With over two months passing since my last post, I think it’s safe to say I’m on a blogging break; not a lot of reading or posting is happening. I didn’t really notice until a couple of days ago. With apps like Instagram everything is so immediate that pulling out my computer on a Saturday morning and catching up on blogs for a couple of hours seems almost quaint. And the thought of uploading my own photos long after they’ve been taken and crafting a “here’s what I did that day” blog post around them, well, that’s just…slow. Slow isn’t bad. I could probably benefit from a technology slowdown. But not today.
I have enjoyed going back and reading older posts from time to time, even from my previous blogs. I usually expect the worst and sometimes am pleasantly surprised to like what I see when I revisit old observations, musings, photos. But for now, I just don’t have the desire to post much. No need to force it. Maybe that will change in another phase of my life. Maybe I’ll want an outlet or the mood will randomly strike or I’ll want to document something really meaningful. Who knows?
The last nine days or so have been a whirlwind between attending a wedding in sunny Vero Beach, Florida, going on a family ski trip in Winter Park, Colorado, and making a few intermittent stops in my hometown (about three hours from where I live), where I left my dog with my parents while I traveled. After all that excitement, I’m not quite ready for the reality of Monday morning to hit. I do have an overnight work trip later in the week, and although I’m in major homebody mode right now, I appreciate that the excursion will break up my week somewhat. At least I know I won’t be sitting at a desk for five days in a row.
Then, next Saturday, I’m running in a 5K as part of a team. I’ve been doing some running in the past few months. Not nearly as much as I’d like, and sometimes I don’t go at all for a week or two, which really sets back any progress I’ve made. But I’m increasingly seeing running as a good way to claim time for myself and take more control over my days. Something about getting outside and covering all that ground by foot is good for the soul. I’ve met other people through some local running groups and I really admire how many of them get up and work out early in the mornings, and how it’s become a social activity for them too. I think it’s time to take my efforts to the next level and make a stronger commitment to running, and exercising in general, as well.
Onto the many vacation photos!
Since moving out of a triplex (a house divided into three rental units) where I had a small fenced yard, and into a third floor apartment with a balcony, I’ve been surprised at how much more pleasure I get from the balcony compared to the yard. Maybe it’s because I dreamed of living in a big city when I was growing up, but I’ve always been drawn to balconies. It’s part of a larger attraction to spaces that are compact, simple, and charming, without needing much maintenance. The only thing I miss about having a yard is being able to let my dog go in and out easily.
When the weather is nice, I love opening the sliding glass door that leads to the balcony, leaving the screened door shut, and letting in fresh air and the sounds of a very active bird community just outside. It gives me the sense of living in a tree house. I also enjoy how much light it lets into our apartment, and getting to see beautiful sunrises from this spot each morning while drinking a cup of coffee. In the evenings I sometimes turn on the white string lights that are wrapped around the balcony railing for a little extra romance. True, the balcony actually looks out over a parking lot, but if you raise your eyes a bit, the view is all trees.🙂 I am thankful for its many simple pleasures.
The past week has been saturated with a sense of déjà vu. It revolves around the fact that for two years in a row, I have attended the same national conference in Washington, DC the first week of March.
Last year, I did a little shopping before the conference to prepare for the trip. I accidentally forgot my glasses in a dressing room, then panicked that I’d be without them for the conference, before I fortunately found them again. The same thing happened this year! I read two books during my flights, like I did last year. There was more snow and ice and the dangerous struggle to get my suitcase up and down slippery stairs. The off-white knit hat I never have any other opportunity to wear made an appearance. I had dinner at the same Lebanese restaurant with many of the same people as last time. And once again, my first Saturday back in Florida after attending the conference marks the return of my city’s weekly downtown farmer’s market, which was closed for the winter. For two years now, it has occurred to me that the arrival of the downtown market feels like the arrival of spring (I wrote about it last year too).
Needless to say, I’m thrilled the sun is shining on this first Saturday in March. February is my least favorite month of the year; I haven’t ranked the others, but I do know February is at the bottom. The winter holidays are over, the sense of excitement over a new year has receded, and once we’re passed Valentine’s Day, what’s left to look forward to except spring? March feels more promising, leading up to beloved April (last April we vacationed in Miami and got engaged, I love April!), and with longer days and warmer weather, it just keeps getting better from here.
These photos are from the past couple of weeks, or more likely, weekends, since my work days have been too busy for very much Instagrammable nonsense.
I don’t know yet what this weekend holds but we are bouncing back from record low temperatures in North Florida to enjoy weather around the 70’s. Maybe I’ll make use of my apartment’s pool for the first time, at least for reading poolside.
I picked up a few books earlier this month. I’ve finished the only novel in the bunch and have since been making my way through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I grabbed this book because it was on display and I liked what I saw flipping through a few pages. Little did I realize “KonMari” is EVERYWHERE. After bringing it home, I immediately saw at least three blogs that I follow review the book, and there’s been a lot of press around it. Pinterest boards are dedicated to the KonMari method of organization. I guess that’s why it was on display at the bookstore.
Kondomania or not, I’ve just realized I’m pretty much done decluttering, beyond ongoing maintanance or super targeted projects. My home is not minimalist, but I’ve turned a discerning eye to just about every square inch of it, and I think, with some minor exceptions, it reflects the oft-repeated William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
This path has inspired creativity. For example, I realized recently that my vanity was redundant in our new two bathroom apartment. In our old house, it enabled me to do my hair and makeup in a bedroom so I wouldn’t hog the small bathroom my husband and I shared. But here, there is no reason to designate bedroom space for primping. Meanwhile, I’d been wanting a desk and couldn’t figure out where it would go nor did I want to spend money on one. Voila – the vanity has been put to work serving a more useful purpose as a desk, complete with printer and office supplies where there once was beauty products. Okay, it’s not exactly a mind-blowing transformation but I’m not sure I’d have connected those dots a few years ago.
One thing I could imagine really throwing me off my game is having children. I can only assume that will entail a whole other learning process when it comes to deciding what stuff to have in the house. Until then, I will enjoy my less cluttered lifestyle.
Sometimes I need a break. I don’t need another lovely photo of a home or a suggestion for how to declutter my closet or a tip for a great at-home workout. I have all the tools I need. My inspiration cup runneth over. I know myself, I know my life, I know what I need to do to live well.
I am in great spirits this weekend. My husband and I both woke up early today (Saturday) and are still relaxing with coffee and listening to music. The sunlight is streaming in from our balcony and the days ahead feel full of promise. I have errands to run that I’ve been putting off, and I don’t mind at all.
Although we have carpet in our new apartment, we do have really pretty (faux) dark wood floors in the entryway, kitchen, and bathrooms that aren’t pictured here. They add a nice touch and I’ve found I don’t really mind the carpet as a result, even though in the past I’ve tried to avoid it.
I’ve purchased a few things online recently as I plan for some upcoming business trips and several friends’ weddings. I’ll post about them here after they arrive. I am excited to get more organized and improve my travel routine with a new bag, a convertible wallet/clutch/crossbody, a glorious organizer padfolio (for papers) and a business card pouch. I also bought a blue maxi dress that I think will be beautiful and perfect for dressing up or down.
The few things left I’d still like to buy to round out my wardrobe include black flats to replace my current worn-out pair (but they must be perfect!), a great pair of sandals, and two belts – one black, one brown. Also, perhaps one other fun dress to throw into the mix for weddings and the like. I have a lot of blue and black – I’m kind of dreaming of coral for summer. Or maybe I’m just dreaming of summer…