Tagged Attitude

We are all mothers

Spring flower planters; janebalshaw.comNot all of us choose to be a mother of a human child but “mothering” is a common experience among all of us. Consider the spirit of mothering; of selflessness, of nurturing, of mentoring…. we are all mothers when at our best.

The problem with these commercialized holidays like today is that they can exclude so many. But I say we are all mothers. We mother our pets, we mother our gardens, we mother along a laborious art project, we mother within charitable organizations… The spirit of mothering is not exclusive to those who have raised or are currently raising human children but to all who embrace the biological wiring of our feminine selves, to care deeply and nurture broadly.

Don’t get me wrong; I do enjoy that my human children give me a shout-out on this day. I have given them the freedom not to however. I don’t expect it to be any different on this media imposed holiday but it is always a treat when they do. So today I will honor myself as a mothering person by doing what I love the best, tending my gardens [yes, in the rain] and taking a long bath.

I send you the permission to honor your own mothering today outside of the expectation that someone must do it for you. Happy mothers day!

IMG_3149Love, Jane

Old House rehab; final photos and surviving a remodel (with your spouse!)


8:00PM on the final night of completion.

Remodeling a house is a metaphor for life. It starts, it ends and in between are all sorts of lessons to be learned; “think outside the box”, “let of go of that plan to try another” and “let your spouse have their own way!”  It was 74 days working every day off to complete this rehab; exhaustion, doubts and mental stress ensued but we survived.

David and I have done other remodel projects together and here is what we have learned about tackling huge projects and doing it together.

  • Understand that everyone has their own Learning & Doing style. David and I  approach projects each in a very different way. To avoid conflict, we have learned to work separately. In this project he worked one half of the day and I worked the other half or on completely separate days.
  • If one person feels very strongly about an idea then just go with it. Trust that they have some creative vision that is important to them. (Even if it not what you would do)
  • If you are living with the person you are doing a project with, save room to “have each other’s back”. On the days that David worked a long one, I made sure his laundry was caught up and that there was a meal at the end. He did the same for me. This kept home stressless.
  • If you push yourself hard to the end of your “mental and physical rope”, have a nest to collapse into. In advance, prepare for your end-of-the-day to be restful both physically and mentally so that you may recoup. I took a hot lavender or pettigrain bath each night and read The Goldfinch during this project. I did not allow myself to think about any else than resting.
  • Save time for friends to keep your eyes focussed on what is important in life.  Honestly, it was the 1/2 days spent quilting with my buddies and the dinners after work with friends that kept me going.  I think David feels the same way.
  • While working hard physically, think of your body as a machine that needs to be primed and lubed. Drink LOTS of water and make an effort to eat healthy foods. I tried to cook large dishes once or twice a week that we could pack left-over meals from. Even still, we did rely on plenty of coffee and the occasional burst that sugar provides!  No one is perfect.
  • As a woman, I needed to step back into a polished profession after each work session so I applied these tricks.
    • Paint your nails with clear nail polish. At the end of the day remove it and off with it comes any paint, dirt or grease. I have even painted my cuticles too.  (I hate wearing gloves while painting.)
    • Coat your hands before and after a days work with a heavy salve to avoid stains. I used Artist’s Hand Creme.
    • The skin on the face is sensitive and paint fumes can cause rashes so I coated mine each day with a protective creme. I used Stop it!

The Old House rehab project is finished.  C. W. moved in last week and is busy feathering her nest.  What we did matched her sense of esthetic, she is improving upon it and the bones of this building are creating a refuge for her as we had intended.

Here are some final shots of the living room to close with.  Thanks for following!

mantle B&ADSC06094DSC06144DSC06146stairwell B&Alooking at front door B&ADSC06141DSC06139

As I see it, it’s all about attitude

DSC04366 It’s snowing again. The slanted sky lights in my studio have accumulated their sliding slump of snow lighting my desk with that ominous gray haze…I am longing for spring.

It is funny how attitude can change all observation.   Let me rewrite that opening sentence as if it were the first snow of the season.  “Ah, it’s snowing!  The slanted sky lights in my studio have accumulated that familiar layer of translucent fluff softening the light filtering through to my desk…what a perfect day to sit and reflect”.

Turns out, our own perception is what makes our reality.  Circumstances and information may never change but how we choose to interpret them is what makes them become real to us.  And what means one thing to someone may have an entirely different meaning to someone else.  Trying to convince someone to see it your way?  This is the stuff that wars are made of.

In navigating through my own life I try really hard to keep this in mind; what I observe in someone else may not be the way they see themselves.  And vice versa.  What ideals I hold sacred may be rubbish to someone else (like perhaps even this post).  But the key for me is to acknowledge, and even embrace, the differences while allowing for the possibility that they may never be my view.  As I see it we are all part of the same photo; some more colored, some more black & white with varying focuses.  And when you really think about, what would light be without shadows to show it off, or in this case, what would spring flowers be without the snow?

Our chairs buried in winter.  Rephrased: memories of summerDSC04373

My lonely garden shed.  Rephrased: my spring storehouse.  DSC04367

The gray gloom of winter.  Rephrased:  an artistic study of neutral color.  DSC04385

Moral of the story; when snow comes make snow angels.  DSC04374

DSC04376DSC04375 DSC04361

Thank-you to the ham, Tobias my cat.  A.k.a.: Toby, Toby Toberson (because he looks Swedish) the Tob-myster and Tobus Maximus (because he is full of energy and sort-of kind-of has a Roman profile).