Monday, May 15, 2017

One Person's Junk...

I've been reading through my childhood diaries lately.  It's so fun, and so funny. And, it's reminding me of things I hadn't thought about it a long time.  I love looking back at them with my now adult perspective on things.  I seriously find the whole thing fascinating!

I ran across this little entry I wrote back in 1983:
I shared it on my Facebook page, and lots of people chimed in and left funny comments.  It seemed that most people could remember what it felt like to be an angsty teen, or in my case, pre-teen.

One person left a comment that just rubbed me the wrong way.  She said something to the effect of, "Ugh, I threw out all my old things from Jr. High and High School years ago to save my kids the burden of one day having to go through all that.  Memories are good enough.  I don't need that junk."

Wow.  Thanks, Debbie Downer.  I now realize that contrary to what I thought when my parents told me I couldn't go to the Police concert, they were NOT assholes.  But you are.

I am so thankful I've held onto these old keepsakes.  I don't have a great memory on some things, and so I am devouring this stuff as revisit my youth.  I've saved diaries, tons of photos, and important letters- including so many love letters between Fermin and I.  It's all taken up some space at the top of my closet that I wouldn't have used otherwise. It's not cluttering up the place or anything like that. And if I were to die tomorrow, I don't think anyone would feel burdened by these things- They can just throw out the boxes I keep everything in if they want.  Not a big deal. 

Anyway, I agree with Debbie Downer that memories are great to have.  But you don't get to keep all that many, really.  I have run across so many little stories and memories I never, ever would have remembered if I didn't have these things.  I feel so lucky to have held on to it all.  It's a gift I gave to myself, and I really didn't even realize it as I did it.

This may look like junk to someone else, but it's not that to me at all.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

My Mamasita Fina

My fine little momma ❤️
I've now had a dozen years of a Mother's Day without my mom around.  I'll be honest and say, those first several years were torturous and I wallowed in self-pity on many of those Mother's Days.  Although I still miss her, and think of her so often, it's not with the same deep sadness that it used to be.

I remember Mom just like this picture implies-  a little ray of sunshine.  And now, I figure she really IS part of that sunshine that greets me on a daily basis. My Mamasita Fina.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Writing By the Glass

I'm embarking on a new writing project.  Longer than a song or a blog post.  So it sort of makes me nervous.  But also, excited!

Right now, my head is bubbling with ideas but I don't have a clear path of how I want to go about telling this story. The blank page is just as daunting for me as it is for everyone. But I figure if I just spend time with it daily, it will work itself out. 

I know that I can easily be distracted by email, Facebook, Instagram, and of course- weird Trump tweets. Those things are (mainly) just forms of procrastination.  So during my dedicated writing time I'm shutting off my Wi-Fi on my computer, and leaving my iPhone in another room.  Since I sometimes use my iPhone as a timer, I realized I needed another form of keeping track of time.  So, I ordered this awesome hourglass I found on Amazon.

It's not technically an hourglass.  This pink sand counts down by the half hour.  For me, that's even better.  Sometimes, uninterrupted 30 minute segments are about all I can take anyway.  When I'm really on a roll, I can flip it over and go again for another half hour. 

I like that there's no ticking involved, no buzzer once the time is up, and if I want to just watch the pink sand trickle in for a few minutes, it feels pretty zen.

No matter what, I'm sitting down to write 30 minutes every single day from now until at least July 4.  Who knows, maybe by then it will be a habit.  And maybe my writing project will be going and flowing so well, I just won't want to stop!  But it's also okay with me if it all sucks.  I know bad writing eventually leads to better writing.  30 minutes at a time...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

House Full of Yes!

This week and next, I have painters in my house.  It's the first time I've ever hired someone else to paint anything inside of my house.  It's a big job, because we decided to do the entire house all at once, and one that I didn't want to take on myself this time around.  As you can see below, I like color, and I don't have any "white" walls in the house. But I know for resale purposes, I need to tone things down around here. So, I'm neutralizing these walls, as we're in the beginning stages of getting our house ready to sell.

Last week, I lined up five different painters to give me bids on the job after getting some recommendations from neighbors and friends.  I felt like I was off to a great start when the first bid I got was slightly lower than I was expecting.  That guy said he couldn't start the job right away, he could start it in a couple of months- which at first, I was thinking was my ideal time anyway. He seemed nice enough, fair, honest, and I had read a lot of good feedback about him from our neighborhood online page.

The second bid I got was from a man named Guillermo.  I have a friend who used to live in Dallas and she flipped a lot of houses.  I figured she'd have some good connections.  I texted her and got his contact info from her. I called him up, and he said he could swing over later that day.

Guillermo and his brother showed up, with sweet smiles on their faces.  I mean really sweet.  We walked around the house so he could see what all we wanted done, just smiling and saying, "Okay." and "Yes." the whole time.  I had that feeling that you sometimes get that pretty much, no matter what, I wanted this guy (and his brother) to do the job. He left and after I shut the door behind him, I looked at my husband and said, "Do you think he understood all of that?" and Fermin said, "Yes! Okay!"  We both laughed, and although we weren't really sure what was understood exactly, it didn't really seem like it mattered all that much. 

The next day, Guillermo actually hand delivered his bid.  And it was slightly lower than the previous guy.  I was so glad that all signs and reasons were pointing me to hire this guy, who I had such the strong feeling of "Ok! Yes!" from the start.

I had three other people lined up to come give me their bids the next day, but they both got in touch with me to reschedule until the following day.  And that was all the sign I needed.  I knew I wanted to call Guillermo that night and tell him I wanted he and his brother, Raul to do the job. So, sorry to the other guys but I didn't really care about their bid enough to wait an additional day.  I'm a snap decision maker, and I tend to go with my gut.  For me, it was very clear that I had already found the right people for the job.

When I called Guillermo to tell him I wanted him to paint my house, he of course said "Ok! Yes!" and although I couldn't see him, I know he was smiling. He and his brother were available to start anytime we were ready.  Even though originally, I was sort of thinking July might be best, I realized sometimes NOW is the best time.  What if Guillermo and his brother had another job later in the summer, or went to Mexico or something? Also, for Lucy and Ricky's sake, I knew the cooler days of May would be much better for them than July to spend a lot of time outside while the painting is being done. I figured Guillermo and his brother would need a few days to line things up and be available to us, but also figures it never hurts to ask so I did: "Tomorrow?"  As usual, his answer was "Okay! Yes!" When  I asked him if he could start at 10am, well, you know what he said.

Now I'm in my office, they're two days into this paint project and the smell of paint is becoming a bit overwhelming.  But it's soothed by the sounds of Guillermo and Raul.  I have no idea what in the world they're saying because they speak Spanish the whole time, but they're talking softly and laughing all day long.  Happy people.  And it's such a contagious thing.  I feel happy, even though three rooms of my house area in complete chaotic arrangement right now, and the fumes are giving me a slight, steady headache.

It's a house full of "Okay! Yes!" around here for the next week or two.  I picked the right guys for the job.  I'm positive!  Okay! Yes!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Moving Like a Minimalist

I'm of the mindset that when I want something to happen, I can't just sit around and wait... I gotta get in there and do what I can to make it happen. So, although Fermin and I don't yet know the specifics on exactly when and where we're moving, we know we are moving.  The details will unfold, but for now, we just know we're moving.

And I want to feel like I'm doing something to help keep that ball rolling along.  Because I want it to happen sooner rather than later.  Because I've lived in Dallas my entire life, and seriously that question, "If not now, when?!" applies here.

So one day, I told Fermin I was running up to Home Depot to get some moving boxes to start packing up.  He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "What?  Kerri, once we know where we're moving we can pack up all of our stuff in 3 days!"

Maybe we're both a little crazy, but maybe we're also both on to something.  First of all, let's start with me.  It always takes longer than you think to do just about anything- especially pack up all your stuff for a move, I don't really think you can start too early, and it's a great way of Spring cleaning.  As I'm packing up our things, I'm only going to keep the things I really care about and seem worth the trouble of moving.  If something doesn't "spark joy", (that phrase I love, coined by Marie Kondo, author of the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) it's going into the pile for donating instead.  Since I currently have time to thoughtfully go through our things, I can be thorough and organized about it.  This will make the move, and the unpacking far better.  I'm sure of it.  Also, as I remove more and more of the "knick knacks", I realize I want less and less of that in my updated, more mature decorating style.

And although I do think packing up our things will absolutely take more than 3 days, Fermin had me look around and think what would we really even want to bother with... and he's right. It surely isn't everything, and the job probably isn't quite as big as I had first thought.  I'd like to let go of most of our old furniture and decor that we bought over 15 years ago.  Like my hair and my clothes, my home decor style preferences have changed a lot since the early 2000s  So moving to a new place is a great time to ditch the old stuff that we no longer are in love with. (Thank God, we're still in love with each other... So neither of us will get ditched.)

This next time around, I'm not just buying a table because it seems like a table should go "there".  I'm not buying anything until I need it for a real reason. I'm not buying more chairs than I need, or tables, or paintings.  I'm going to be really thoughtful, and really careful about anything I bring into my new home.  All of it has to spark joy.  And as long as it does, it can come in and it can stay.  But once it doesn't... I'm letting it go.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Lucky Boy

Ricky Ricardo, my Lucky Boy
I just finished reading Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran.  SO GOOD.  Although, the title is slightly misleading.  But it's also thought provoking to think about that title after you finish reading it. 

It's a well told story, with great characters.  The main charactors are two women who's lives intersect by one "lucky" boy.  Soli is from Mexico and she illegally immigrates to American, and becomes pregnant during her journey to get here.  Kavya is an American citizen who decides to foster a child, in hopes of adoption, once she has given up on the idea of having her own biological child. 

Lucky Boy was long (just under 470 pages), but didn't feel that way.  There was no clear side you were necessarily rooting for, and you knew that in the end, someone was going to be heartbroken.  But as sad and as hard as this story is, it's based on many stories that are TRUE.  And it probably is one of the "luckier" ones. 

Such a current topic, and one I loved really delving into and seeing it from a few different angles.

This is the author's first book.  I'm always amazed when someone's first book is something this brilliant.  But like I recently heard Liz Gilbert say on her "Magic Lessons" podcast, your first book didn't just take the 2 years (or whatever it took to actually write)- It took all that time of all the years of living and cultivating that idea in your subconcious before you ever started the actual writing of it.  So if Shanthi's next book takes anything less than something like 32 years, well, then she's really blowing and going.  I can't imagine what it would feel like to begin on the next project after one so masterful as this.  Yikes.

Anyway, I loved this book.  I was lucky to have found it.