To The Next Family Who Moves Into Our ‘Ghetto’ Apartment

Home-Quotes-21Dear Family,

My son and his friends often referred to our little apartment as, ‘ghetto’.

As in; not the mortgaged palace of a dual income family, decorated in the safe fashion of the day (grey/beige).

It’s the home where I raised my son.

It’s  the home where I painted his childhood room the brightest shade of lime green imaginable, and where we wandered outside into the courtyard , wearing our pajamas,  to look at the full moon.

I left our little ghetto pad to move closer to work when my kiddo launched into young, adult life. I moved to a three bedroom, townhome,  where homes sell for well over six zeros.

 

The ghetto apartment that you are about to move into is as much a home as any finer four walls that you will ever find. I daresay, that it’s likely the place where I spent the very best years of my life,  relishing every moment of motherhood.

We roasted marshmallows over real wood fires in  the fireplace, hosted full houses of friends at Christmas and Thanksgiving. We had nightly rendez-vous to the kitchen for tasty midnight snacks, and it’s where we knew we could come and close out the badness in the world when we needed refuge. By the way, I left you some dry firewood in the shed so that you can enjoy some fires this winter, when the wind whips wildly outside the patio door.

During the finer weather, we had ‘happy hour’ together; Gatorade, water, or whatever else we nursed while talking about the events of the day. It was a plain patio, but it was good therapy.

You are moving into the home where the kitchen doorway is marked in pencil with my kiddo’s growth chart. It’s small, but every night I could poke my head outside of my bedroom door into the darkness and listen to the soft sound of my kiddo sleeping safely.

Your ghetto home has some colourful neighbours; the man with dementia who hollers like the devil, the young ladies whom I think may be prostitutes, the fitness fanatic, and the little old lady who pokes her head out of her second floor patio door to let me know she appreciates the beauty of the flowers that I plant every year. Please plant some flowers for her and put up some Christmas lights – she’s lonely.

I spent some of the best years of my life in that ghetto apartment, and I think that my kiddo did too.

Not only did I pack up boxes and boxes of our stuff, but I also took the important things with me when I moved too; heart, attitude and love.  All of this so that I could make the new four walls home. Home is about heart and not place.

To the family moving into our ghetto home, my wish for you is that your time there is as deeply satisfying as it was for me. Spend time there. Sit on the edge of your child’s bed and giggle with them. Give them a cool soak in the old, worn out bathtub when they get fevered, and be sure to  run out into the courtyard in your pajamas to look at the moon.

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Abounding Grace & The ‘F’ Word

angrywomanFor months, maybe even years I wrote about how I had observed the incredible life-affirming beauty of grace in action.

I wrote about people overcoming heart-shattering loss, adversity, and hardship with incredible grace; without fists to the sky, without making the lives of those around them miserable, without despair.

I wanted to be able to handle shit that way. I think we all do. What I have discovered is that we don’t necessarily want the practice that it takes to be graceful. In other words, it takes hardship to to learn how to navigate the rough rapids of change with some savvy and style; Without using the ‘F’ word, without letting the shit show shadow all of the other other elements of our lives that we have to be thankful for.

As I have been chronicling in my mid-life-move blog, Andsheshines, (Be sure to subscribe!!!)

I believe I’ve finally leveled up when it comes to coping. You can read about some of my experiences in the great adventure of preparing to empty-nest,  moving in with a man for the first time in two decades, and everything else that goes bump-in-the-night while those stages of life march onward. Time waits for no woman, and I’m going to ride my time like the wild woman that I am.

Your Invitation Awaits: Shine On My Wonderful Friends, Shine On!

centenary_red_tan_50406bNow that you feel comfortable in my writing space, come on over and get cozy with www.andsheshines.wordpress.com

If you are in the midst of change, and looking for inspiration, this is the place. Pack a bag and a fabulous pair of shoes my darlings…xo

See you there… https://andsheshines.wordpress.com

 

The Incredible Lightness of Kicking it to the Curb

suitcasesI’ve been talking about decluttering for a year.

Yes, talking about it, giving it lip service, and finding a zillion ways to sabotage any time I have  to do it.

Well, it’s time.

As I said to someone last night, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. By that I mean the hamster-on-the-day-to-day-grind-wheel-without-seeing-any-results. I haven’t seen that light in a very, very long time, and I’m kinda diggin’ it.

That means that I will likely be packing up and clearing out soon in order to unpack and settle in somewhere else. I’m nothing if not a lazy mover, so that means, anything not worth lifting has got to go.

This time I will not move an appliance box full of stiletto heels or a giant box of office supplies. I’m too old for that shit darlings.

I have reams of untested recipes, a giant box of hair accessories from the 90’s, and a drawer full of frilly bits that haven’t seen the light of day since three lovers ago. I have photo albums that are ready for the fire after a I take out a picture or two. My writing drawer has morphed into a bottomless trinket trunk, with old ear plugs, book marks, playing cards, love notes and an assortment of massage oils that I’m sure went rancid six years ago. Time to bundle it up and wave a giddy bon-voyage.

But there’s lots to do before I close my little apartment door for the last time and put out the last fire in our cozy fireplace. Like make a copy of all the marks on the side of the kitchen doorway that recorded my kiddo’s growth. I also have to catch the one cat who will not be touched, and bundle up my Hallowe’en and Chistmas decorations.

Right now I’m going to forget about cancelling my cable, changing my phone number and coming up with the extra cash I know that I’ll need to make a new place home. I’m going to forget about not knowing where the libray is, or the gym, or have a routine for picking up my groceries or a quick take-out dinner. I’m going to forget about the comfort of living in the city and being surrounded by people 24 hours a day.

Right now, I’m just going to dream about what I want. I’m going to inquire and talk to people about what’s next, and hopefully put enough good stuff out there, that it comes back in the form of a new way to pay the bills, a new place to live, and new people to have adventures with as I move to stay closer to the people I love.

But first, I need boxes. And a rainy weekend or two to clear it all out…

 

 

Change: Looking Forward to the Unknown

not-all-those-who-wander-are-lostA rogue wind gust smashes through the window and sucks the ashes of her ancestors from their urn, scattering them back out across the vast, midnight landscape…and so the protagonist knows that finally she is home.

Sounds delightful doesn’t it? Knowing that you are home. Forever. Where you are meant to be.

Actually, I find it a bit terrifying. I know better. I’ve witnessed it thousands of times; people who think that life will never change.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt that forever-at-home feeling.

Perhaps I should elaborate; I feel at home everywhere and nowhere. I have a gypsy soul and have a tendency to want to wander. I’ve lived close to the bone, just surviving with enough, and according to the stages of my life; student, young wife, mother, mother of a teenager…and soon, just me again.

This past year has been a combination of settling in and hurrying up to wait. And it’s killing me. Seriously, I am not a patient woman.

I am decisive and spontaneous, and quite frankly sick of the daily, commuting-to-barely-pay-the-bills-soul-sucking-grind. In light of not having a partner in adventure to plan the next grand project, place or party, I’m preparing to pack up my parlour and part. But all in good time.

As my Mumster would say,

My body is still here, but my spirit has moved on.

I get what she means. I’m restless and dreaming, and just fed up enough not to be nervous, which actually does make me a little nervous.

To anyone out there who thinks things don’t change, don’t kid yourself. To those of you who have a spirit of adventure, I wish you speedy decluttering, friends to help you unpack and courage.

 

If Change is as Good as a Rest, I Should be In a Coma

moving forwardSeriously God, universe, or whatever is out there playing with my life. Stop it.

Subtlety has never been my strongest character trait. Nor is gracefulness, although, I believe I have been more studious this year about cultivating grace in my life.

Rigidity, focus and drive are all qualities that I have in abundance.

Maybe that’s what the latest lessons in life have been sent to teach me; relax, let it all just happen, and for the love of all that’s holy, breathe.

Loss has been a theme this year. Yippee, just what every middle-aged woman wants. Loss and more loss.

As a late-night, bourbon-soaked email from a friend reads, “You are nothing if not resilient. It’s a great quality.” It’s hard as hell to cultivate though, and I wonder what price I’ve paid for it, or if I’ve really paid any price at all.

Loss of family, a lover, and now potentially home.

More than anyone else I’ve ever known, I’ve reinvented myself time after time. Earlier this year I decided that should I throw my lot in with the love of my life it would not involve a change of workplace or home. Turns out that was the least of my worries with said gentleman.

Stability doesn’t get the street-cred it deserves. In your 40’s, it’s pretty sexy. Scary too as you realize that it’s taken the place of spontaneity and the potential titillation of surprise.

I’m much more cautious about change than I used to be. In the past, I’ve jumped headlong into change without fear or investigation. I just jumped, giddy for a new experience and the vast potential for what kind of story it would turn into.

So, as I begin to assess the possibility of a move,  I wonder if change would be as good as a rest, or if it would push me over the ever-loving edge of sanity. I wonder if I wonder too much?

so differentJust over a month ago, at the end of a relationship, I read this quote and rolled my eyes thinking, “Nope. Everything is, pathetically, exactly the same.

And then I was offered a new job. Old flames turned old friends reappeared in time to soothe my aching heart, and now the potential change of venue for the place I call home.

Hmmm….

Life does really change like this; unpredictably and always, always, always, faster than we’re comfortable with.