutch I saw in Craigs list (cheap) to put some of the stuff in, except I don’t know where there’s room to put the fucking hutch.

Plus there’s all there’s all this stuff I have to do. I have to drop by Earl Coolbeth and pay him the rest of the money for the headstone. I have to call the Lutheran minister in Princeton to see if he can do my mother’s service. Hmmmm. Maybe it’s not that much stuff after all, though the minister thing is fairly huge.

And I have to write. I have to. Both for my mental health and my finances. And everything always seems to get in the way.

Of course, my son’s still around (though we haven’t seen him much), and things seem to be up and down with Erin, and while I’m doing my best to detach that’s probably making me anxious. In fact, that was probably a lot of my anxiety last week. He’s leaving tomorrow, at least for a while, but then Richie’s sister is arriving and that brings its own set of anxiety, frustration and worry.

I think I’ll just bang my head bloody against a wall.

I don’t know what to deal with first — the house, so I can make a calm place to write, or my writing, so I can afford the time to put into the house.

LOL. now the image worked. Crazy time, I tell you. I need a tv show to come in and move everything out on the lawn, hold the mother of all lawn sales and then take everything else away. (Love that show). But failing that, it’s up to me. And I don’t know where to start.

Krissie: Too many things

Okay, here’s my plan. I drive the 65 miles to the big city, drop a load at Goodwill (why does that sound obscene?), return software for my BFF, take clothes to consignment place, get a pedicure, go to the doctor, go to Costco, come home. So now I have to figure out how long it’s gonna take and what time I should leave and what else I want to do. I think I want to go to Barnes and Noble and the health food store. So I think I should just take off. If I end up having extra time I can always … ooooh, go shopping? Bad idea. I don’t need anything. But maybe I can play. Actually I could use a pair of pull on jeans in a smaller size. Mine are all too big.
But no more organizing stuff, no more containers. And tomorrow I’m … no, tomorrow I’m going to Alex’s birthday party. But after that I’m going to clean my living room, particularly since Alex will be here.
Anyway, it’s a day in the big city, and I think I need to enjoy it. Mini-me was sounding incredibly stressed last night, after a long day of work and trouble trying to arrange my mother’s memorial service down in Princeton. But we’ll get it worked out, sooner or later. And I don’t need to worry about it today.
Today, I will have fun. I will have a pedicure and buy myself one small thing and not worry about anything. Anything at all.
Now where are my tranquilizers?
So what is it about having fun that makes me stressed? Why do I feel like I always have to be nose-to-the-grindstone, both on the house and my work. The decluttering situation, difficult when I started the year, is now on steroids because of my mother’s death. It’s out of control, and I have to do something about it because it’s making me crazy.
But I am doing something about it. I’m taking stuff to good will and the consignment place. Calm, Krissie. Stay calm. I can just feel the anxiety ratcheting up and I’m not sure why.
It would be nice if I had Mini-me or a friend to go with me, but BFF has screwed up her something muscle and it’s like sciatica. She’s in horrible pain and can’t do anything (hence her inability to help with the mess of the house). But I’ll listen to audio books and enjoy myself without spending money. Then again, I’ve stopped indiscriminate spending (though I indulge a bit when I visit Crusie).
Okay, it’s going to be fun. I’ll take it slow and easy. I won’t get stressed and drive too fast and cry, which I do too often. I won’t obsess over things.
Deep breath.
It’s going to be all right.

Krissie: Oooops

I forgot that Mini-me reads here. I share everything with everybody, but for some people it’s definitely TMI, and my sweet little niece doesn’t need to know details about my sex life. I mean, she’s only 44 — she doesn’t know about these things.
Jesus, she’s 44? She used to be a baby! She used to be a skinny, long-legged teenager. What happened?
Well, she still looks like a teenager.
There’s a great song by Sandy Denny (one of my all-time favorite singers) called ‘Who knows where the time goes.” Judy Collins had a famous recording of it, but Sandy’s original has one of the most beautiful vocals I’ve ever heard. You know about phrasing? If not, it’s what Frank Sinatra did beautifully. You’ve got the song as written, and then phrasing is the way you sing it, the slight wait at the beginning of the line and then you catch up, the way you hold certain notes, etc. That’s what Sandy does with that song (she wrote it, btw).
Music’s my second passion. I lived in NYC and worked there simply for the chance to go hear music, and I did. I heard about everyone back in the last 60s and early 70s before I moved up here. In fact it was music that made me move here.
I had gone to hear everyone. Chicago went from the bottom of the bill as Chicago Transit Authority to the top of the bill as Chicago. (BTW I never liked Chicago — they were just always with other people I wanted to see). I saw Sam and Dave, Derek and the Dominoes, Cat Stevens in a tiny coffee house (and in Philharmonic Hall a year later). Creedence, the Kinks, the Stones, Janis, Jimi Hendrix when he was Jimi James and the Blue Flames (before he went to England). I was at the Stones concert in MSG where Ike and Tina Turner opened for them and Janis came out and sang with Tina.
But one night I was in Central Park, listening to the Band, and they sang “Rocking Chair.” The sound floated over the warm night air and I knew I’d seen Ten Years After one time too many.
So I moved to Vermont to write my first book. Did I talk about this before — I don’t remember. Did I tell you how David Carradine saved my life? If not, I will, but that’s for another day.
For today, it’s so freaking gorgeous it could make you weep. Exquisite — the temperature is about 70, there’s not a cloud in the sky. It would be a great day to go for a hike, but I can’t walk. Not sure if it’s warm enough to go in the lake, but I hope so. In the meantime, we’ll work on the house. (Notice how other people do things with friends on Labor Day? We got no one. Richie has his cousins, so maybe he’ll get a little socialization but for me, nada.)
(i just reread this, and realized I forgot about my BFF. Though Sally’s pretty tied up with her new grandson, and she’s only been around about three weeks this year, so it’s easy to forget she’s here right now. So I need to stop feeling so damned sorry for myself.
And now I’m starting to feel edgy and blue and that’s ridiculous. I’m going to bustle and declutter and be busy, and I’m going out in the sun and enjoy the glorious day.
I’ll worry about socialization later. I might even sew. Lots of glorious possibilities, and I’m not in the mood to be depressed. Not on such a beautiful day.
Low-grade depression can be a choice, and I choose to seize the day and be glad in it (how’s that for a mish-mash of ancient Roman and Christian philosophy?).
Because, damn, it’s beautiful outside.