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Junk Drawer

This may be surprising to a good many of you out there, but spring is upon us. It’s time to put away those winter clothes (or so I’ve been told), and plant and mulch and fertilize and…oh yes, organize. Now before you go into panic mode thinking that I’m going to inspire you to do some spring cleaning, or you begin to feel overly confident that you’ve been organized since the plastic bins went on sale five years ago, let me remind you of that dirty little secret we share.

The junk drawer in our kitchens!

You’re probably wondering how I know; you’ve kept it hidden for so long, but we are friends and friends stick together so chances are if I have one then you have one too. It’s okay to talk about it. In fact, I talk about it frequently with my husband.

“Did you see what I did in the kitchen today?” I anxiously ask after two hours of cleaning and straightening.

“Wow, honey, that looks great,” he says, opening the pantry door. “Where are my nuts?”

“On the shelf with the peanut butter and… pasta,” I say, wondering why peanuts together with pasta made sense before I said it aloud. Nonetheless, I’m feeling quite proud and accomplished.

He turns toward the cabinets. “What about the junk drawer?”

…And just like that, my bubble pops. “I’ll get it next time,” I say, but the truth is I won’t.I have always had a junk drawer and on a few occasions, I have had two.

When my husband was in the Air Force, we moved every three or so years. The nice perks were having a moving company pack and haul all our belongings to our new location—free for us. Of course, there were down sides to this as well, but that’s another blog post. Normally, before the packers came to wrap all our stuff in paper and shove, I mean place it in boxes, we organized. This prevented us from finding five paperclips and two pennies wrapped in about ten sheets of paper—three months later. Yes, that really happens. My friend’s cat survived seven days saran wrapped into the couch. Imagine her surprise! I digress. By the time we sorted through an entire house, we just didn’t have the energy to face the dreaded junk drawer so it was inventoried, packed in a box, and moved under the assumption that we would sort it all out later. At the new house, it was dumped into a whole new drawer where it continued to thrive.

Now, I have made peace with my junk drawer(s). It’s a love-hate relationship. It is the one place in our house that is “acceptable” to be in disarray. Our junk drawers are unique to who we are, where we are going, and where we have been. So I am going to share a little bit of me in the hopes that you will share a little bit of you and, together, maybe we can solve a few of life’s questions, like why does something you haven’t used in years suddenly becomes useful the day after you tossed it?

Fun Junk

Fun Junk

Let’s begin with the bare necessities every junk drawer requires, I think. We have a miniature sewing kit because the big one is just, well, too big for everyday repairs. The fast and convenient packets of barbecue sauce, ketchup, and Tabasco, though the latter might fall in the rather unusual category but I LOVE Tabasco drizzled on rice, and since we have such a strong Asian connection in our home, these nifty packets travel quite well. There’s a bleach pen for stains, scissors, fingernail file, and Wet Ones that belong in the car. A bag of tacks, a coaster, an assortment of silverware, reading glasses, a digital pedometer that I don’t know how to work, hand sanitizer, and those tiny little screwdrivers that fit those tiny little screws. There are screen protectors for cell phones we don’t have anymore and a bag of foreign coins because you never know when you might need a few Euro or Yen. I could go on but I don’t want to bore you with a coozy that declares your drink is a “suspicious package” or a “jet lag club” bottle opener which, by the way, is pretty darn cool, we have another drawer to explore.

Technical junk

Technical junk

If we didn’t find common ground in the fun drawer, maybe you are a little more technical. I have just the drawer. Tape measure, guitar strings, tuner, glue pen, a document that may be important, a water balloon nozzle, hooks, an assortment of scented oils, vinyl repair kit, wood putty, outlet plate, and a bag of Las Vegas casino chips. What?

Whew, that was a lot of stuff. We may not have solved any problems, or cleaned out any drawers, but now you just might have a better understanding of the world in which I live. So come on and fess up, what’s in your junk drawer?

 

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Categories: Home and Garden | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Soul Food

Soul Food

Hungry For Change

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. To be honest, I don’t believe they work. I am the first to admit I don’t really hold myself accountable for a promise I make to myself and possibly a few other people who might be sharing a glass of champagne with me. Instead, I like to do a little soul-searching and reflect on what I have learned about myself or the world around me over the past year. Sometimes it’s a lot of things and other times, very little. But my one goal has always been to change the things I can and accept the things I can’t.

The world is constantly moving. “Duh,” you say? Well, I have to make myself aware of this truth. Sometimes, I dig my feet in and refuse to be a part of that change. Life is easier on my front porch, in my little office, curled up on my couch, etc., but the world is a big and beautiful place, and I can change because I don’t want to hear about an awesome sunrise, I want to see it!

 I used to rearrange my furniture every six months or less and in doing so, it somehow made everything seem fresh and new. This is the longest I’ve lived in one house and therefore my furniture has been in every possible configuration. I gave up and nothing moved for a long, long, time; at least long for me. Now, things are on the move again which makes me think it’s because I either have a problem, or I’m hungry for a change.

Writing is something I enjoy doing. It satisfies that creative side of me that I can’t seem to define. I have this strange desire to create something and if I don’t feed the beast with words, I would be painting, building, tearing down, and rebuilding like a carpenter on steroids. I might crochet an entire wardrobe for my daughter, fill the yard with flower beds, or turn my basement into a spa. Hmmm…  Where was I? Oh yeah, for me, writing is a very personal experience that I share with the world. Those are my thoughts, my words, my imagination, and not everyone is going to like what I have to say, but that’s okay. It’s hard to put yourself out there to be judged and it’s hard not to take criticism personally, but I’m learning.  You don’t have to be my friend to like my writing, and you don’t have to like my writing to be my friend!

Early in the spring season when it’s 65 degrees, I’m jumping into a pair of shorts and my husband is rushing to the lake for an eagerly anticipated boat day. Late in the fall season when it’s 65 degrees, I’m jumping into a snuggly sweater and my husband is rushing to the lake for an unexpected boat day. What I have come to realize is that my husband is always looking for a boat day and I wouldn’t change that if I could.

Off the top of my head and in no particular order, my favorite shows—past or present—are True Blood, The Tudors, Game of Thrones, Vampire Diaries, Breaking Bad, Survivor, Lost, Walking Dead. I’m addicted to coffee, I eat popcorn at movies, I sing really loud and off-key when I’m alone in the car because it feels good, and the taste of chocolate still makes me crave a piece of bologna. What does this say about me?

The past several years I have lived an unhealthy, sedentary life. Time and age is creeping up on me and I have discovered I’m not as flexible as I used to be. Maybe I took my youth for granted which is the way of the world, but now I feel like I’m too young to be this old. I’m moving slower and groaning more. “A body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest stays at rest” is true! I’m not lazy, far from it. I’m not an athlete either, but this year I kind of want to be. So, I have made a change and boy am I feeling it. Three days a week I am working out with a trainer and challenging myself mentally and physically! When I want to give up in the middle of a set, I think about hiking with my family, sailing in the BVI, skiing, sledding, snorkeling etc., and I push myself to get back to living in the world I love! 

In the spirit of change, I am weeding out bad habits, one of which is nail-biting. I didn’t make a conscious effort to stop, it just happened, sort of. Maybe I learned to chill a little bit more or maybe it was those few days of yoga I did with my daughter right before Christmas, I’m not sure. One day, I went to bite a nail and realized it was too long and the thought of biting a real fingernail freaked me out. Unfortunately, one nail on each hand was still pretty short so I’ve yet to give those up, but I’m working on it. 

I’m afraid of failure but I’m afraid of success and I’m still trying to figure out how to change that.

When my son of seventeen years died in a car accident, it left a hole in my heart. I waited a long time for it to heal, but it never did. I have come to realize that it never will because a part of me died with him. The pain will always be there, I’m just learning to live with it. 

Keeping a positive attitude is a challenge for me and I have to remind myself every day of all the good things. Surrounding myself with energetic, upbeat personalities is helpful and I’m damn thankful I am married to one. I have a lot of great people in my life, and I appreciate every single one of them.     

In my late thirties, I began to notice my age in pictures. I avoided being photographed whenever possible, as if that was the only way anyone could see the fine lines/wrinkles, or that random gray hair that spiraled straight up on the crown of my head. When Justin died, I found very few pictures of the two of us together; it was disturbing, vain, and selfish. I will never have the opportunity to take more. This realization has begun to change the way I see myself in photos. The person I see in pictures is the same person I see in the mirror, and therefore the same person the world sees. If I don’t love me, how can I expect anyone else to? With Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, I have learned to let go of my insecurities and embrace my “selfies”.  It’s one thing to take a funny or somewhat creepy photo of myself; it’s liberating to share it with the world! I recommend at least one “selfie” a month!

With the support of great friends and family, 2014 is the year of moving forward—one step at a time. I am learning to accept help as well as to give it, to love myself and the life I am living, and to find humor in the world around me; because smiles become giggles and giggles become laughter, and nothing feeds the soul better! 

Soul Food 2

Categories: Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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