Starting anew, and Limits

It is something we think about occasionally. Wouldn’t it be nice to dump out the house, pull up roots, and start a new history? Usually the thought passes soon. The last time I thought of it, we did it. Or, honestly, my husband thought of it first. But in 10 short weeks we emptied the house of about 80% of what we owned, and moved from the North to the South.

The things we kept are not here yet, but we expect them to arrive on Tuesday. Since I sew art quilts, and need a palette of colors,  I went through my fabrics and only kept the ones I expect to need. At least I tried to do that. There will be things in the boxes that I will give away. But since we are reinventing ourselves, it is remotely possible I won’t have time to sew. I can’t quite imagine that. But I also never believed we would go so far, and so fast.

I also packed many canvases, because I like to paint. And since I already spent the money, I decided they were worth shipping. While we were driving down, I even ordered paint and gel media to use on them. The lanai may be big enough to squeeze in a worktable for paint. Lanai, a word meaning patio. Both are funny words. There is a new vocabulary in this community.

All my yarn and knitting needles went to new homes. The climate is too warm to handle wool, even though it is so beautiful. This was a difficult decision, because colors make my mouth water, and my heart beat faster. But the silk scarves I mean to dye came along. Dyeing cotton or silk is easier in a warm place. So all my dyes came too.

The whole suitcase of embroidery floss is on the truck. A little square of fabric, and thread and needle is both portable and cool to handle. And the woodburning tool, and rhinestone setter are coming. They are small enough to stash easily. This is a consideration, since our new home is about half the size of the old one. And there is no basement, and a very small garage.

Climate is one reason to drop some activities. Space is another. Although I enjoy making mosaics, this space is not friendly to the idea. Over time I had collected lots of stained glass, and I’m glad I have a friend who will use it. And she has friends who will help her. And she is such a close friend, she understands that was hard to give up. So she made me a care package of enough to satisfy my appetite, without filling up the whole garage. Can you tell I’m smiling? It makes me think of 100 calorie packs of cookies. Good, but not enough to gorge yourself.

I have a network of  friends I left behind, and I can’t replace them. I hope they will come visit, as I will go to see them. Here I have a sister and brother in law which is terrific. But I have to start weaving a group of like minded people together, so we have both a nest and a safety net. It’s time to pick up stitches.



Life is about learning to let go

We are thrust from our mother’s womb, no choice in the matter. This is the first separation we endure. It proves to be worth the discomfort. Then we learn to walk, and let go of Mother’s hand. Exciting for us both. The first day of school may cause tears, but we meet other kids and expand our world. We are no longer the focus of all the attention, but learning to share turns out to be more fun than solo play. And we continue on our merry way, gaining independence and letting go.

Our first loves are lost, our first cars are sold, our first jobs end. We graduate from school and say goodbye to friends who taught us all our bad habits, and our best resolutions. All along the way, we are moving up, growing into our lives. Time seems to reach a plateau, things change, but we are too busy to notice. We marry, have children, find our niche in the world. The losses and gains, we think, are balanced.

As adults  we begin to note the events that are never to be repeated. We move from the old hometown, and feel nostalgic about the places we loved as children, but either we or they are now changed beyond recognition. And we make new friends, and make plans. The kids go off to college, and our mad rush of activities includes campus visits, where all the kids look way too young. Aren’t we still considered young adults? But now we have to check the box that says 39 to 54.

Then our mother’s hair turns silver, and Dad is no longer a superman. That seems right, we saw it coming. If we’re lucky there is a long time to get used to the idea of their age and infirmity, before it is a pressing issue. Then our mothers and fathers die, and we become the oldest generation. It’s kind of a shock to think of us like we thought of great aunts and uncles, those funny old people. We remember our first grade teacher, the boy that stuck gum in our hair, the dances we taught each other,  how our hearts leapt  when we touched the hand of our true love, those wrenching emotions we suffered someone slighted our nearly perfect child. Are we not still young and beautiful?

If we are lucky, along the way we gather a core group of people whose flaws we can tolerate, whose hopes and dreams we can understand, and the sight of whose face makes us smile inside and out. We changed diapers together, played chauffeur and chaperone, or acted the part of a shoulder to cry on. Like sisters we shared recipes, gave advice on raising teenagers, suffered the changes of menopause with humor, offered solace at the death of loved ones. But after the kids are gone, the career is over, the house is too big, it’s time to move on. So we say goodbye to our longest lasting friends.

It’s easy to lose things. Even the fine china sugar bowl from Grandma can be given away to the care of our now old kids, or grandkids. It doesn’t have the same meaning to them, but that’s okay, we did our part passing on the chain of ownership. But those old friends can’t be given to the care of others. They knew us when our hair was dark and faces unlined. We bared our selves to them. They know how we rejoiced and how we suffered, how pretty we looked in blue, when we started dyeing our hair, and when we stopped. We love them with youth and vigor. And the line between us may stretch across the states or around the world, but it is unbroken. When we gather again it is just like it’s always been. We are puzzle pieces that fit each other’s hearts.  We found a way of leaving that lets us stay together. Hold me tightly dear friends, goodbye, and hang on.


The last thing you do

Well, here we are a week from moving. The last 23 years of belongings have been edited, and approved or discarded. Many of the things I love have been given to people I love. The final things, sifted and chosen, are packed. They are not in all cases the best, or most meaningful items. Most of those have been passed on to others.

What I have chosen to take are things that have the capacity to become part of a new life. They don’t define us by their style, or limit us by their association with the past. The past has become us, and cannot be left behind. It is the foundation of our future. We are become weavers of our lives, winding up our stories on our fingers, and twisting it into the warp of unknown happiness, and unimagined loss.

So it is fitting that the last boxes contain the spices, oils and seeds and leaves of flavors we have consumed here for years. The pepper and cocoa, garlic and basil,  vanilla and sesame are ready, like us, to be combined anew.

Finally, a new post

Hello, anybody out there? It’s me, Kat. I want to tell you a bit of news. We bought a house ! And we sold our house! So things are looking like change. As for me, I’m taking a fraction of my stuff. I found so many cool things while packing, that I decided to weed through my collections, and winnow out the best. SO, that’s what I’m taking. A lot of my former stuff has been relocated to my kids’ and friends’ homes. They can blame me when they have to clear a path. About 30% of my stuff is all that’s going. Or less.

I’d show you a picture of the progress we’ve made packing, but you can imagine it just as well. Picture a 20′ by 8′ area, 3 boxes high, of moving cartons.  Pretty soon that will be in a moving van. Off into the wild blue yonder!