In the Closet

Hello dear friends,

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  Mine was very nice, indeed, and it’s coming to a close now with the rain falling (at last!).  I’m listening to acoustic guitar, drinking mint tea and preparing to catch you up on some of my projects.  So all is well, even if the Seahawks did lose today at the last minute…  😦

So with the changing of the seasons, I recently conducted my semi-annual “flipping of the closet” ritual.  It entails putting away my summer sundresses and replacing them with all my dark, woolly, and otherwise fall/wintry clothes that have been sleeping in a bin for the past six months.  I love this time of year, and I really love pulling out all my favorite fall clothes that I’ve missed for so long.  Seeing as yellow, orange and brown are my favorite colors, autumn is definitely my season.  That being said, Boise enjoys four quite lovely and distinct seasons, and it always feels as though they change just exactly when the calendar says to.

Well, at least until this year, when September 23 came and went and it proceeded to still reach 80+ degrees every day since then (until, like, yesterday maybe?).  So I’ve been patiently waiting for the rain and the wind and the frost, where I can finally welcome the day by bundling up in a wool blazer and scarf.  Admittedly, there have been a few chilly mornings where I’ve clicked my heat on for a couple minutes to warm up the bathroom while I shower.  I always used to make myself wait until November 1 before turning on the heat, but apparently I’m weakening in my old age…

I’ve recently begun referring to this season more frequently as “autumn” rather than fall.  It’s such a lovely word, autumn, and now I have the most adorable baby niece named Autumn.  She was born September 9 (two years ago actually, so I suppose she’s not a baby anymore…) and fittingly her parents named her after the loveliest of seasons.  I sent her a birthday card this year with this quote from Albert Camus:  Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower.  She is so adorable, and every bit as beautiful as the brightest of autumn leaves.

Baby Autumn

Autumn is when we celebrate the harvest, and are reminded of the abundance with which God blesses us every day.  We look to the markets and the fields and take note of the fruits of the farmers’ labors.  We extend gratitude for all of the “things” we have–our homes, our loved ones; food in our bellies and joy in our lives.  A few weekends ago my friend Carrie joined me for the harvest festival at Peaceful Belly Farm.  This was the farm where I subscribed to my “share” and received a basketful of fresh produce every week since May.  They always end the season with this festival and let people glean from the fields–picking the leftover eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, etc, that remain on the vine as the season comes to an end.  Biblical, indeed, to witness the abundance in those fields–the bushels of vegetables being carted away so that they wouldn’t be left to rot.  One of my favorite lines in the Episcopal eucharist liturgy is when the priest speaks of the ordinariness of the elements:  Wheat of the field, and work of human hands.  Fruit of the vine, and work of human hands.  Human hands have definitely been hard at work nurturing the fields and vines out at the farm.

Liz and Carrie on the farm

Liz and Carrie on the farm

Last weekend I also made the easiest of crafts and created a cornucopia for my front door step.  I bought the horn for $2 from the thrift store, and months ago my friend spotted me a few bucks at a yard sale so I could buy armloads of silk flowers (which are shockingly expensive when bought new, I might add…).  Winter squash from the farm spill out from among the foliage.  Abundance, indeed.

The horn of plenty.  A home of plenty.

The horn of plenty.  A home of plenty.

So as I ironed and steamed and hung my dresses in my closet, I too was reminded of my own abundance, nay, excess.  I surprised myself when I stepped back and asked:  “Gosh, I have so many more dresses than I thought…  Do I really need all this stuff??”  And, of course, the answer is “no.”  But even someone like myself who values simplicity and tries not to buy into consumer culture has somehow ended up with at least 27 dresses and dozens of pairs of shoes in her closet.  Sigh…..  The effort at living a simple life continues…

I did pull out quite a few items to consign, and those that my store didn’t take, I donated to the thrift store.  A while back, I came across this image on Pinterest, which I appreciate and have been trying to adopt:

The Buyerarchy of Needs

The Buyerarchy of Needs

Part of my closet organization project involved mastering my electric drill.  Boy, was that ever empowering!  You would have laughed to see me systematically moving through each closet, from the garage to my bedroom, screwing whatever I could into the wall to maximize the usage of the spaces in my various small closets.  I hung lawn chairs and a step ladder on the inside of the garage pantry.  I installed one of those “broom-hanging” bars in my kitchen pantry so that all my “handled” cleaning tools are nicely hung up on the wall.  I even put two hooks inside my sewing room closet so I can suspend my ironing board from them.  And my hall closet got a full makeover.  I spent about $5 at the thrift store and purchased a set of baskets to contain my gloves, hats, etc, and hung a few more hooks on the walls.  It doesn’t look that different, but I know that now there is a lot more storage space, which will be nice when winter comes and I start wearing gloves and hats again.

Garage closet

Coat closet

Now that I have a full house, I’ve enjoyed filling it with furniture and other items that carry a story and some meaning behind them–pieces like family heirloom furniture, artwork from my travels, and other items that have been gifted to me since I bought my house.  Rather than just buy new, stock furniture from a big box store, my home has been filled with unique pieces that carry special memories based on who gave them to me or in what funny circumstance I happened upon them at a yard sale or thrift store.  My house is pretty quirky–it’s definitely a reflection of its owner, I admit…  I’ve had a few moments of wondering if there is “too much going on” with my interior decor, and if I’ll tone it down eventually and just get some staid furniture from Costco or RC Willey.  But I hope I don’t ever do that.  I prefer things that are one-of-a-kind, rather than things that are one of exactly thousands of others just like them.

Truly, I really haven’t “needed” much since I moved in.  My mom contributed so many household goods from her own backstock, and my former house was pretty well stocked with whatever I needed to cook and make a home.  And so I have to say, it has felt rewarding to me to adjust my habits and go to the thrift store down the street first, whenever I do need something.  I almost always find something there that can meet my needs and prevent me from buying new.

I find the idea of closets quite interesting–the fact that it has become standard in homes in America to keep a container for extra items in literally every single room of the house.  Not just the bedrooms–but the bathrooms, the hall, the entry way, the garage, the kitchen, the laundry, etc…  Spaces to hold the extras that we feel we will need at some point, but which are also things that we don’t want others to easily see.  So I’m fascinated by the idea of secrets too–knowing that we all carry things within ourselves that nobody else knows and which we do not wish to reveal, either.  We keep them tucked away, deep down, not readily seen by visitors in our lives.  Closets are useful not just for storage, but also as a quick escape in which to dump a bunch of stuff that we want to hide when we receive an unexpected guest.  We all do it–it’s the instant housekeeping solution:  pile away the junk and close the closet door, and suddenly the house looks so much tidier.  And I think we do that in ourselves as well, hiding away our secrets and our excesses and our struggles, especially when someone new comes into our lives.  We would feel embarrassed if they stopped by and saw all that junk spilled out everywhere.  It feels improper for a stranger to see what we’re really holding inside.  Maybe if they get to know me and become my friend, then eventually I’ll let them see the inside of my closet, and I won’t feel embarrassed.  But until then, I’m going to put up a front that I have everything together and nothing is out of place in my life.  

I don’t think it’s a surprise that the gay community began using the phrase “in the closet” to refer to one who has hidden away one’s sexual identity–one who hasn’t yet made it known publicly that he or she is homosexual.  It’s something private and intimate and special.  Like other things we keep in our closets, it’s something important that we need and want to keep, but which we also hide away and don’t necessarily want just anyone to see.  I’m not gay, but I certainly have my secrets.  Experiences and thoughts and wonderings and knowings that are hidden away in my head and in my heart and which I don’t want others to see.  Things I’ve said and done, things I’ve witnessed and heard, that I’ve hidden away in the darkness of my internal closet.  There is liberation in opening those closet doors–letting in the light, picking out things that I don’t need to keep anymore and which can be thrown or given away.  Memories and hopes and longings that don’t fit me anymore.  Things that I’ve worn out or are stained and of no good to me any longer.  There is freedom in de-cluttering and organizing, in making room for the sake of making room, but also for the sake of creating space for something else to fit there eventually.

In writing this blog, I’ve made a big step in opening up my head and my heart for others to see.  To de-clutter my mind by sharing thoughts and musings and wonderings, instead of keeping them in the closet.  I admit, it’s vulnerable, and vulnerability connotes fear and anxiety and a sort of powerlessness.  But for me, vulnerability also conveys a sense of intimacy and trust.  If I’m going to open up my head and my heart and my closet to you, I’m trusting that you won’t judge me for all the crap that’s piled up inside, and that perhaps you may assist me in cleaning it out–throwing some things away that I don’t need to keep inside anymore.

My sister and I have developed an informal tradition of going through each other’s closets the night before a visit with each other comes to an end.  We’re fortunate as sisters to be able to wear each other’s clothes.  I think as we get older our styles are diverging a bit.  My sister is a black/gray girl; I’m more of a warm tone girl.  She likes modern, I like vintage.  But still, we do like a lot of the same things, and it’s fun to trade and borrow clothes from year to year.  I’m always surprised at the memories and stories we associate with our wardrobe.  Undoubtedly we each tell each other when or where we bought a certain item that we highly prize and that the other wants to borrow–shoes from Italy, dresses from great vintage shops, scarves from our travels around the world.  I bought that when I was in such-and-such a place, so be careful with it and don’t get rid of it…  We reveal a lot about how we view ourselves through the clothes we wear–what we present openly to others is a reflection of what we feel inwardly about ourselves.  And we embody those memories and travels and stories when we wear them on our sleeves, literally.  Our closets are store houses of those memories; containers of who we used to be, who we want people to believe we are, and who we want to become.

So alas, the effort at living a simple life continues.  Some days I feel like I’m doing a good job about not acquiring too many material possessions, and other days I think it’s ridiculous that one person needs this whole house and everything in it just to get by in life.  But, I am making a concerted effort at not filling up every nook and cranny of storage space in my house.  These older vintage homes have a lot of built-in cabinets, which I love and which was one feature I wanted in a home.  But I’m proud to say that most of my cupboards are still empty, or nearly empty, and I intend to keep it that way.  I’m trying to use up what I have before buying anything new when it comes to arts and crafts and sewing supplies.  Goodness knows, I have a serious fabric stash that will keep me busy for many dark evenings to come…

Ok, thank you for reading and for letting me clean out my closet on these pages.  I know I am creating openness in my life, and that I am also making space for other things to find their place in my head and my heart.

Now go clean out your closets and get rid of something you don’t need!

Liz

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All Dogs Go To Heaven

Hello friends,

October 4th is the Feast Day of St. Francis.  So at church this evening, we had the annual “Blessing of the Animals” service.  It’s one of the best evenings of the year, where people are invited to bring their pets, or whatever animals they choose, into the sanctuary to have them blessed by the priest.  It’s always exciting to see if anything exotic shows up.  Most years, among the cats and dogs, there are at least several chickens, and occasionally you get rabbits or a snake (not sure what kind of theological statement that makes–to bless a snake…?).  Someone told me once that where they used to live in New York City, every year a few animals from the Brooklyn Zoo would be chosen to come to the cathedral and receive a blessing.

St. Francis is the patron saint of animals and of the environment.  His feast day reminds us to value all of God’s creation and all the creatures of the earth.  When I was a kid, I remember having multiple conversations in Sunday school over the years, entertaining the question of whether or not God lets animals into heaven.  Undoubtedly our teachers always erred on the side of “yes,” giving some kind of answer like, “Well, heaven is a place that is only good, and where you never feel sad, but where you are happy all the time and have everyone you love around you.  So if you love your dog, then yes, God will let you have your dog again in heaven…”

Today’s service was enjoyable as always, but it was also bittersweet for me.  We had built the tradition of taking our dog to be blessed every year that we had her.  A year ago this weekend was the last time my husband let me see our dog, and I took her to have her final blessing here in Boise.  I felt sad at the time, knowing that this would most likely be the last time I’d get to worship with her in church, but also I was still not wanting to believe it was true.  She was like our child–we loved her like she was our baby when we brought her home at seven weeks old.  Her birthday is October 21st, so this is a sad month of Penny anniversaries for me.  She was so smart, beautiful, and had such personality (I always half-jokingly said she took after me the most…).  People were drawn to her, but she was a little prickly and definitely needed her alone time.  It was often frustrating, because she was so adorable and had the thickest, softest red coat, but she wasn’t very physically affectionate and didn’t like to be pet much.  She picked and chose who she warmed up to, and she was definitely stubborn–if she didn’t want to do something, there was no way to force her into it.  She was a mountain girl too–she was never happier (and neither was I) than when our little family was up hiking in the mountains or snowshoeing in the woods.  Those were the absolute best times for us.  It’s incredible to see a creature in its natural habitat–the way they just completely know how to be and what to do when they are in their element.  That’s how Penny was in the mountains, and especially in snow.  She was so funny to watch–she would run and play and bound and leap through the drifts of snow, and just roll around and get all covered in it.  Her breed is the most ancient of dog breeds and has the highest percentage of DNA that is identical to that of wild wolves.  She was wild at her core, indeed, just like her mama.  We used to joke about how crazy we were to have invited a little wild animal to come and live with us, but we still loved her.

I admit, there were many times where I felt frustrated with Penny.  Like I said, she and I both needed our alone time, and it was hard for me to always have the distraction of her scratching at the door and wanting to go in and out, in and out, in and out……  There were times when I felt angry with her and wasn’t as loving as I should have been, and I regret that.  But honestly, what parent doesn’t get frustrated with their children and want a break from them now and again?  Not that that makes it right, but unfortunately, it’s an eventual part of relationships.  It doesn’t mean I didn’t love her, and it still hurts that I never got to see her to say my good-byes.  I still miss the softness of her ears, the smell of her forehead, and giving her kisses on the top of her snout.

There was a lady sitting a few pews ahead of me in church tonight who had a dog that looked very similar to my Penny-Lou.  It was sad to see the resemblance as it reminded me of my long lost doggie.  But I tried to think with gratitude about the time I had with her, and the love that she once brought into my life.  For a dog who wasn’t very affectionate, there were times when she licked the tears from my face and understood when I was having a hard time.  I still miss her every day, and I think of her whenever I walk by doggies on their evening walks with their owners around my neighborhood park.  I think of her and send her my love whenever I pet another dog.

After church, I found myself meandering on a walk, and navigated toward the foothills trail that used to be our daily walk with Penny.  My husband was almost always the one who took her because he got home from school early and would take her out right then.  But usually on the weekends we would all walk up the hill together in the morning or the afternoon.  My friend Norm talks about the “geography of grief”–how certain physical places hold the memories we shared there with our loved ones, and how it can be painful, if not impossible, to return to those places for the visceral grief it evokes.  I haven’t walked that trail for many, many months now, but it was good for me to walk it tonight.  To give thanks for all the walks I had there with my dog and my husband; for the beauty of the place; for the blessing to be able-bodied to take such a walk.

But now I have a new evening routine–I walk around Cassia Park several times each evening, just a few blocks from my house.  I’m getting to know some of the regulars–dogs and humans alike.  Just yesterday I met the most adorable German Shepherd puppy–8 weeks old and just absolutely the most precious thing you’ve ever seen.  His ears stuck straight up and actually touched in between them at the tips.  He is going to be one beautiful dog when he’s all grown up.  I pet him for about ten minutes and he just flopped and rolled around and leaned into my hands.  When I was petting his back, he lifted his head up backwards and gave me a few little kisses on my chin.  So sweet.  Nothing like puppy love.

A few months ago I almost got another dog just like my Penny.  He lived in Colorado and was listed on a rescue site, not because he was troubled or in danger, but because his parents were having a baby (a human one, that is) and knew they wouldn’t have the time to spend with him that he needed.  The deal was pretty much sealed and I was going to pick him up Labor Day weekend, but the family decided to give him to another family who lived closer by.  I was very disappointed, but I trust that it was not meant to be for now.  I miss the companionship of having a little creature sleeping on the floor in the living room (and in my bed occasionally…) and maybe I will know that again one day.  Until now, I’ll just appreciate the neighbor dogs that I greet in the park, and hope that another doggie comes into my life when I have the capacity both to receive his love and extend my love to him.

Blessed Penny

A Haiku for Penny:

My blessed Penny,

Mama will always love you.  

See you in Heaven.

Liz

So I Have a Home Gym Now

Hello my dear friends,

Ack, I’ve done it again!  I’ve got about a dozen other posts in my head that haven’t yet made it to the page.  Apparently I’ve been busy actually living my life before recording it for you all to read about…  I’m trying to jump start myself again in several ways, so here’s a little blurb about my darling new home gym.

So there’s a part of me that’s always wanted to be a great athlete and has enjoyed seasons of working out, hiking, running, doing fun things outdoors, etc.  But then there’s another part of me that is REALLY lazy and lacks any form of self-discipline.  So, it’s sometimes hard to get started again once I’ve fallen out of practice with working out, or whatever other hobby/activity I’ve fallen away from.

Incidentally, another post that I need to catch you up on is my newly finished garage project.  It looks SO good–I love it and I think you will too!  You do get a little teaser preview of my peg board in the picture below…  But for now, suffice it to say that my garage reno resulted in a new little home gym, tucked into the corner between the refrigerator and the chest freezer.  Yes, the fridge still lives in the garage, but eventually it will find it’s home in the kitchen, and you will hear all about it when that blessed day occurs–trust me.  And I’m going to send the chest freezer home with Dad after he visits this fall, because it’s taking up precious space in my tiny one-car garage, and I probably don’t need to stock up on 5 turkeys and a dozen blackberry pies to get through the winter.

my home gym

So there it is, complete with padded mat, my little basketful of yoga paraphernalia, towels, etc.  I resurrected one of my sister’s OLD portable DVD players, so I can play my workout DVDs and blast music from my living room.  I need to find another iPhone docking stereo so that in the wintertime I won’t have to keep the house door open to the freezing garage and can just play music in the garage (the techno pop soundtrack of the videos just doesn’t do it for me).

Last summer when I was having my crisis, I miraculously tapped into this incredible level of self-discipline that was buried very deep down inside me (very, very, very deep down…).  I got up super early every day to meditate, pray, read, study, AND workout.  It was so therapeutic, so I’m trying to get back into the rhythm of being more productive between the hours of 5 and 8 a.m.  (Wish me luck/pray for me…)  It’s a little bit weird doing this same set of workouts from Beachbody–21 Day Fix (it’s awesome, I highly recommend it).  It reminds me of that worrisome, painful, unpredictable time last summer when I was doing anything I could to cling onto my life and marriage and not allow anything more to fall apart.  But, on the other hand, it also reminds me of how positively and powerfully life-changing last summer was for me, and of the strength that God granted me–mind, body, and spirit–to persevere and keep moving forward, even when I was tempted to quit and crumble.  I recognize that I’ve moved on enough from that season of my life such that I can begin re-engaging some activities that were a big part of that summer, and not feel too overwhelmed by the memories that come back when I do.

Remember that old poster:  “Today is the first day of the rest of your life…?”  Well today was Day 1 of the next 21 Days of my life, so hopefully in three weeks I’ll feel and look a bit fitter than I do now.  Lord knows, I ate a LOT of donuts this past winter.  It’s time to hem it in, hit the mat, and start eating like a grown-up again.  :/

Thanks for reading, I’ll catch up with you soon,

Coach Liz

pump you up

I Love Music

My darlings,

How can it already be August 18th???  This summer has come and passed so quickly.  There have been so many fun outings and trips I’ve done in the past several weeks.  So, allow me to share with you now that I am coming off the most incredible week of concerts I have ever experienced………!!!!!!!!

I could write volumes about how much I’ve appreciated music’s healing power in my life in the past year.  But I won’t belabor the point, because I fear that words cannot even capture how much I love music and value it in my life now.  Just hear me say this, “I LOVE MUSIC,” and multiply it by a factor of like 10,000 million gzillion.  So you get my point.

So I’ll try to capture the amazingness that was this past week full of live music with a few pictures and comments.

So Iron and Wine opened the show at the Idaho Botanical Gardens on Thursday night. It was really just Sam Beam playing acoustically by request--people up front would just yell out songs they wanted to hear, and he would oblige. He was so amazing--sounded so clear and just like he does recorded. It was hard for me to listen, in a way, because his music is basically the soundtrack of the spring that my husband and I met and fell in love. It brought me to tears hearing all those songs that played while we were getting to know each other and hanging around in each other's dorm rooms, and then kissing and laying in bed together, wondering what would come of this young love. I was tempted not to go to the concert out of my fear of how I would feel listening to him, but I'm so glad that I went. Most of this past year I've tried to rise up to challenges rather than let my fear of them keep me from the experience. Music hits me so deeply now--it cuts through all my thoughts and arguments and memories and just hits me right in my soul. After he came offstage, Sam walked along the fence and just greeted and talked to everyone who came up. I shook his hand and told him thank you for playing and sharing his music. I told him that in a way it was hard to listen to for the memories it invoked, but that ultimately it was healing. He was so gracious and also said thank you for my kind words. He is such a gifted writer; I love the way he tells stories with his songs. He only played for an hour, but when I went home I listened to him for like two hours, and just let myself bawl my eyes out in remembering that sweet time with my husband--then boyfriend, now ex-husband I suppose. It's so painful, yet so freeing to just lay on my couch for hours, listening to music and letting my tears fall down my face. I feel overwhelmed in the moment, but I know it's more overwhelming thinking of holding all that in for the rest of my life.

So Iron and Wine opened the show at the Idaho Botanical Gardens on Thursday night.  It’s an incredibly beautiful concert venue that’s basically a lawn in front of the Boise Foothills.  It only holds a few thousand people, so it feels quite intimate.  Sam Beam played solo and acoustically by request–people up front just yelled out songs they wanted to hear, and he obliged. He was so amazing, sounding so clear and just like he does on record.  It was hard for me to listen, in a way, because his music is basically the soundtrack of the spring that my husband and I met and fell in love.  It brought me to tears hearing all those songs that played while we were getting to know each other and hanging out in each other’s dorm rooms, and then kissing and laying in bed together, and then wondering what would come of our young love.  I was tempted not to go to the concert out of my fear of how I would feel listening to these songs, but I’m so glad that I went.  Most of this past year I’ve tried to rise up to emotional challenges rather than let my fear of them keep me from the experience.  Music hits me so deeply now–it cuts through all my thoughts and arguments and memories and  excuses and just hits me right in my soul.  After he came offstage, Sam walked along the fence and greeted and talked to everyone who came up.  I shook his hand and thanked him for playing and sharing his music.  I told him that in a way it was hard to listen to, for the memories it evoked, but that ultimately it was healing.  He was so gracious and also said thank you for my kind words.  He is such a gifted writer; I love the way he tells stories with his songs.  He only played for an hour, but when I went home I listened to him online for like two hours, and just let myself bawl my eyes out, remembering that sweet time with my husband–then boyfriend, now ex-husband, I realize.  It’s so painful, yet so freeing to just lay on my couch for hours, listening to music and letting my tears fall down my face.  It’s overwhelming in the moment, but I know it would be more overwhelming to hold all that in for the rest of my life.

So here is one of my favorite Iron and Wine songs:  The Trapeze Swinger

 Please remember me, happily
 By the rosebush laughing
 With bruises on my chin, the time when
 We counted every black car passing
 Your house beneath the hill and up until
 Someone caught us in the kitchen
 With maps, a mountain range, a piggy bank
 A vision too removed to mention
 But please remember me, fondly
 I heard from someone you're still pretty
 And then they went on to say that the Pearly Gates
 Had some eloquent graffiti
 Like 'We'll meet again' and 'Fuck the man'
 And 'Tell my mother not to worry'
 And angels with their great handshakes
 But always done in such a hurry
 And please remember me, at Halloween
 Making fools of all the neighbors
 Our faces painted white, by midnight
 We'd forgotten one another
 And when the morning came I was ashamed
 Only now it seems so silly
 That season left the world and then returned
 And now you're lit up by the city
 So please remember me, mistakenly
 In the window of the tallest tower
 Call, then pass us by but much too high
 To see the empty road at happy hour
 Gleam and resonate just like the gates
 Around the Holy Kingdom
 With words like, 'Lost and found' and 'Don't look down'
 And 'Someone save temptation'
 And please remember me as in the dream
 We had as rug-burned babies
 Among the fallen trees and fast asleep
 Beside the lions and the ladies
 That called you what you like and even might
 Give a gift for your behavior
 A fleeting chance to see a trapeze
 Swinger high as any savior
 But please remember me, my misery
 And how it lost me all I wanted
 Those dogs that love the rain and chasing trains
 The colored birds above there running
 In circles round the well and where it spells
 On the wall behind St. Peter
 So bright on cinder gray in spray paint
 'Who the hell can see forever?'
 And please remember me, seldomly
 In the car behind the carnival
 My hand between your knees, you turn from me
 And said the trapeze act was wonderful
 But never meant to last, the clowns that passed
 Saw me just come up with anger
 When it filled with circus dogs, the parking lot
 Had an element of danger
 So please remember me, finally
 And all my uphill clawing
 My dear, but if I make the Pearly Gates
 I'll do my best to make a drawing
 Of God and Lucifer, a boy and girl
 An angel kissin' on a sinner
 A monkey and a man, a marching band
 All around the frightened trapeze swinger

So the headliner that night was Brandi Carlile.  I wasn’t very familiar with her–only had heard a few of her songs on the mainstream radio–but had heard that she has the best and most unique female voice currently out there.  She was SO amazing.  They totally rocked the house, and I loved so many of her songs.  I wish I had such a strong voice and could move people as a singer the way she and other musicians do.  She also has amazing hair, I might add…  And, she’s from Seattle, so how could I not like her..?

"The Story" So the headliner that night at the Botanical Gardens was Brandi Carlile. I wasn't very familiar with her--only had heard a few of her songs on the mainstream radio--but had heard that she has the best and most unique female voice currently out there. She was SO amazing. They totally rocked the house all night, and I loved so many of her songs. I wish I had such a strong voice and could move people as a singer the way she and other musicians do. She also has amazing hair, I might add... And, she's from Seattle, so how could I not like her..??
 All of these lines across my face
 Tell you the story of who I am
 So many stories of where I've been
 And how I got to where I am
 But these stories don't mean anything
 When you've got no one to tell them to
 It's true... I was made for you
 
 I climbed across the mountain tops
 Swam all across the ocean blue
 I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
 But baby I broke them all for you
 Oh because even when I was flat broke
 You made me feel like a million bucks
 You do and I was made for you
 
 You see the smile that's on my mouth
 It's hiding the words that don't come out
 And all of my friends who think that I'm blessed
 They don't know my head is a mess
 No, they don't know who I really am
 And they don't know what I've been through like you do
 And I was made for you...
 
 All of these lines across my face
 Tell you the story of who I am
 So many stories of where I've been
 And how I got to where I am
 But these stories don't mean anything
 When you've got no one to tell them to
 It's true... I was made for you
 
 Oh yeah, well it's true... that
 I was made for you...

So a few weeks ago I was home listening to the current recording on Pandora that is Mumford & Sons playing a live show and featuring their new album “Wilder Mind.”  I love that title, by the way.  I’ve grown to love my own wildness–not to resist it or resent it, but to embrace it as a wonderful and integral part of who I am.  Cheryl Strayed’s powerful autobiography Wild helped me acknowledge my own wildness–both its destructive capacity as well as its precious uniqueness.  Thoreau said this:  “All good things are wild and free.”  I am good.  I am wild.  I am free.

"It was my life—like all lives, 
mysterious and irrevocable and sacred.  
So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.  
How wild it was, to let it be." 
--Cheryl Strayed

So I decided that night, rocking out to Mumford while laying on my couch staring at the ceiling (not for the first time, I might add… :/ ) that there was no reason (not even a Presbytery meeting…) for me not to drive out to see Mumford in Walla Walla, WA.  (Anyone remember that hilarious piece from Mike Birbiglia about visiting “Waya Waya, Washington??”  If you haven’t heard it, click the link.  It’s hilarious.)  So Mumford are headlining a select few shows they’re calling “Gentlemen of the Road.”  They’ve chosen some relatively small/potentially obscure towns that normally wouldn’t be host to a huge music festival featuring one of the biggest bands in the world.  Thus, Walla Walla:  the quintessential farm town meets college town.  It is located in an absolutely stunning part of southeastern Washington.  You know that opening line from “America the Beautiful”

O beautiful for spacious skies

For amber waves of grain

Well that pretty much describes Walla Walla, or at least the drive right up to the town.  There were endless rolling hills of wheat resting under the wide open blue sky.  Slowly the fields transitioned to orchards, where they grow delicious peaches and apples.  And those orchards eventually give way to the onion fields–you know, the ones that produce the famous “Walla Walla Sweet Onions.”  The local minor league baseball team is actually named the “Walla Walla Sweets” (which of course endearingly reminds me of the Lake Wobegon Whippets) and their mascot is Sweet Lou.  I had a few friends from high school who attended Whitman College for undergraduate, but I’d never actually been to Walla Walla.  It is in the heart of wine country–I guess I forgot to mention the thousands of acres of vineyards that also surround the town–and the town is filled with lovely shops and tasting rooms.  The GOTR tour is so unique and incredible because it’s designed to essentially take over a great town for a whole weekend, so that it’s like a full-immersion experience of place, people, and music.  They achieved their intention, if I do say so myself.  The weekend was sooooooo amazing.  Posters for GOTR were plastered everywhere and welcomed everyone to the town for the festival weekend.  Everyone camped on the local golf course across the highway from where the main stage was, and the town was set apart as a pedestrian zone, so basically there were just thousands of people walking around, listening to various shows and enjoying a truly “festive” festival atmosphere.  It was so awesome, and the music was only part of what made it so great.

So a few weeks ago I was home listening to the current recording on Pandora that is Mumford and Sons playing a live show and featuring their new album--

GOTR cement GOTR union jack i heart walla walla pilgrimage to music mecca Sweet Lou Tent City

It took me six and a half hours to get there after work on Friday, when it should have been four.  Mother Nature decided to implement a scorched earth policy on Eastern Oregon, which meant that the freeway closed when the wildfires began jumping the lanes and trying to spread to the other side.  That sounds like the beginning of a bad joke:  Why did the fire cross the road?  …  To burn the shit out of more wilderness on the other side…  At first I was worried about how I’d get there when there is literally one road into Boise and the same road out.  Fortunately the gas station manager told me a way to bushwhack up and around and back down to Baker City, where I could get back on the open highway and keep heading north toward Walla Walla.  I had a spiritual revelation while driving, which is that sometimes our path takes us places we weren’t planning on going, but which ultimately are more beautiful and enjoyable than the direction we were originally headed, and which protect us from dangers we would have encountered had we continued in the original direction we were heading.  My drive took me through miles and miles of Idaho backcountry, and ultimately up through Hell’s Canyon.  IT WAS SOOOOO GORGEOUS.  There’s some crazy part of me that wants/thinks I can actually drive like every single road in the state of Idaho.  I know I won’t ever really do that, but I can say that my unexpected detour on Friday evening took me through an incredibly beautiful part of this state that I now call home.  I’m grateful for that excursion–that it reminded me that most of life is following a series of unexpected turns through wilderness, peaks, and valleys that reveal to us the great beauty of life.Hell's Canyon

So I caught about the last 45 minutes of the Foo Fighters’ epic show on Friday night.  Dave Grohl broke his leg playing a show in Sweden a few weeks ago, so you gotta hand it to him for playing almost three hours of hard core rock from a huge throne built just for him on this tour.

Most of Saturday I enjoyed strolling through town, visiting lots of cute shops and people watching.  I did see a great show by this lovely couple who make music together, Grace and Tony.  I listened to their album the whole drive home, and particularly love this song:

NOVEMBER by Grace & Tony
 Broken bones draggin’ along
 Humming empty words to empty songs
 Falling through the motions to a level I'd never known
 These were disappointed eyes
 Lit by burning bridges all around
 Left alone with what I’d sewn for years and years and years
 I was living right where I belonged
 And then something happened just along the way
 Something picked me up and dragged me through those days
 And I was wrong when I
 Decided I would never meet somebody like you
 You saved this life
 Suddenly a chemistry
 Of good and bad began to work as one
 Dreams of happiness were blown away by total bliss
 November held a love I’d never known
 And then something happened just along the way
 Something picked me up and dragged me through those days
 And I was wrong when I
 Decided I would never meet somebody like you
 You saved this life, this life

And on the eighth day, God created Mumford & Sons.  And it was good.  Like I said at the beginning, I don’t think I even want to try to explain how amazing it was to sit at their feet and sing my heart out and jump and dance and party it up for almost three hours.  They were amazing.  If you ever get the chance to see them, do it, and enjoy every second of their amazing performance.

There are more pictures I want to add of the band, but wordpress sucks and is being stupid now, so it won’t upload them.  I’ll try to fix the problem later.  😦

Lastly, this has nothing to do with the concerts I’ve seen, but it’s a song I love and wanted to share with you all.

 The Civil Wars "Poison & Wine"

 You only know what I want you to
 I know everything you don't want me to
 Your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine
 You think your dreams are the same as mine
 
 Oh I don't love you but I always will
 Oh I don't love you but I always will
 Oh I don't love you but I always will
 I always will
 
 I wish you'd hold me when I turn my back
 The less I give the more I get back
 Oh your hands can heal, your hands can bruise
 I don't have a choice, but I still choose you
 
 Oh I don't love you but I always will 
 I always will

That is all.

Liz

We have an “Art Show”

Hello my dearest darlings,

My goodness–how the weeks fly by!  And now I’m so behind with my updates to you on my projects and goings-on.

So let’s get to it.  For one, I hope my sister appreciates the title of today’s post.  (It’s an inside joke/obscure ’90s movie reference.)  Now that we’ve got that out of the way…let me show you the project I just finished today:  my gallery wall!

Here is how my living room was arranged before, and you can see my draft of the gallery wall.  Many thanks to Carrie for helping me edit the art and arrange it artfully.

Here is how my living room was arranged before, and you can see my draft of the gallery wall on the floor.  Many thanks to my friend Carrie for helping me edit the art and arrange it artfully too.

And here is my beautiful new gallery wall!  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  I did end up cutting two pieces that had been in my final draft--one large piece will go better in my "kid" guest bedroom, and the other ceramic plate had a wonky hanger so it would have looked all lop-sided.  Otherwise, I love it!!

And here is my beautiful new gallery wall! I’m really happy with how it turned out. I did end up cutting two pieces that had been in my final draft–one large piece will go better in my “kid” guest bedroom, and I realized the ceramic plate had a wonky hanger, so it would have looked all lop-sided. Otherwise, I love it!!

At first I was reluctant to turn the back of the couch against my large picture window.  But I think moving the chairs created a more cozy sitting space.  And the couch now looks toward the fireplace, which will be nice in the winter time (assuming I both learn how to build a wood fire and get the courage to actually do it…).

I think I feel about my art the way others feel toward their books.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I do have an emotional attachment to some of my volumes.  But since I’ve been utilizing the library and borrowing books from friends more and more, my library isn’t really growing much these days.

My art pieces, however, remain very personal and important to me.  Most of them I bought while traveling to different countries.  Others are either representative of where I grew up, or they actually came from my mom’s house.  The large blue piece in the upper left hand corner is a photograph of a solitary bison in front of the Tetons in winter.  I appreciate it’s delicate, muted beauty, and the solitude displayed by the beast.  Below it are two batik fabric prints that I bought for literally less than $1 while traveling in Calcutta in seminary.  I bought two corresponding ones that I gifted my sister.  I like to buy either matching or similar pictures with two girls in them, and then give one copy to my sister.  So next to those is another sister picture–the two girls fly-fishing in Glacier National Park.  I was surprised how many memories came to me when choosing which pieces to display, and how to arrange them.  The Glacier picture used to be one of two partner prints–the other one gone now as it was my husband’s counterpart:  a solitary man standing on the edge of the dock, looking out onto the waters of Lake McDonald.  My husband worked there at the lodge the first summer we were dating, and I bought these prints when my dad and I visited him for the Fourth of July.  I used to always tease him that that man was him, waiting for me to come to visit him.  I boxed up that picture, among many other beautiful and unique pieces, when I packed up his stuff when he had decided to leave for good.  I’m sure he threw it away, just like he threw away our relationship and the experiences we had shared.  But, sad as that is, I still have my sister and the print that reminds me of her and all the adventures we have (and will) embark upon with one another.  She’s coming to visit at the end of August and we’re going to spend some time up in the mountains.  Perhaps we can arrange for a fly-fishing lesson then…

My sister actually bought me the print closest to my yellow chair when we went to Ireland together in 2008.  It’s of Lucy discovering the lamppost when she first walks through the wardrobe into Narnia.  I absolutely love my newest piece:  “Process,” which is of a person pitting pie cherries.  “Process” has become a word I frequently use, and an activity I frequently engage in as I reflect not only on my life but on the stories of others’ lives that I encounter every day.  What does it mean to “process?”  To take something in, to work with it, to respond to it, to be touched by it, to transform it into something greater…  I don’t know–those are some things that come to mind when I thinking of processing–be it either in the form of picking fruit or listening to someone’s life story.  I suppose the two aren’t all that different–that’s life after all, isn’t it?  Full of sour juices and pits, but also the making of something sweet and delicious.

My vintage Palestine travel poster is from when my husband and I travelled to the Middle East.  I love that old style of travel marketing and propaganda posters.  Actually I recall there being a rather large exhibit of vintage travel posters in the Ben-Gurion airport that we viewed when we were leaving Israel.  They were shocking in some ways as they described the new state of Israel–the reclaimed promised land for the Jews–“a land without a people for a people without a land…”  Don’t get me wrong, I support the existence of Israel, but as someone who has one generation separating me from my full-blooded Indian grandfather, I have a hard time with people who move into a land and claim it for themselves when there are people living there and who have been there for generations.  Ok, enough politics for now.

Below that are two prints from a larger collection of Degas’ ballerina series that I got at a church rummage sale.  I always wanted to be a ballerina, and so of course I love Degas’ work with the dancers.  These used to be in my bedroom, which is painted light pink and is very feminine.  I considered placing them there again, as I still don’t have anything on the walls in there either, but I’m glad that I included them here.  The “Special Citron” fruit label painting is another great yard sale find.  I love all things lemon, and I think the yellow color balances nicely with the other various tones on the wall.

Hmm, what else is there–oh, up above there is the oval piece that is a vintage portrait of an Indian girl shooting her bow.  My mom has a big collection of these type of posters–a fairly pale girl who is supposed to be an Indian, usually wearing a red dress and positioned in some heroic but romantic scene.  Next to that is a little collection of retro wooden postcards from the Olympics at home.  I think I need a bigger piece to fill out that space better, but it’ll do for now.

Well there you go, there is some of my little art collection–pieces found along the journey, either at yard sales with my mom or in exotic lands.  I didn’t realize until the past couple years how important art is to me.  Currently I’m working through a sort of “life transformation” book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  So essentially I’m trying to embrace my little inner artist–taking time to create beauty and also appreciate beauty in my life.  Actually, that makes me realize that that’s probably why I haven’t posted much in the past month–I’ve been journaling and writing an awful lot in response to the assignments in that book.  And oddly, having just arranged my gallery wall that is full of other artists’ works, I feel as though I have created a work of art as well.

I’ll close with this Rumi quote that Cameron cites in her book:  “Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about…Say yes quickly, if you know, if you’ve known it from before the beginning of the universe.”

Liz

Sacred Space

Hello my darlings,

It feels as though it’s been sooooo long since I’ve written–my apologies!  It’s been a busy few weeks, that’s for sure.  What fun I had on my trip to see my good friends in Pennsylvania and in doing my cousin’s wedding in DC.  I survived my own wedding anniversary, and summer has officially arrived.  There have been all kinds of activities and projects brewing at Satis House, so I’ll try to write more throughout this week to catch you up on the goings on.

What I really would like to offer tonight is a piece about the altar that I finally set up in my new house.  I may have mentioned this concept before, but as I didn’t see it in my “Shabbat Shalom” post, I’m thinking maybe I haven’t shared it, so here it is:  “religious envy.”  Allow me to explain.  The rabbi who co-led the trip I took to Israel/Palestine in 2010 shared this idea with us, and I love it.  Religious envy is basically the feeling one has in wishing that one’s own religious tradition employed certain beliefs or practices evident in another’s tradition.  The example he gave, as a Reform Jew, was that he had religious envy of muslims because of the way their full bodies are incorporated in their daily prayers.  He wished that his own tradition had open space set up for people to lie prostrate and move and bow in prayer during corporate worship.

So at some point I identified that I felt religious envy toward buddhist and hindu people who commonly place an altar within their living space.  You may have noticed them at nail salons or Thai restaurants as well–often a simple platform with a statue of the buddha, some flowers, and maybe some fruit or rice placed there as the day’s offering.

I never had made an altar in my own house until last summer.  I started attending my meditation group when I was grappling with my varying levels of personal crises.  They have an altar in the zendo (like the equivalent of the “sanctuary” for buddhists and where the sangha meets to meditate).  Their altar is simple and includes a picture of their teacher–Thich Nhat Hanh–and usually some candles and flowers.

My altar space last summer became so special to me.  Every morning I would get up at 5 a.m. to kneel and meditate and pray and cry and think and wonder what the hell was happening and what was going to come of it all.  I set pictures on my altar of people I love, and I also lit candles and centered an icon on the table.  Since my altar was covered with cloth, I used pins to attach cards and notes and papers with quotes and drawings and poems to the fabric–words I could read to be reminded of all the love I was receiving from so many different directions.

So finally, a few weeks ago, the night before I left for my trip and when I was so restless I knew I wasn’t going to get much sleep anyway, I set up my new altar.  It’s base is a little rolling TV stand that I found for $1 at my local thrift store.  It’s great, because my meditation cushion fits perfectly underneath it, and there is a little shelf inside on which to store my various prayers books.  I’m using the same cloth I did last summer–it’s a white keffiyeh scarf that Arab men wear wrapped around their heads to keep cool in the desert.  (Hmm, I’m sure there’s some kind of metaphor there for me–like the linen is shielding and protecting me and helping keep my wits about me in this desert-of-a-spiritual-season.)  Noticeably absent is the icon–I do need a new one, since my previous one belonged to my previous husband.  But I still have some candles, pictures of loved ones, and other mementos that inspire me each day.  I purchased a bell to ring in and out of my sits (another product of religious envy that I experienced with my buddhist friends–I love the way they utilize the bell to move throughout their meditation, and to initiate a pause in the group’s process at any time).

My altar.

Recently I made a new addition, which is the little pillow you see on the right of the altar.  I made it last week at a staff grief group as part of an art therapy exercise.  Our facilitator encouraged us to use one side of the pillow to express the negative aspects of grief, while the other side would express the positives that can come with/from grief.  I’m really glad about how my pillow turned out.  It shows the brokenness that I felt as I finally began to embrace the many and varied layers of grief in my life.  But it also reminds me that though I am wounded and scarred, I am still a whole person, despite what some/one would say.

Broken.

Broken.

Whole.

Lastly, the chalice that sits at the center of my altar has become very significant to me.  It’s filled with notes written by my chaplain colleagues while we were on retreat earlier this spring.  The theme for our day away focused on “the cup,” and each one of us got to select a cup that had been contributed by another chaplain and placed on a large altar we constructed in that space.  That day we talked all about varying “cups” in our lives–cups we hold, cups we fill, cups we bear, empty cups…  I reflected on the cup as it reminds me of communion–communion not just as the Lord’s Supper but as the Body of Christ–the community in which I live and move and have my being.  The community that rose up to greet me last summer when I needed them most.  Without remaining in communion with all those many people, I would not have emerged from that time with the strength I would need to carry me through this past year.  One person’s note called my attention to the base of the chalice–which has a large crack where it was once broken and has been glued back together.  I didn’t even notice it until it was pointed out.  I realize that that is all of us–that that is me:  an open vessel that was once broken at my base, but which now only lightly bears the scars of those cracks.  A vessel that is still capable both of being filled and of pouring out, growing and healing and becoming whole again.

The cup of salvation.

My cup overflows.  Thanks be to God.

Liz

“Can I get a roll of quarters, please?”

Hello my friends,

(Ok, bonus points for whomever gets the movie quote that is the title of today’s post–not that it’s that original, but it’s from one of my all-time favorite movies.  Here’s a hint:  February 2.  Remember that scene where he steals the bags of money right out of the security truck?)

laundry

I’m sure you’re all dying to learn about my laundry habits, so let me fill  you in on what it’s like to use a laundromat versus doing one’s laundry at home.  As much as I am staunchly independent and highly value my personal freedom, I realize that “independence” is really a delusion.  As John Donne would say:

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.”

Nothing that we experience or do occurs in a vacuum.  All of our lives are a result of the efforts of countless others, and all that we do has a ripple effect on this world in which we dwell together.  So I have appreciated needing to use the local laundromat, because it has reminded me of the importance of community.  In my white, educated, professional culture, I can exist pretty comfortably based on the hard work of lots of other people, most of whom I will never come into contact.  Factory workers who built my car and work in oil fields to produce the gasoline that powers it; migrant farm workers who work the fields and facilities that some of my food comes from; factory workers who produce textiles and other home goods that fill my house.  There are many, many people whose toil contributes to the comfort and ease of my daily life.

So why am I going to the laundromat if I could afford to buy my own washer/dryer?  Technically, I have a washer and dryer, but they *might* be original to the house (think 1960), and the washer is broken.  The dryer works, and I’ve used it a few times, but 1) it is SO loud it sounds like the screeching of metal in a high-speed train crash and requires me to wear my earplugs when it’s running, and 2) now that it’s hot out, I can dry my clothes quickly on the line without wasting the electricity.  I want to re-finish my laundry space within this next year, so I don’t want to buy a washer or dryer until I really know how I will design that area adjacent to my kitchen.  So I’ve been going to the local laundry about once every two weeks to get the job done.

I think when we have more money and can “take care of ourselves” pretty easily, we sacrifice the sense of community that comes by virtue of needing to share something with a lot of other people.  There are people I see at the laundromat that I guarantee I would never interact with otherwise, except for in that humble place where we literally air our dirty laundry.  (Actually, hospice chaplaincy exposes me to quite a diverse population, but that’s another post for another time.)  One of my supervisors includes me in a lot of interview panels as we hire new staff.  When she emphasizes the sense of equality that we share on our team between the varying roles, she always says, “None of us is better than the other–we all put our pants on one leg at a time…”  And that’s how I feel at the laundromat.  (Apparently we all take our pants off one leg at a time, too.)  We all have dirty laundry; we all need somewhere to scrub it up and move on with living life.

Dirty laundry is really a great equalizer of humanity, and laundry is a communal activity in many parts of the world.  In many countries, women catch up on the gossip while gathered around a washtub or pool of water where the laundry gets done.  I recall my time studying abroad in Kolkata, India.  Our professor reminded us that we could send away our dirty duds to be washed and pressed and returned by the same afternoon, though he cautioned us:  “The laundry ladies literally will beat your clothes against a rock down at the creek, so if you have anything with buttons or that you really care about otherwise, don’t send it.”  Surprisingly, those Indian laundresses also had some secret to getting whites as white as I’ve ever seen them, short of being brand new out of the package.

I thought I was bad about waiting as long as possible before taking my wash in, but it looks like this person was hopping out of the their dirty clothes right in the parking lot...

I thought I was bad about waiting as long as possible before taking my wash in, but it looks like this person was hopping out of the their dirty clothes right in the parking lot…

At my laundromat, there was a time when I saw a man unloading his wash from his car that was parked next to mine.  It looked a little unusual–there was some kind of exhaust pipe coming through the roof of the old minivan.  When I looked closer, I realized that this man lives out of his van.  The lightly tinted windows revealed how he had retrofitted the inside so that he could fully recline to sleep, and he could cook on a little stovetop inside.  Obviously he was at the laundromat doing his wash before moving on through and out of town to wherever his next destination lay.

I live in a very diverse neighborhood.  Susan says that there are around 30 different languages spoken in our part of town.  On my nightly walk around the park, there is always a large group of Southeast Asians playing volleyball and soccer.  It reminded me of the huge city park in New Brunswick, NJ, where I did my residency.  My fiance at the time and I played a lot of tennis there in the spring before we got married.  We called it “the United Nations of municipal parks,” because it was so incredibly diverse.  The Dominicans played baseball; the Japanese played tennis; the Indians played cricket; the African-Americans played basketball; and the Latinos played soccer.  I wish that I came from a culture that valued community to that degree–that I had some kind of ethnic connection with dozens of other kids and families and could spend recreational time with them on a regular basis.  At the laundromat, there are usually several muslim women wearing headscarves, and many Mexican men washing up there work clothes–usually by that point just wearing a white tank top and their many tattoos covering their muscular arms.

It’s good to put ourselves in positions that humble us and where we feel a little vulnerable.  The first time I went to the laundry that song popped into my head, “One of these things is not like the other…….”  I felt sort of nervous that I didn’t quite know how everything worked, and I was kind of afraid of making some idiotic mistake and being the “over-qualified” person who would need to ask for help just to turn on my washing machine.  Or what if I started using “someone else’s” machine without knowing it right before they got there–kind of like when a new person comes to church and is afraid of sitting in “someone else’s” pew.  Fortunately everything went fine, but I was definitely aware of how comfortable my life is on a day-to-day basis, and how sheltered I am by living alone and not really “needing” to be around many other strangers if I don’t want to be.  Most people in this world don’t have the luxury of personal space–they live in small dwellings crammed with a lot of people in village-like settings.  Again, ultimately I long for that kind of community where people are truly dependent on one another, and yet I confess, I love having a house all to myself–to experience solitude and peace and quiet as part of my daily lifestyle.

I fully expect that eventually I’ll buy my own washer and dryer set and get back to my routine of doing laundry at home.  But I also expect that I’ll miss the little cultural exchange that is going to the laundromat.

Liz

PS:  One final perk about going to the laundromat is that there is an awesome Mexican taco stand right next to it.  Dee-lish.

laundry mexi dinner